The Lincoln Network hopes to "merge Silicon Valley and DC for a more perfect union", its organizational activities include providing tech help to right-wing organizations, including messaging, analytics and web design. According to its website, organizations that have received support from the Lincoln Network include: DonorsTrust, America's Future Foundation, Institute for Humane Studies and Intellectual Takeout.
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.
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.
Ties to the Koch Brothers
The Lincoln Network received a $250,000 grant from the Charles G. Koch Foundation in 2015, the organization's first year of operations. The grant made up over 44 percent of the Lincoln Network's total revenue that year. The Lincoln Network also received $25,000 from DonorsTrust in 2015.
Advisors and Board
As of July 19, 2017:
- Garrett Johnson, Cofounder and Executive Director
- Aaron Ginn, Cofounder and President
- Evan Baehr, Cofounder of Able
- Katie Harbath, Global Politics and Government Outreach Manager at Facebook
- Trae Stephens, Partner at Founder's Fund
- Scott Banister, Co-Founder of Ironport
- Katie Biber, General Counsel at Thumbtack
- Carl Meacham, Director of Americas Program - CSIS
- John Lettieri, Cofounder of Economic Innovation Group
- John Burke, Partner at TrueVentures
- Susan Amat, Founder of VentureHive
- Kmele Foster, Partner at Freethink Media and Co-Host of “The Independents”
- Autumn Carter, Government Affairs at OpenGov
- Vincent Harris, Founder and CEO at Harris Media
- Jessica Dahl, Director of Impact Partnerships at Brigade Media
- Mike Stall, Principal Architect at Microsoft
- Chad Barth, Politics and Government Manager
- Will Gregory, Entrepreneur
- Carl Helstrom, VP of Programs at Bradley Family Foundation and Executive Director of The JM Foundation
- Paul Martino, General Partner at Bullpen Capital
- Joseph Malchow, Cofounder of Publir and an active technology investor
- Total Revenue: $566,305
- Total Expenses:461,716
- Net Assets: $113,184
Employer Identification Number (EIN): 47-2239840
10826 Greater Hills Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27614
- State Policy Network, directory, organizational website, accessed July 19, 2017.
- Lincoln Network, Deployed, organizational website, accessed July 19, 2017.
- 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.
- Charles Koch Institute, On Auto Pilot: What's Driving Transportation Innovation, organizational website, October 13, 2016.
- Charles Koch Institute, Automation's Effects on Employment and Well-Being, organizational website, December 13, 2016.
- Charles Koch Institute, Taking Transportation Innovation Off Auto-Pilot, organizational website, October 21, 2016.
- Lincoln Network, About, organizational website, accessed July 19, 2017.
- Lincoln Network, 2015 IRS Form 990, Internal Revenue Service, November 15, 2016.