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News from Progress Michigan

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

CONTACT: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574,


Report: Mackinac Center A Front Group for Right-Wing Extremism

“Who’s Running Michigan, the far-right influence of Mackinac Center for Public Policy” unveils political donations, questionable moves from far-right think tank 

LANSING – Today, Progress Michigan and the Center for Media and Democracy released a report delving into how The Mackinac Center for Public Policy and has been influencing politics and public policy in Michigan using ALEC model bills that promote a right-wing agenda. Progress Michigan uncovered that despite The Mackinac Center’s 501c(3) nonprofit status, the organization made donations to the Michigan Republican Party and the Livingston County Republican Committee, which violates the rules for a 501c(3).  You can see the report HERE.

“The Mackinac Center can no longer hide behind the claim of being a non-partisan think tank,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Not only are they lobbying on behalf of legislation that would benefit big corporations, they’re blatantly making donations to political parties on behalf of the organization. It’s time they wear their stripes on their sleeve and own up to what the rest of us already know — they’re a partisan think tank that cares more about big business than people.”

The report details how the Mackinac Center claims to be an independent, non-partisan think tank, when in reality they are members of the State Policy Network, a national Koch-funded, ALEC-allied network of organizations. State Policy Network member groups advocate for a national agenda driven by out-of-state corporate actors. Be it the economy, environment, education, workers’ rights or access to health care, State Policy Network member groups promote policies that are not only designed to fatten the bottom line of their corporate funders, but are consistently harmful to working families.

The Mackinac Center is also an active member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate bill mill. Mackinac staffers have proposed numerous bills at ALEC task force meetings, and coordinated an agenda to get laws passed in the state of Michigan to benefit wealthy corporations and CEOs.

The report also reveals key findings, including:

-Mackinac and ALEC’s shared corporate agenda- Mackinac staffers have proposed numerous bills at ALEC task force meetings, where elected officials and private sector members vote behind closed doors on templates to change the law. Their corporate agenda includes: attacking workers rights like repealing prevailing wage or implementing Right to Work laws, defunding and privatizing Michigan’s public schools with voucher programs and charter schools, and denying the science behind climate change and global warming.

-Lobbying organization– The Mackinac Center runs an extensive lobbying operation in order to promote its corporate-backed special interest agenda. The report outlines how Governor Rick Snyder has taken on several Mackinac agenda items including attacks on workers pensions, reducing corporate regulations and privatizing public services.

Mackinac’s Role in Restricting Workers’ Rights: The Mackinac Center spearheaded the anti-worker, so-called Right to Work legislation in Michigan. When Governor Snyder endorsed the measure in late 2012, the Mackinac Center soon took credit for its passage. Later, Dick DeVos – a longtime Mackinac supporter and one of the most notable corporate executives funding Michigan’s anti-worker campaigns — credited the Mackinac Center as one of the primary forces behind the push for Right to Work legislation.

Mackinac’s Slanted “News Service”- The Mackinac Center is also an affiliate of the Tea Party-linked Franklin Center, a consortium of conservative “news” outlets in over 40 states that are funded in part by the Koch brothers. Through the Michigan Capitol Confidential, the Mackinac Center pushes its right-wing agenda behind the mask of “journalism.”

“It’s time for the Mackinac Center to come clean about being a front group for ALEC,” continued Lonnie Scott. “The anti-middle class and anti-worker agenda they’re pushing has had disastrous effects throughout our state. It’s time we work together to rebuild the middle class and doing so means making sure the public knows the truth — that the Mackinac Center is not the non-partisan think tank they claim to be.”


Mackinac Center Exposed: Who’s running Michigan? by progressmichigan

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