According to SourceWatch, an investigative publication of The Center for Media and Democracy, DDK Tours was established in 1985 by Alphin “when he was a sergeant in the St. Louis Police Department. … [He later] started organizing Educational and Training tours to The King Center, Atlanta GA.” Since 1995, DDK has expanded its array of educational pilgrimages beyond the United States to South Africa and Ghana in Africa.
What political reforms should Wisconsin look at in 2019? How best can we rid the dominance of money from politics? How might Tony Evers change the political landscape, after he takes office on Monday, January 7th? Esty Dinur takes a look at political reform in Wisconsin with Mary Bottari and David Armiak, both reporters at the Center for Media and Democracy.
SourceWatch references a November 2013 report by Progress Texas and the Center for Media and Democracy which found over the past few years TPPF “has received at least $3,314,591 from the billionaire Koch brothers or the organizations they support.”
More than half of the CTIA’s grants were directed to MyWireless.org, a subsidiary nonprofit. According to its tax return, the subsidiary funneled a sizable amount of the $1.24 million it received from CTIA to conservative dark money organizations. MyWireless.org gave $85,000 to the Free State Foundation, a conservative research organization with ties to ALEC; $25,000 to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, a Chicago-based, Koch-funded project; and $10,000 to the State Policy Network, an Arlington, Va., nonprofit described by the Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch as an umbrella group that acts as “the tip of the spear of far-right, nationally funded policy agenda in the states that undergirds extremists in the Republican Party.” NCTA gave an additional $15,000 to the State Policy Network and another $135,000 to the Free State Foundation, tax records show.
Bates’ suit, announced last week, is being backed by the Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank based in Arizona. According to the political funding watchdog website SourceWatch, Goldwater Institute has backed pro-vaping measures in the past, and has accepted donations from Altria, formerly known as Phillip Morris Global Tobacco, which sells Marlboro cigarettes as well as vape products.
MassFiscal is tied to other right-wing organizations. For instance, in its latest lawsuit it is represented by the Goldwater Institute of Arizona. The Center for Media and Democracy classifies Goldwater as “a right-wing advocacy group” with ties to the Koch brothers. One recent board member is Rebekah Mercer, whose billionaire family funded Donald Trump as well as Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News. Trump ally Christopher Ruddy calls Rebekah Mercer “the First Lady of the alt-right.”
Mary Bottari, director of the Center for Media and Democracy’s Real Economy Project, lives in Wisconsin and has been participating in the protests this week. In an interview, she shared with me her shock at how brazenly and quickly the state’s Republicans moved to roll back gubernatorial power. “We’re still sorting through what the heck happened in the middle of the night,” she said. In addition to the bills, the GOP-dominated Legislature also rammed through a whopping 82 appointments by Walker of people to head various boards and agencies.
The three-day meeting comes as ALEC has shed 113 corporate members, as well as 19 non-profits since 2012, according to the Center for Media and Democracy, a non-profit watch dog group that tracks ALEC. ALEC disputes the timing of those departures.
“They are taking positions out of the main stream that are uncomfortable for a lot of corporations,” said Arn Pearson, the Center for Media and Democracy’s executive director. “It gets embarrassing for them to [be] associated with those far-right positions.”
The 2016 Trump campaign reportedly paid at least $150,000 to the Daily Caller Foundation to rent its email list, which the campaign used to send fundraising messages in the months leading up to the general election, according to the Center for Media and Democracy. At the same time, Carlson was analyzing the election on Fox News without ever having disclosed this conflict of interest.
“The alarming number of closures raises major red flags about the performance and accountability of charter schools in Michigan and whether that negatively impacts students and taxpayers,” said Arn Pearson, executive director for the Center for Media and Democracy.