Committee to Unleash Prosperity

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Committee to Unleash Prosperity is a Maryland-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit co-founded by ALEC economists Arthur B. Laffer and Stephen Moore that has been tax exempt since 2016.[1]

Committee to Unleash Prosperity supports Supply-side economics, claiming "Supply-Side is not, as defamed by its detractors, 'trickle-down,' enacting big economic advantages, such as tax cuts, for the rich while workers get scraps. It is 'across-the-board.'"[2]

The organization also claims "there are five major factors needed to 'unleash prosperity' and thereby, achieve 'universal opulence.'":[2]

  • Stable money
  • Low, flat tax
  • Repeal onerous regulations
  • Low or no tariffs
  • Rein in spending

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

Committee to Unleash Prosperity's co-founder Arthur B. Laffer is a member of ALEC's Board of Scholars and its co-founder Stephen Moore is a member of ALEC's Private Enterprise Advisory Council.[3][4][5]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our ExposedbyCMD.org site.

Ties to the Council for National Policy

Committee to Unleash Prosperity board member Cleta Mitchell is a Board of Governors member of the Council for National Policy. Committee to Unleash Prosperity member Edwin J. Feulner was a member of Council for National Policy as of September 2020.

Council for National Policy

The Council for National Policy (CNP) is a secretive, Christian Right organization of funders and activists founded in 1981 by activist Morton Blackwell, commentator Paul Weyrich, direct-mail pioneer Richard Viguerie, right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly and Left Behind author Tim LaHaye. Anne Nelson's book about CNP, Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right, describes how the organization connects "the manpower and media of the Christian right with the finances of Western plutocrats and the strategy of right-wing Republican political operatives.”

CNP membership as of September 2020 is available here.

Ties to the Koch Brothers

Phil Kerpen, a Principal of Committee to Unleash Prosperity, was the vice president of Americans for Prosperity, the right-wing political advocacy group founded by the Koch Brothers in 2003.

Koch Wiki

Charles Koch is the right-wing billionaire owner of Koch Industries. As one of the richest people in the world, he is a key funder of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on Charles Koch and his late brother David include: Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, Stand Together, Koch Family Foundations, Koch Universities, and I360.

Ties to the State Policy Network

Members and employees of Committee to Unleash Prosperity have ties to several associate and affiliate members of the State Policy Network, a group of right-wing think tanks and other politically-active nonprofits. Additionally, SPN associate member DonorsTrust contributed $260,000 to Committee to Unleash Prosperity from 2018-2019.

SPN Affiliate Members

SPN Associate Members

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 2021, SPN's membership totals 163. 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.[6] 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.[7]

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.'"[8]

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.[9]

Members

Members with Ties to Other Organizations

As of May 2021, Committee to Unleash Prosperity members have worked for, served on the board of, been a member of, written for, and/or studied at organizations including:

Members Organizations
Adele Malpass
Alexandra Preate
Andrew F. Puzder
Avik Roy
Betsy McCaughey
David Bahnsen
Deroy Murdock
Edwin J. Feulner
Georgette Mosbacher
Harold Hamm
J. Kenneth Blackwell
John Catsimatidis, Jr.
Peter J. Ferrara
Ralph Benko
Rex Sinquefield
Rich Lowry
Roger Hertog
Richard W. Rahn
Veronique de Rugby

Other Members

  • Andrea Catsimatidis
  • Dan Mitchell
  • David Bahnsen
  • David Mullins
  • David Webb
  • James Kemp
  • John Catsimatidis, Sr.
  • Lewis E. Lehrman
  • Liz Peek
  • Margo Catsimatidis
  • Mary Ann Mullins
  • Richard Breeden
  • Steve Elieff
  • Travis H. Brown

Core Financials

2019[11]

  • Total Revenue: $1,633,616
  • Total Expenses: $1,005,152
  • Net Assets: $842,306

2018[12]

  • Total Revenue: $403,337
  • Total Expenses: $407,954
  • Net Assets: $213,842

2017[12]

  • Total Revenue: $926,082
  • Total Expenses: $707.623
  • Net Assets: $218,459

Funding

The Committee to Unleash Prosperity is not required to disclose its funders but major foundation supporters can be found through their IRS filings. Here are some known contributors:

  • DonorsTrust: $260,000 (2018-2019)
  • Floyd Foundation: $5,000 (2017)
  • Greater Houston Community Foundation: $25,000 (2018)
  • Holman Foundation: $60,000 (2017-2018)
  • Satter Foundation: $50,000 (2018)
  • Searle Freedom Trust: $150,000 (2018)

Additionally, the Gogo Foundation contributed $12,000 to the FreedomWorks Foundation "to support the Committee to Unleash Prosperity" in 2016.

Personnel

Principals

As of May 2021:[13]

Board of Directors

As of June 2020:[11]

Former Personnel

Contact Information

Committee to Unleash Prosperity
1155 15th St. NW, Ste 900
Washington, DC 20005

EIN: 47-3514328
Website: https://committeetounleashprosperity.com
Phone: (202) 577-9950
Facebook: https://facebook.com/committeeforprosperity
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Comm4Prosperity

Articles and Resources

IRS Form 990 Filings

2019

2018

Related SourceWatch

External Articles

References

  1. Guidestar, Committee to Unleash Prosperity, organizational website, accessed May 20, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Committee to Unleash Prosperity, Our Mission, organizational website, accessed May 20, 2021.
  3. Dan Reynolds, Dr. Arthur B. Laffer and Stephen Moore, "Sneak Peek: Committee to Unleash Prosperity Offers COVID-19 Responses", ALEC: Economic Development, March 21, 2020, accessed May 20, 2021.
  4. ALEC, Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, organizational website, accessed May 20, 2021.
  5. ALEC, Stephen Moore, organizational website, accessed May 20, 2021.
  6. David Armiak, Revenue for State Policy Network and State Affiliates Tops $120 Million, ExposedbyCMD, November 13, 2019.
  7. 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.
  8. Jane Mayer, Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, The New Yorker, November 15, 2013.
  9. Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, The Guardian, December 5, 2013.
  10. John L. Micek, "Meet the Pa. woman who's Steve Bannon's 'shadow press secretary': Friday Morning Coffee", PennLive, July 28, 2017, accessed May 17, 2021.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Committee to Unleash Prosperity, 2019 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, June 23, 2020.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Committee to Unleash Prosperity, 2018 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, October 8, 2019.
  13. Committee to Unleash Prosperity, Our Principals, organizational website, accessed May 20, 2021.