Pacific Research Institute
The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), officially the "Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy," is a think tank founded in 1979 whose stated vision is the promotion of "the principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility. The Institute believes these principles are best encouraged through policies that emphasize a free economy, private initiative, and limited government." The institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, and had $4.8 million in revenue in 2012. The Pacific Research Institute has associated with other think-tanks like the American Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute, including filing joint briefs in major legal cases.
- 1 News and Controversies
- 2 Ties to the Bradley Foundation
- 3 Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
- 4 Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- 5 PRI and the tobacco industry
- 6 PRI and Healthcare
- 7 PRI and Water Policy
- 8 Areas of Work
- 9 Core Financials
- 10 Funding
- 11 Corporations
- 12 Foundations
- 13 Personnel
- 14 Contact Information
- 15 Articles and Resources
- 16 References
News and Controversies
PRI Called Out for Blocking Action on Climate Change
In July of 2016, nineteen U.S. Senators delivered a series of speeches denouncing climate change denial from 32 organizations with links to fossil-fuel interests, including the Pacific Research Institute. Sen. Whitehouse (RI-D), who led the effort to expose "the web of denial" said in his remarks on the floor that the purpose was to,
- "shine a little light on the web of climate denial and spotlight the bad actors in the web, who are polluting our American discourse with phony climate denial. This web of denial, formed over decades, has been built and provisioned by the deep-pocketed Koch brothers, by ExxonMobil, by Peabody coal, and by other fossil fuel interests. It is a grim shadow over our democracy in that it includes an electioneering effort that spends hundreds of millions of dollars in a single election cycle and threatens any Republican who steps up to address the global threat of climate change. . . . [I]t is long past time we shed some light on the perpetrators of this web of denial and expose their filthy grip on our political process. It is a disgrace, and our grandchildren will look back at this as a dirty time in America’s political history because of their work.”
Ties to the Bradley Foundation
Bradley detailed the most recent grants in internal documents examined by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). Below is a description of the grant prepared by CMD. The quoted text was written by Bradley staff.
2016: (Recommended) $75,000 to support the Center for Health Care and the work of a senior fellow. The fellow is Wayne Winegarden, a senior fellow in business and economics. The Center, led by Sally Pipes, is expected to continue its “fight” against the Affordable Care Act. Bradley calls PRI and CHC, along with [[[Benjamin Rush Institute]]] and Galen, “one of the most influential and effective voices in the fight against the burgeoning government monopoly over health care in the country.”
2015: $75,000, $50,000 to support the California Pension Reform Project and $25,000 to support the Health Care Communications Strategy.
2014: $25,000 to support its Center for Health Care (CHC) in its public education efforts. Pipes focused on the following aspects of the ACA in 2014:
- The 2.3% medical device tax
- The health insurance tax
- The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)
- The 3.8% tax on unearned income
- The excise tax on drug companies
Pipes also prepared amicus briefs in many pending lawsuits.
In 2017, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of SourceWatch, launched a series of articles on the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, exposing the inner-workings of one of America's largest right-wing foundations. 56,000 previously undisclosed documents laid bare the Bradley Foundation's highly politicized agenda. CMD detailed Bradley's efforts to map and measure right wing infrastructure nationwide, including by dismantling and defunding unions to impact state elections; bankrolling discredited spin doctor Richard Berman and his many front groups; and more.
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
PRI's Director of Health Care Studies, John R. Graham, spoke at a Workshop at the 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Annual Meeting. The Workshop was titled, "Rationing By Any Other Name: Medicare's Independent Payment Advisory Board." According to his biography on the PRI webpage, he is also a "Senior Fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis, Adjunct Scholar of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and member of the Board of Visitors of the Benjamin Rush Society of medical students and physicians." ALEC, Pacific Research Institute, the National Center for Policy Analysis, and the Macinac Center are all members of the State Policy Network, which was one of the sponsors of 2011 ALEC Annual meeting.
The Pacific Research Institute also has ties to several ALEC "task forces," including the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, the Health and Human Services Task Force, the Education Task Force, and the Civil Justice Task Force.
John Clemens, former research director, is listed as private sector member of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force representing PRI at the 2010 Spring Task Force Summit and John Graham was listed as a speaker/advisor at that same meeting. Graham gave a report titled, “What ObamaCare Means for State Budgets.”
John Graham has also represented PRI on the Health and Human Services Task Force. He gave a presentation on his book Medical Tort: Ranking in the 50 States to the task force at the 2010 Annual Meeting.
Vicki Murray, former Education Studies Senior Policy Fellow, is a member of the Education Task Force. At the ALEC 2010 States and Nation Policy Summit she presented “10 Questions State Legislators Should Ask About Higher Education.” 
Lawrence McQuillan, Director of Business and Economic Studies, has participated in the Civil Justice Task Force. He was part of a presentation on ranking state tort systems, the “2010 Tort Liability Index,” during the 2010 Annual Meeting.
Please see SPN Ties to ALEC for more.
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 PRWatch.org site.
Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
The Pacific Research Institute has hosted writers from the ALEC-connected Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which screens potential reporters on their “free market” views as part of the job application process. The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states. Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias. On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."
Franklin Center Funding
Franklin Center Director of Communications Michael Moroney told the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) in 2013 that the source of the Franklin Center's funding "is 100 percent anonymous." But 95 percent of its 2011 funding came from DonorsTrust, a spin-off of the Philanthropy Roundtable that functions as a large "donor-advised fund," cloaking the identity of donors to right-wing causes across the country (CPI did a review of Franklin's Internal Revenue Service records). Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article. Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.
The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM), a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network, which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation. Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation. SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.
PRI and the tobacco industry
In February 1987 Philip Morris executive Roy E. Marden sent a memo to other PM staff following a discussion with the then PRI President Chip Mellor "concerning their project on advertising and the market process." Marden noted the project was partially funded by Philip Morris."
In 1998 Philip Morris was canvassing possible organizations that might be an ally in its Youth Smoking Prevention programs. A memo from Roy Marden described the Pacific Research Institute as "I am vice chairman of this SF policy group. They have recently begun an effort on child development/reduction of welfare dependency/etc., & I could explore with them if/where YSP could be involved. We are long-time donors."
PRI and Healthcare
PRI head Sally Pipes, a Canadian residing in the United States, frequently speaks and writes against universal health care. Her bio lists as healthcare topics she had addressed "the false promise of a single-payer system as exists in Canada, pharmaceutical pricing, solving the problem of the uninsured, and strategies for consumer-driven health care." She also authored a 2004 book titled Miracle Cure: How to Solve America’s Health Care Crisis and Why Canada Isn’t the Answer. 
On the FOX News show "The O'Reilly Factor" on January 10, 2007, Pipes spoke against California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal to provide all state residents with healthcare. She warned that, "[I]f we provide health insurance, just like we provide welfare and education for illegal aliens, think about people that are illegal in other states. We're going to get a huge influx of illegal immigrants into California. And that's going to make it even more expensive [than the current system]." 
On December 26, 2011 Pipes posted the article "Doctors Say Obamacare is No Remedy for US Health Woes," to Forbes. In the article Pipes claims that nearly two-thirds of doctors expect the quality of care in this country to decline. Pipes cites the a recent survey done by the consulting giant Deloitte as evidence to her claims, but does not include the survey in her article.  Forbes contributor Rick Ungar responded to Pipes with the article "Koch Brothers Financed 'Research' Institute Steps Up Misleading Obamacare Attacks," in which Unger finds that Pipes incorrectly analyzed the survey results. 
PRI and Water Policy
PRI is based out of California, and has been involved in the water policy debate in that state. A publication released by PRI in December of 2008 suggested that the "problem for California is not lack of [water] supply but uneven distribution." PRI criticized California's current plan for facilitating distribution, which was based on state funded water projects. Instead, PRI suggested that distribution would be more properly managed through water markets, with consumers paying for water as any other consumable good. 
|Documents Contained at the Anti-Environmental Archives|
Documents written by or referencing this person or organization are contained in the Anti-Environmental Archive, launched by Greenpeace on Earth Day, 2015. The archive contains 3,500 documents, some 27,000 pages, covering 350 organizations and individuals. The current archive includes mainly documents collected in the late 1980s through the early 2000s by The Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research (CLEAR), an organization that tracked the rise of the so called "Wise Use" movement in the 1990s during the Clinton presidency. Access the index to the Anti-Environmental Archives here.
Areas of Work
The PRI think tank lists the following as their goals:
- Education – to provide all students with access to a quality education
- Business and Economics – to strike down barriers to economic growth and innovation
- Health Care – to provide better quality and access to health-care while lowering costs
- Technology – to identify and limit harmful government regulation in the technology sector
- Environment – to sustain the trend toward a cleaner environment
They said these were their accomplishments in 2006:
- Reached an audience of more than 475 million through print and online outlets throughout the year
- On average, more than 100 articles citing PRI’s research published each month, 1,254 in total
- Articles placed in all of the top 10 daily newspapers in the nation and in all papers nationwide, including USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post.
- Website page visits totaled over half a million, with 1.3 million pages viewed
- Reached more than 40 million through radio and television nationwide
- Total Revenue: $4,937,746
- Total Expenses: $3,551,430
- Net Assets: $14,736,182
- Total Revenue: $5,195,278
- Total Expenses: $3,120,463
- Net Assets: $13,296,894
- Total Revenue: $6,840,418
- Total Expenses: $3,586,064
- Net Assets: $3,263,975
- Total Revenue: $6,681,127
- Total Expenses: $3,276,929
- Net Assets: $7,968,020
- Total Revenue: $4,727,196
- Total Expenses: $3,609,998
- Net Assets: $4,568,937
- Total Revenue: $4,706,288
- Total Expenses: $4,904,662
- Net Assets: $3,450,596
- Total Revenue: $3,923,123
- Total Expenses: $5,257,310
- Net Assets: $3,601,719
- Total Revenue: $4,707,728
- Total Expenses: $4,962,507
- Net Assets: $4,834,041
In its 2009 annual report, PRI stated that its budget of $4.8 million was sourced mainly from foundations (54%), individual donations (28%), and corporate donations (22%).
According to data collected by Media Matters' Conservative Transparency Project, PRI obtained 380 grants totaling $17,862,459 (unadjusted for inflation) from foundations between 1985 and 2012. The top ten overall contributors to PRI were:
- Sarah Scaife Foundation: $3,872,000 (1985-2012)
- Searle Freedom Trust: $1,410,000 (2003-2012)
- Donors Capital Fund: $1,210,001 (2007-2012)
- Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation: $1,136,000 (1987-2012)
- William H. Donner Foundation: $955,000 (1998-2012)
- Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation: $905,000 (1992-2012)
- Jaquelin Hume Foundation: $773,750 (1999-2012)
- William E. Simon Foundation: $759,250 (2002-2012)
- John M. Olin Foundation: $735,000 (1986-2002)
- Lovett and Ruth Peters Foundation: $625,000 (2002-2012)
PRI also received grants totalling $615,000 from Exxon Mobil between 2001 and 2009.
Funding From Koch-Tied Sources
PRI has received grants directly from the Koch family foundations, as well as significant amounts of funding from the Koch conduits DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund. The David H. Koch Foundation gave PRI $400,800 between 1986 and 2001, the Charles G. Koch Foundation gave $377,000 between 1986 and 2011, and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation gave $905,000 between 1992 and 2012.
The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.
Ties to DonorsTrust, a Koch Conduit
DonorsTrust is considered a "donor-advised fund," which means that it divides its funds into separate accounts for individual donors, who then recommend disbursements from the accounts to different non-profits. Funds like DonorsTrust are not uncommon in the non-profit sector, but they do cloak the identity of the original donors because the funds are typically distributed in the name of DonorsTrust rather than the original donors. Very little was known about DonorsTrust until late 2012 and early 2013, when the Guardian and others published extensive reports on what Mother Jones called "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement."
A report by the Center for Public Integrity exposes a number of DonorsTrust funders, many of which have ties to the Koch brothers. One of the most prominent funders is the Knowledge and Progress Fund, a Charles Koch-run organization and one of the group's largest known contributors, having donated at least $8 million since 2005. Other contributors known to have donated at least $1 million to DonorsTrust include the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, Donald & Paula Smith Family Foundation, Searle Freedom Trust, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the John M. Olin Foundation.
- Cypress Semiconductor
- Exxon Mobil Corporation
- Freedom Communications
- SBC (now AT&T)
- White House Writers Group
- Anschutz Foundation
- Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation
- Capecchio Foundation
- Center for American Unity
- Charles G. Koch Foundation
- Chase Foundation of Virginia
- D & DF Foundation
- D & D Foundation
- David and Annette Jorgensen Foundation
- Dean Witter Foundation
- Earhart Foundation
- Farrell Family Foundation
- Girard foundation
- Hugh & Hazel Darling Foundation
- Lilly Endowment
- Lynder and Harry Bradley Foundation
- Milbank Foundation for Rehabilitation
- Philip M. McKenna Foundation
- Ruth & Lovett Peters Foundation
- Sarah Scaife Foundation
- Templeton Foundation
- The Gleason Foundation
- The Hickory Foundation
- The Little River Foundation
- The San Francisco Foundation
- Walton family Foundation
- Weiler Foundation
- William E. Simon Foundation
- William H. Donner Foundation
The conservative Capital Research Center (CRC) Spotlight project provides some additional, though a little dated, information on PRI's major funders. CRC lists the Lilly Endowment as having contributed $175,000 annually between 1999 and 2002 (inclusive). 
As of September 2017:
- Sally C. Pipes, President and CEO; Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Health Care Policy
- Rowena Itchon, Senor Vice President
- Sally Stegeman, Vice President
- Tim Anaya, Director of Communications
- Lance T. Izumi, Senior Director, Education Studies; Koret Senior Fellow in Education Studies
- Ben Smithwick, Director of Development
- Vickie Nelson, Director of Events
- Dana Beigel, Art Director
- Barbara Hetherington, Administration
- Mary Long, Bookkeeper
- Stephanie Watson, Development and Events Coordinator
- Laura Dannerbeck, Director of Events and Marketing
- Daniel R. Ballon, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Technology Studies
- Christine Hughes, Vice President
- John Seller, Managing Editor
- William H. Mellor, President
Board of Directors
As of September 2017:
- Clark S. Judge, Chairman; Managing Director, White House Writers Group
- Daniel M. Kolkey, Partner, Gibson Dunn
- Sally C. Pipes, President & CEO, Pacific Research Institute
- Hon. Daniel Oliver, Chairman Emeritus, Senior Advisor, White House Writers Group
- Sean M. McAvoy, Cofounder and Managing Member at Hillair Capital Management
- Sandra Gale, Retired Business Owner
- Katherine H. Alden, Owner Woodside Hotels & Resorts
- Thomas C. Magowan, Secretary/Treasurer, Club Minibar, Inc.
- Peter C. Farrell, Ph.D., AM, President and CEO, ResMed
- Larry Siskind
- Richard A. Wallace, Consultant, Freedom Communications
- Russell A. Johnson, Partner at KPLI Ventures
- Christopher Wright, President & CEO, Liberty Resources, LLC
- Steven Dennis, M.D.
Former Board Members
- Larry C. Boyd, Executive Vice President, Secretary & General Counsel, Ingram Micro Inc.
- Hon. Christopher Cox, Partner, Bingham McCutcheon
- F. Christian Wignall, former Vice Chairman, Capstan, LLC
- Katherine E. Boyd, Interior Designer
- James B. Hawkins, President & CEO, Natus Medical, Inc.
- Christine Hughes
- Nersi Nazari, Pacific General Ventures, The Hasbun Nazari Charitable Trust
- Daniel Oliver, Chairman Emeritus
- Jean R. Wente, Wente Vineyards
- Robert J. Ernst, III, Attorney at Law
- James T. Farrell, Managing Director, Calera Capital, LLC
- George M. Savage, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Proteus Biomedical, Inc.
- Ted Ullyot, Attorney at Law
Emeritus Board Members
- Frank Baxter
- Lisa Guillermin Gable
- David H. Keyston
Pacific Research Institute
101 Montgomery Street, Suite 1300
San Francisco, CA 94104
Articles and Resources
Related SourceWatch Articles
- State Policy Network:
- American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
- Donors Capital Fund
- Koch Family Foundations
- Koch Industries
- Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- Heritage Foundation
- Think tanks
- Whitney Ball
- Adam Meyerson
- Bridgett Wagner
Related PRWatch Articles
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- Rebekah Wilce, Guardian Documents Expose State Policy Network Groups' Intent to Lobby, PRWatch.org, December 5, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, State Policy Network: The Stealth Network Dramatically Influencing State Law, PRWatch.org, December 5, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Tracie Sharp: Bursar of Mystery Money and "IKEA Model" Materials to Stink Tanks, PRWatch.org, November 19, 2013.
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- Sara Jerving, ALEC and Heartland Aim to Crush Renewable Energy Standards in the States, PRWatch.org, November 27, 2012.
- Connor Gibson, Meet the Network Hiding the Koch Money: "Donors Trust" and "Donors Capital Fund", PRWatch.org, October 29, 2012.
- Brendan Fischer, Koch-Funded Mackinac Center Brings Wisconsin Act 10 Provisions to ALEC, PRWatch.org, May 2, 2012.
- Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 31, 2011.
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