Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.
The Centennial Institute of Colorado Christian University is "Colorado Christian University’s think tank, mobilizing ideas on faith, family, and freedom to strengthen America’s future." The right wing institute was established in 2009 by John Andrews, former president of the Colorado Senate, and is an associate member of the State Policy Network (SPN).
According to the Institute's website, it is guided by the Strategic Objectives of Colorado Christian University (CCU):
- To be seekers of truth and to debunk ‘spent ideas’ and those who traffic in them.
- To impact our culture in support of traditional family values, sanctity of life, compassion for the poor, Biblical view of human nature, limited government, personal freedom, free markets, natural law, original intent of the Constitution and Western civilization.
- To be a magnet for outstanding students and prepare them for positions of significant leadership in the church, business, government, and professions by offering an excellent education in strategic disciplines.
The Institute offers educational programs for CCU students, publishes a monthly series of essays in the "Centennial Review", comments on American politics and culture in the '76 blog and provides policy briefs and analysis for policymakers.
State Policy Network
SPN is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 50 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the United Kingdom. As of January 2022, SPN's membership totals 166. Today's SPN is the tip of the spear of far-right, nationally funded policy agenda in the states that undergirds extremists in the Republican Party. SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told the Wall Street Journal in 2017 that the revenue of the combined groups was some $80 million, but a 2019 analysis of SPN's main members IRS filings by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that the combined revenue is over $120 million. Although SPN's member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, the Center for Media and Democracy's in-depth investigation, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," reveals that SPN and its member think tanks are major drivers of the right-wing, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders.
In response to CMD's report, SPN Executive Director Tracie Sharp told national and statehouse reporters that SPN affiliates are "fiercely independent." Later the same week, however, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer caught Sharp in a contradiction. In her article, "Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?," the Pulitzer-nominated reporter revealed that, in a recent meeting behind closed doors with the heads of SPN affiliates around the country, Sharp "compared the organization’s model to that of the giant global chain IKEA." She reportedly said that SPN "would provide 'the raw materials,' along with the 'services' needed to assemble the products. Rather than acting like passive customers who buy finished products, she wanted each state group to show the enterprise and creativity needed to assemble the parts in their home states. 'Pick what you need,' she said, 'and customize it for what works best for you.'" Not only that, but Sharp "also acknowledged privately to the members that the organization's often anonymous donors frequently shape the agenda. 'The grants are driven by donor intent,' she told the gathered think-tank heads. She added that, often, 'the donors have a very specific idea of what they want to happen.'"
A set of coordinated fundraising proposals obtained and released by The Guardian in early December 2013 confirm many of these SPN members' intent to change state laws and policies, referring to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings." These activities "arguably cross the line into lobbying," The Guardian notes.
Between 2012 and 2015 the Centennial Institute received $175,00 from the Bradley Foundation, an organization that funds a number of right wing "think tanks."
Accessed via the Institute's website October 13, 2016:
- Jeff Hunt, Director
- Keri Brehm, Operations Manager
- William Armstrong, Chairman, President of Colorado Christian University, Former U.S. Congressman and Senator
- Antonette DeLauro Smith, Membership Director
- Allen Fuller, Director of Principles that Matter
- Nick Adams, Speaker and Media Commentator
- Dr. Alan Crippen, Executive Director of the John Jay Institute
- Richard V. Allen, Former National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan
- Frank Francone, Attorney and Executive
- John Andrews, Distinguished Fellow in American Thought
- Dr. Douglas Groothuis, Author and Professor, Denver Seminary
- Mark Hillman, Former State Treasurer and Former Senate Majority Leader
- Jay Ambrose, Former Editor of Rocky Mountain News
- Kevin Miller, Educator and Business Consultant
- James C. Bennett, Historian, Entrepreneur and Technology Consultant
- William Maloney, Former Colorado Education Commissioner
- Linda Chavez, President of the Becoming American Institute
- Marilyn Musgrave, Former Member of Congress
- Brad Hughes, Corporate Strategist and Non Profit Executive
- Jane Norton, Former Lieutenant Governor of Colorado
- Krista Kafer, Education Consultant and Member of CCU Accreditation Team
- Dr. Paul Prentice, Economist, University of Colorado Springs
- Stephan Keating, Former Business Editor at the Denver Post
- Lee Strobel, Author, Lecturer and Teacher
- Dr. Charles King, Dean Emeritus, School of Business and Leadership, CCU
- Dr. Don Sweeting, Pastor and Seminary President
- Dr. Vincent McGuire, Political Scientist, University of Colorado at Boulder
- Dr. Jill Vecchio, Medical Doctor
- Helen Raleigh, Businesswoman and Author
- Greg Walcher, Former Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources
- Sosamma Samuel-Burnett, J.D. Policy Consultant & President of GLOBAL Justice
- Dr. William Watson, Professor of History, CCU
- Gregory Schaller, Assistant Professor of Political Science, CCU
- Dr. Stephen Shumaker, Professor of Political Science, CCU
- Kelly Sloan, Writer, Consultant
- Rob Witwer, Author and Former State Representative
Centennial Institute of Colorado Christian University
8787 W. Alameda Avenue
Lakewood, Colorado 80226
- State Policy Network, Directory, organizational website, accessed October 13, 2016.
- Centennial Institute of Colorado Christian University, About Us, university website, accessed October 13, 2016.
- David Armiak, Revenue for State Policy Network and State Affiliates Tops $120 Million, ExposedbyCMD, November 13, 2019.
- Rebekah Wilce, Center for Media and Democracy, EXPOSED: The State Policy Network -- The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
- Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
- Centennial Institute of Colorado Christian University, Staff and Fellows, university website, accessed October 13, 2016.