Texas Public Policy Foundation

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The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) is a conservative think tank founded in 1989 by James R. Leininger. It is a member of the right-wing State Policy Network (SPN) and is based in Austin, Texas. It has ties to Texas Governor and former presidential candidate Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, and many other powerful politicians.[1]

According to the TPPF's website, its mission "is to promote and defend liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise in Texas and the nation by educating and affecting policymakers and the Texas public policy debate with academically sound research and outreach."[2]

But according to critics, TPPF's research and advocacy is influenced by donations from a relatively small group of major corporations. Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, told the Texas Observer, “Most think tanks work for their funders and TPPF’s donors are a Who’s Who of Texas polluters, giant utilities and big insurance companies. TPPF is thinking the way its donors want it to think.”[1]

News and Controversies

TPPF's Doug Domenech Heads up President-elect Trump's Interior Department Transition Team

Doug Domenech, the director of the Fueling Freedom Project at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, is leading President-elect Trump's Interior Department Transition team. As Think Progress reported, "The project’s goals include explaining “the forgotten moral case for fossil fuels” and ending the EPA’s regulation of carbon dioxide. (The EPA has the authority — and, indeed, must — regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Not only is carbon dioxide a greenhouse gas that fuels climate change, it also contributes to ocean acidification. Significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions is likely the only way humanity can avoid triggering catastrophic climate disruption.)"[3] Since the Department of Interior's mission is to protect and manage the nation's environmental and cultural resources, Trump's choice of Domenech to lead the transition team suggests that the President-elect may have a different vision for the Department of Interior.

Domenech thinks so as he wrote in Real Clear Energy, "Much has been said about what’s next for energy and climate policy under the new Trump Administration. Elections have consequences and, in this case, Americans just rejected the “keep it in the ground” extremism espoused by those whose only operating focus is their view that CO2 is a pollutant and climate change is real."[4]

TPPF Listed as Creditor in Peabody Energy Bankruptcy Filings

The Center for Media and Democracy found in obtained Peabody Energy bankruptcy filings that the Texas Public Policy Foundation was a creditor to the world’s largest private-sector coal company.[5] Although the documents filed so far do not show the scale or precise dates of funding—they only list current creditors—they demonstrate for the first time that Peabody Energy has financial ties to a very large proportion of the network of groups promoting disinformation around climate change.


Allegations of Unreported Lobbying

The Progress Texas and CMD report also notes that TPPF "claimed in 2008 that it spent nothing on lobbying," however, "it told the IRS that it spent $981,869 on lobbying between 2009 and 2010." While federal tax reports for 2012 are not yet available, "forms filed with the state of Texas indicate that between 2011 and 2013, TPPF has spent at least $100,000 on lobbying the Texas Legislature – largely on gifts, food, drinks, and transportation to Texas legislators and state offices."[6] In 2011, TPPF's tax records also indicate the organization "paid its executive corporate-level salaries that dwarf the rates paid for most other public interest groups in Austin..." (specifically, $1.391 million of the $5.7 million budget was used to pay executive salaries).[6]

Advocating ALEC Model Bills

According to Progress Texas and the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), "in the 2013 legislative session, TPPF advocated for at least 28 different laws that mirrored ALEC model bills..."[6] The following table --which compares ALEC's model legislation to the current agenda of TPPF --was taken directly from the organizational report created by Progress Texas and CMD in November 2013:[6]

Issues TPPF 2013-2014 Agenda ALEC Model Bills
Limiting Government Spending TPPF recommends state and local spending increases only by the sum of population growth plus inflation, the growth in gross state product or the growth personal income, whichever is less. TPPF [also] recommends requiring a supermajority vote in the state legislature to override Texas’s constitutional limits on government spending. ALEC’s “Tax and Expenditure Limitation Act” would amend the state constitution to set revenue and spending limits, by capping total expenditures by inflating the current year’s expenditures to account only for population growth and inflation.

ALEC’s “Super-Majority Act” would amend the state constitution to require all tax and “license fee” increases or impositions be approved by two-thirds of all member s of each house of the legislature, except when there is insufficient revenue to pay interest on the state’s debt.[6]

Opposing Health Care Reform TPPF calls for allowing Texans to buy health insurance across state lines, offered by insurance companies in other states. TPPF recommends eliminating all state-level insurance mandates. ALEC’s “Resolution Opposing Employer-Paid Health Care Mandates” opposes efforts by state legislatures to mandate that private employers purchase health insurance for workers.

ALEC’s “Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act” would prohibit the legislature from requiring individuals to purchase health insurance, even though states like Texas require drivers to purchase auto insurance under the state’s financial responsibility law.[6]

Attacking Environmental Protections and Pollution Regulation TPPF dedicated an entire section in its 2013-2014 agenda demonizing the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations, including greenhouse gas limits, coal plant regulations, and air quality monitoring. ALEC’s “Resolution in Opposition to EPA’s Regulation of Greenhouse Gases from Mobile Sources” opposes a Supreme Court case allowing the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases as pollutants. The ALEC resolution uses straw man arguments and other rhetoric to dismiss climate change concerns. ALEC also published an entire pamphlet attacking environmental regulation called the EPA Train Wreck.34

ALEC’s “Intrastate Coal and Use Act” would prevent the EPA from overruling state permits for coal mining and dirty coal products if all the company’s coal operations are conducted within the borders of a single state (although air pollution crosses state lines).

ALEC’s “Resolution in Opposition of Carbon Dioxide Emission Standards” opposes environmental protections on carbon dioxide emissions.[6]

Denying Climate Change TPPF questions the science of climate change, and urges federal lawmakers to implement a “rigorous” review of scientific facts dealing with climate change, along with calling for the suspension of all state programs that regulate greenhouse gases and federal mandates to reduce carbon dioxide. ALEC’s “State Withdrawal from Regional Climate Initiatives” removes states from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or the Western Climate Initiative, cap-and-trade programs to cut greenhouse gases and carbon-dioxide emissions. It uses language denying that climate changes exist and are manmade.[6]
Attacking Renewable Energy TPPF calls for the elimination of the Renewable Portfolio Standard. ALEC’s “Electricity Freedom Act” repeals renewable energy mandates and constitutes an attack on states with plans requiring companies to get a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.[6]
Advocating for the 10th Amendment In the section entitled “10th Amendment” in TPPF’s 2013-2014 agenda, TPPF calls interstate compacts an “effective way” to regulate areas of mutual concern of two or more states. It further states that Texas should “examine the benefits” of using constitutional amendments aimed at limiting government spending, including calling for a constitutional convention. ALEC’s “Article V Repeal Amendment Resolution” calls for a constitutional convention in order propose an amendment permitting the repeal of any federal law by the vote of two-thirds of state legislatures.

ALEC’s “Resolution Reaffirming Tenth Amendment Rights” asserts that federal mandates violates the Tenth Amendment, but fails to acknowledge the many express powers granted to Congress, including powers over interstate commerce. ALEC’s “Resolution Calling for the Congress of the United States to Call a Constitutional Convention Pursuant to Article V of the United States” urges Congress to call a constitutional convention for the purpose of proposing a constitutional amendment that permits the repeal of any federal law or regulation by two-thirds of the state legislatures, which is dubbed the Madison Amendment (another ALEC model).[6]

Protecting Corporations in Asbestos Related Claims TPPF recommends that there should be a “measureable standard” for a plaintiff in an asbestos-related case to prove negligence and that the “causation standards” for asbestos-related claims should remain at the same level as all toxic exposure claims. ALEC has several “model” bills aimed at protecting corporations from liability for an injured American in an asbestos-related case, including the “Asbestos and Silica Claims Priorities Act,” the “Asbestos Claims Transparency Act,” and the “Successor Asbestos-Related Liability Fairness Act.”[6]
Deforming Public Pensions TPPF calls for new state workers to be moved into a risky defined-contribution pension plan. ALEC’s “Public Employees’ Portable Retirement Option (PRO) Act” is a move towards eliminating defined benefit pension plans for public employees, which better protects retirees.[6]
Pushing Parent Trigger TPPF calls for changes to in the Texas Education Code to make it easier to force a “parent trigger” scenario. ALEC’s “Parent Trigger Act” would allow a small group of parents to close public school for current and future students, and turn the school into a charter school or require the state to use taxpayer dollars for vouchers to subsidize private tuition.[6]
Pushing for Virtual Schools TPPF recommends expanding the funding for “virtual schools” in Texas to give “greater freedom” to private virtual education corporations. ALEC’s “Virtual Public Schools Act” requires virtual or online education company courses to be recognized as public schools and require that such companies receive the same per pupil funding as traditional schools that provide classrooms, sports training facilities, lunch, and transportation, resulting in windfall profits for online “schools.”[6]
Privatizing Public Education TPPF calls for Texas to “increase competition in the Texas education system” by implementing education scholarships, tax credits, and expanding charter schools and vouchers. ALEC’s “Family Education Tax Credit Program” creates a tax paying corporations and individuals that give money to be used as “scholarships” to pay tuition and fees at private schools, reducing tax revenue for public schools and other public services.

ALEC’s “Parent Choice Scholarship Program Act-Universal Eligibility” creates a voucher program to use taxpayer funds that would have been spent on public schools to subsidize private for-profit, religious, or other primary and secondary schools.

ALEC’s “Parental Choice Scholarship Accountability Act” enables taxpayer money to subsidize for-profit, religious, or other private schools.

ALEC’s “Charter Schools Act” would allow the state to grant charters to create and operate schools outside of traditional public schools, while also exempting these charter schools from state laws that apply to public schools.

ALEC’s “Resolution Supporting Private Scholarship Tax Credits” urges tax cuts for corporations and others to subsidize non-public corporate schools through funding "scholarships."[6]

Attacking Teachers TPPF calls for radical attacks on teachers in Texas, including lowering the barriers for teacher certification, eliminating the minimum salary a teacher must be paid based on experience, discouraging school districts from paying teachers with a master’s degree more money, and eliminating tenure rights. ALEC’s “Great Teachers and Leaders Act” changes seniority rules that reward education and experience of teachers and allows tenure to be revoked based on limited measures of success without regard to underlying conditions in the schools or environment.

ALEC’s “Alternative Certification Act” attempts to allow students to be taught by people who have no training in how to teach children and the different ways kids learn at various ages and based on different learning styles. This paves the way for for-profit schools to pay “teachers” less than educators who are actually trained in teaching.

ALEC’s “Career Ladder Opportunities Act” and “Teacher Quality and Recognition Demonstration Act” undermines post-secondary education and tenure rights of teachers, placing more emphasis on tests (regardless of the underlying conditions in the schools or the socio-economic environment of the school district) than other established measures.[6]

Ties to the State Policy Network

TPPF is a member of the 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 April 2023, 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 2022 analysis of SPN's main members IRS filings by the Center for Media and Democracy shows that the combined revenue is over $152 million.[7] 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.[8]

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.'"[9]

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.[10]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

The Texas Public Policy Foundation has been very active in the American Legislative Exchange Council. TPPF was a member of the now defunct Public Safety and Elections Task Force, and has been an ardent defender of ALEC activities.[11] In May 2012, Wendy Lee Gramm, the Foundation’s chairman of the board, and Brooke Rollins, its president and chief executive officer, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “Why the Left Wants to Blacklist ALEC,” in defense of the organization.

TPPF was a "Chair" level sponsor of the ALEC Annual Conference in 2016, which equated to $50,000 in 2010.[12]

TPPF has been a member of several other ALEC task forces. Dr. Thomas Lindsay, Director of TPPF's Center for Higher Education, was vice chairman of the Higher Education Subcommittee of ALEC's Education Task Force as of November 2013.[13] Executive Director, Arlene Wohlgemuth, was a member of the Health and Human Services Task Force where she sponsored model legislation (the "Health Professional Modernization Act" and the "Health Care Compact Act").[14] Mario Loyola, director of the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies was a member of the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force and sponsored model legislation (the "Regional Air Quality Interstate Compact")[15]

Marc Levin, who is the director of the Center for Effective Justice for TPPF, was a member of the Civil Justice Task Force in 2011, where he was the private chair of the "Overcriminalization Subcommittee."[16] Previously, Levin was a member of the Public Safety and Elections Task Force where he sponsored several pieces of model legislation, including the “Resolution in Support of Victim Offender Mediation,” the “Criminal Intent Protection Act,” the “Treating Accused Persons Fairly Act,” the “Civil Liability Relief for Employers Hiring Ex-Offenders Act,” the “Resolution on the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act,” the “Provisional Licenses for Ex-Offenders Act,” the “Juvenile Offender Performance Incentive Funding Act,” and the “Resolution on Transparency and Accountability in Criminal Law.”[17][18][19]

Talmadge Heflin, director of TPPF's Center for Fiscal Policy, was a member of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force in 2011.[20]

SPN, of which TPPF is a prominent member, has deep ties to ALEC. Please see SPN Ties to ALEC for more.

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 Bradley Foundation

Through 2016 the Texas Public Policy Foundation received $315,000 from the Lynde and Harry 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: $75,000 to support the Center for Fiscal Policy (CFP). “One of nine TPPF policy centers, CFP covers issues surrounding the state budget and spending, taxes and fees, pensions, local governance, and transparency… TPPF’s CFP has demonstrated its ability to encourage meaningful change during the last Texas Legislative Session, and it has an experienced and widely respected fiscal policy team. In fact, its STR Fund sales tax reform measure, which would authorize the comptroller to lower the sales tax rate temporarily, was recently accepted by ALEC as model legislation.”

Bradley Files

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.

Find the series here at ExposedbyCMD.org.

Ties to the Koch Brothers

Texas Public Policy Foundation has deep ties to the Koch brothers. The organization has received funding from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, Donors Capital Fund and DonorsTrust. (See below)

As of January 2017, TPPF is listed as a "partner organization" in the Charles Koch Institute's Liberty@Work program.[21]

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 Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

The Texas Public Policy Foundation 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.[22] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[23] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[24][25] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[26]

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).[27] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[28] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[27]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[29] a conservative grant-making organization.[30]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[31] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[32] which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[33] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[34] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.


The Texas Public Policy Foundation is not required to disclose its funders. Its major foundation funders, however, can be found through a search of the IRS filings. Here are some of the known funders of the Texas Public Policy Foundation:

  • Abell-Hanger Foundation: $21,510 (2017-2018)
  • Adolph Coors Foundation: $380,000 (2013-2020)
  • Alliance for School Choice: $25,000 (2018)
  • America First Legal Foundation: $177,500 (2021)
  • American Endowment Foundation: $600,000 (2016-2019)
  • Armstrong Foundation: $125,000 (2015-2019)
  • Atlas Network: $35,500 (2020)
  • Blankinship 1991 Foundation: $1,250 (2017)
  • Bosarge Family Foundation: $350,000 (2016)
  • Bradley Impact Fund: $226,175 (2020-2021)
  • Brigham Family Foundation: $740,670 (2015-2019)
  • Carruth Family Foundation: $2,500 (2018)
  • Cary Brown Family Foundation: $20,000 (2019-2020)
  • Cato Institute: $100,000 (2006)
  • Clark Family Charitable Foundation: $2,500 (2020)
  • Claude R. Lambe Foundation: $522,500 (1998-2012)
  • Chaparral Foundation: $5,000 (2018)
  • Charles G. Koch Foundation: $5,035,656 (2004-2020)
  • Christian Community Foundation: $50,000 (2021)
  • Citizens for Self-Governance: $124,000 (2011)
  • C N and Maria Papadopoulos Charitable Foundation: $10,000 (2019-2020)
  • Coalition for Public Safety: $250,000 (2015-2019)
  • Coastal Bend Community Foundation: $111,100 (2016-2018)
  • Communities Foundation of Texas: $38,000 (2015-2020)
  • Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga: $10,000 (2020)
  • Community Foundation of North Texas: $55,500 (2015-2020)
  • Dallas Foundation: $5,000 (2017)
  • Dallas Jewish Community Foundation: $100,000 (2020)
  • Deason Foundation: $1,901,833 (2015-2019)
  • Diana Davis Spencer Foundation: $300,000 (2019-2020)
  • Donors Capital Fund: $1,631,355 (2010-2016)
  • DonorsTrust: $2,309,019 (2010-2021)
  • Ed Foundation: $417,600 (2013-2018)
  • Ed Uihlein Family Foundation: $350,000 (2018-2021)
  • Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund: $1,182,453 (2016-2020)
  • Fifth Age of Man Foundation: $79,000 (2017-2019)
  • Folsom Point Charities: $10,000 (2020)
  • Foster Family Foundation: $75,000 (2015-2017)
  • FWDUS Education Fund: $400,000 (2018-2019)
  • Goyanes Family Foundation: $50,000 (2020)
  • Greater Houston Community Foundation: $1,732,750 (2015-2020)
  • Heritage Foundation: $75,000 (2022)
  • Hine Family Foundation: $11,500 (2018-2019)
  • Hook Family Foundation: $90,000 (2016-2019)
  • Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation: $450,000 (2019)
  • Jaquelin Hume Foundation: $385,001 (2001-2011)
  • Jaquish and Kenninger Foundation: $432,500 (2015-2018)
  • JM Foundation: $40,000 (2011)
  • Kercheville Foundation: $501,500 (2015-2019)
  • Klein Tools Inc Charitable Foundation: $5,000 (2020)
  • Lazof Family Foundation: $5,000 (2015)
  • Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation: $865,000 (2010-2021)
  • Matthew 6 Foundation: $4,500 (2016-2018)
  • Miles Foundation: $150,000 (2019)
  • Moriah Foundation: $433,000 (2015-2020)
  • National Christian Charitable Foundation: $340,550 (2015-2021)
  • National Employment Law Project: $30,000 (2018)
  • Neal and Marlene Goldman Foundation: $22,000 (2018-2019)
  • PAL Foundation: $4,800 (2015-2018)
  • PEW Charitable Trusts: $4,283,100 (2015-2020)
  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: $130,000 (2015-2019)
  • Public Safety Action Network: $233,542 (2015)
  • Public Welfare Foundation: $300,000 (2017)
  • Raymond James Charitable Endowment Fund: $75,500 (2015-2020)
  • Robertson-Finley Foundation: $4,000 (2018)
  • Roe Foundation: $367,000 (1998-2020)
  • R Street Institute: $282,000 (2016-2020)
  • Schwab Charitable Fund: $507,417 (2015-2020)
  • Searle Freedom Trust: $1,820,000 (2010-2021)
  • Shell Oil Company Foundation: $8,250 (2015-2018)
  • Shepard Family Private Foundation: $30,000 (2015-2018)
  • Silicon Valley Community Foundation: $1,700,000 (2019)
  • Snider Foundation: $100,000 (2017-2018)
  • Sorenson Legacy Foundation: $100,000 (2019)
  • Sparks Foundation: $350,000 (2016-2019)
  • Stand Together Fellowships: $2,090,298 (2015-2021)
  • Stand Together Trust: $1,780,000 (2019-2021)
  • State Policy Network: $246,400 (2012-2020)
  • Strake Foundation: $70,000 (2018-2019)
  • Tenth Amendment Project: $10,000 (2018)
  • Thomas W. Smith Foundation: $300,000 (2018-2020)
  • Thomson Family Foundation: $100,000 (2017-2020)
  • Tides Center: $85,000 (2018)
  • United Way of Miami-Dade: $5,000 (2020)
  • US Justice Action Network: $322,750 (2016-2018)
  • Veltri Family Foundation: $25,000 (2016-2019)
  • Vernon K. Krieble Foundation: $11,000 (2001-2009)
  • Waterstone: $50,000 (2020)
  • William J Brennan Center for Justice: $90,000 (2016-2019)
  • Woodford Foundation: $11,000 (2017-2020)

2010 Disclosure Uncovers Koch Money and Mystery SPN Slush Funds

In 2012, a list of 2010 funders of TPPF that was disclosed to the IRS was inadvertently made public. The list of funders revealed is an important case study in how the Kochs' disclosed foundation spending is an under-representation of their overall political giving: Koch gave more to TPPF from its corporate Koch Industries treasury than it gave from its Koch Family Foundations. Contributions from the latter are disclosed on the foundation's IRS filings, but donations from the former are largely untraceable. [35]

Koch Industries gave $159,834 directly to TPPF in 2012, versus $69,788.61 from the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, which is a Koch Family Foundation.

The financial revelations also provide an important case study in how SPN's member think tanks are funded, and by whom.

SPN itself gave TPPF $49,306.90, but what's more, Tracie Sharp, SPN's executive director, was the contact person for an additional $495,000. These two grants, for $300,000 and $195,000, were listed as being received from the "State Think Tank Fund" and the "Government Transparency Fund," respectively -- two funds about which virtually nothing is known.[35]

Over $3.3 Million in Koch Funding

According to a November 2013 report by Progress Texas and the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), over the past few years TPPF "has received at least $3,314,591 from the billionaire Koch brothers or the organizations they support." This includes $733,333 received from the Koch family foundations and from Koch Industries, and $2,581,258 from the Donors Trust & Donors Capital Fund.[6] TPPF also "received nearly $300,000 from the Searle Freedom Trust between 2007 to 2011."[6]

TPPF Skilled Fundraisers

TPPF's "laissez-faire bent and championing of big-business agendas (tort reform, tax cuts, deregulation) [have] created wealthy allies," as noted by the Texas Observer.[36] The newspaper spoke with a former TPPF vice president, who described the organization's corporate fundraising strategy this way:

"Melinda Hasting -- who served as the foundation’s vice president from 1996 to 1998 but has since broken with the conservative movement -- says one fundraising tactic involved approaching corporations, wealthy businessmen, and corporate-funded foundations with a pitch. Hasting (formerly Melinda Wheatley) describes it: 'We think this is beneficial to your industry and would you consider providing us with a non-profit contribution. … Here’s the timeline for the completion of the research; the parameters of the research are this; we expect it will result in some savings or outsourcing.'"[36]

The TPPF's 2005 annual report states that the groups budget was $1,759,602 million, an almost 30% increase on its 2004 budget. Individual contributors accounted for just over half the contributions, unspecified corporations $259,000 or 15% with the remainder from unspecified foundations.[37]

Media Transparency lists TPPF as having received 26 grants totalling $491,749 (unadjusted for inflation) between 1998 and 2004 from a range of foundations including [1]:

TPPF has received $15,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998, $5,000 in 2001 [2] and $10,000 in 2004. [3]

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $21,249,819
  • Total Expenses: $$20,643,183
  • Net Assets: $21,307,186


  • Total Revenue: $26,167,438
  • Total Expenses: $18,897,177
  • Net Assets: $20,714,269

Grants Distributed

  • Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation: $15,000


  • Total Revenue: $17,746,855
  • Total Expenses: $16,030,913
  • Net Assets: $12,649,268

Grants Distributed

  • Christian Community Foundation: $100,000
  • Notre Dame University: $150,000


  • Total Revenue: $17,732,849
  • Total Expenses: $16,382,916
  • Net Assets: $16,957,423


  • Total Revenue: $13,664,623
  • Total Expenses: $12,359,476
  • Net Assets: $15,867,880


  • Total Revenue: $12,107,649
  • Total Expenses: $11,303,061
  • Net Assets: $14,377,432

Grants Distributed


  • Total Revenue: $18,290,935
  • Total Expenses: $8,681,038
  • Net Assets: $13,456,660


  • Total Revenue: $10,821,798
  • Total Expenses: $7,286,003
  • Net Assets: $4,298,827


  • Total Revenue: $8,887,301
  • Total Expenses: $5,636,703
  • Net Assets: $4,687,842


  • Total Revenue: $5,288,989
  • Total Expenses: $4,731,140
  • Net Assets: $7,545,929


  • Total Revenue: $7,612,280
  • Total Expenses: $4,364,605
  • Net Assets: $6,988,080


  • Total Revenue: $5,756,074.00
  • Total Expenses:$4,948,598.00
  • Net Assets: $4,235,880.00


  • Total Revenue: $4,674,836.00
  • Total Expenses: $3,390,188.00
  • Net Assets: $3,428,404.00


  • Total Revenue: $3,223,804.00
  • Total Expenses: $3,026,663.00
  • Net Assets: $2,143,756.00



As of April 2022:[52]

  • Greg Sindelar, Chief Executive Officer
  • The Honorable Robert Henneke, Executive Director and General Council
  • J.B. Horton, Executive Vice-President
  • Jerome Greener, Executive Vice-President
  • Brian Phillips, Chief Communications Officer
  • Louis Stone, Chief Financial Officer
  • Joshua Trevino, Chief of Intelligence and Research
  • The Honorable Chuck DeVore, Vice President of National Initiatives
  • Munera Al-Fuhaid, Attorney
  • Britt Allen, Community Manager
  • Kurt Altman, Arizona & New Mexico State Director, Right on Crime
  • E.J. Antoni, Economist
  • Sarah Atnipp Partin, Vice President of Development
  • Kristen Baerveldt, Events Director
  • David Balat, Director, Right on Healthcare
  • Michael Barba, Policy Director, K-12 Education
  • Robert Bartlenmay, Donor Relations Associate
  • Rafael Bejar, Director of Outreach
  • Brent Bennett, Policy Director, Life:Powered
  • Alex Billups, IT Associate
  • Crystal Kate Bonham, Senior Director of Marketing
  • Rod Bordelon, Senior Fellow & Policy Director, Remember the Taxpayer
  • Andrew C. Brown, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Child and Family Policy
  • Adam Burnett, Press Secretary
  • Clayton Calvin, Fellow
  • Jennifer Carter, Director of Talent and Culture
  • Alex Chapa
  • Derek M. Cohen, Ph.D., Vice President of Policy
  • Noelle Collins, Policy Analyst, Right on Healthcare
  • Julia Crusius, Legislative Fellow
  • Nate Curtisi, Attorney
  • John Davidson, Senior Fellow
  • Marilyn Davidson, Oklahoma State Director, Right on Crime
  • Taylor Dawson, Creative Director
  • David Dunmoyer, Chief of Staff
  • Sarah French, Senior Counselor & Director of Grants
  • Seth Galemore, Director of Donor Communications
  • Andrew Gillen, Senior Policy Analyst for Next Generation Texas
  • Vance Ginn, Ph.D., Chief Economist
  • Ted Hadzi-Antich, Senior Attorney
  • Shari Hanrahan, Special Campaigns Director
  • The Honorable Talmadge Heflin, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Conservative Texas Budget
  • John Hostettler, Vice President of Federal Affairs, States Trust
  • John Isaac, Director of Life:Powered
  • Michelle Jehring, Development Research Manager
  • Alice Marie Johnson, Senior Fellow, Right on Crime
  • Dr. Richard Johnson III, Director, Booker T. Washington Initiative
  • Anthony Jones, Policy Scholar
  • Josh Jones, Senior Fellow, Border Security
  • Tonya Kerr, Communications Director, Right on Crime
  • Whitney Klenzendorf, Development Manager
  • John O'Shea, Senior Fellow for Right on Healthcare
  • Carine Martinez, Director of Research and Publications
  • Kiran Matthias, Intern
  • Roy Maynard, Senior Writer
  • Zach McCue, Manager of Digital Marketing, Right on Crime
  • Chassidy Menard, Development Writer
  • Connor Mighell, Attorney, Center for the American Future
  • Matt Miller, Senior Attorney
  • Elizabeth Moore, Development Officer
  • Buckley Morlot, Development Officer
  • Carter Moxley, Intern
  • Chelsea Murphy, Florida State Director, Right on Crime
  • Clint Nesmith, Vice President of Events
  • Sarah O'Brien, Intern
  • Ken Oliver, Senior Director of Engagement & Right on Immigration
  • Scott Peyton, Louisiana and Mississippi State Director, Right on Crime
  • Sam Pohl, Director of External Relations
  • Nikki Pressley, Texas State Director, Right on Crime
  • Austin Prochko, Grants Manager
  • Alex Quintana, Videographer
  • James Quintero, Policy Director, Government for the People
  • Mckennon Rice, Intern
  • Stephen Robinson, Audio-Video Production Director
  • Carolina Rodriguez, Office Manager
  • Selene Rodriguez, Policy Scholar
  • Steve Rowe, Development Officer
  • Emily Sass, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Next Generation Texas
  • Rodney Scott, Senior Distinguished Fellow for Border Security
  • Michael Shires
  • Yvonne Simental, Paralegal
  • Ron Simmons, Director, Right on Work
  • Kody Smith, Legislative Fellow
  • Katie Stahl, Utah State Director, Right on Crime
  • Parker Stathatos, Legislative Fellow
  • Michele Steeb, Senior Fellow
  • Katie Sullivan, Senior Fellow
  • Carol Swain, Distinguished Senior Fellow for Constitutional Studies
  • Sherry Sylvester, Distinguished Senior Fellow
  • Katie Tahuahua, Communications Manager, Life:Powered
  • Zoe Taylor, Kentucky State Director for Right on Crime
  • Brett L. Tolman, Executive Director for Right on Crime
  • Christian Townsend, Attorney
  • Lars Trautman, National Director and West Virginia State Director for Right on Crime
  • Ilanit Turner, Policy Scholar
  • Erin Davis Valdez, Policy Director, Next Generation Texas
  • Lucy Vander Laan, Campaign Director, Next Generation Texas
  • Julie Warren, Director of State Initiatives for Right on Crime
  • Chance Weldon, Attorney
  • Lacey White, Campaign Director, States Trust
  • Olivia White, Director, Liberty Leadership Council
  • Zach Whiting, Senior Fellow of Technology Policy

Former Staff

  • Alicia Pierce
  • Andrew Speno
  • Annie Carnegie
  • Bill Peacock
  • Bradford Traywick II
  • Caroline Espinosa
  • Chris Chapman
  • Christy Anderson
  • Cutter González
  • Dr. Currie Myers
  • Dr. Deane Waldman
  • Elain Ellerbe
  • Emily Bleazard
  • Emma Rogers
  • Events Manager
  • Felisha A. Bull
  • Gina Van Dyke
  • Graeme Taylor
  • Grants Manager
  • Greg Glod
  • Haley Holik
  • Jacki Pick
  • Jennifer Minjarez
  • John Koufos
  • Josey Theal
  • Kara Belew
  • Kevin Roberts, Ph.D.
  • LTC Allen West (Ret.)
  • Marc Levin
  • Mary Katherine McNabb
  • Michael Haugen
  • Mikael Garcia
  • Nichole Gurney
  • Nick Haydon
  • Randy Petersen
  • Ryan Walters
  • Sarah Silberstein
  • Stephanie Matthews
  • Tarah Nypaver
  • The Honorable Kathleen Hartnett White
  • Thomas Lindsay, Ph.D.
  • Thomas Lyons
  • Trisha Dunbar
  • Zoë O’Herin
  • Jaimie Ailshire, Office Manager
  • Dianna Muldrow, Policy Analyst, Center for Effective Justice and Right on Crime
  • Clint Nesmith, Director of Events
  • Avik Roy, Visiting Fellow
  • Shannon Tracy, Communications & Events Manager, Right on Crime
  • Dan Isett, Communications Director, Right on Crime
  • Caroline Espinosa, Director of Communications
  • Jody Gibson, Publications and Marketing Manager
  • Olivia Gustin, Events Manager
  • Doug Domenech, Director, Fueling Freedom Project
  • Jamie Bennett, Communications Associate
  • Joshua Trevino, Vice President of Strategic Communications
  • Arlene Wohlgemuth, Executive Director; Director, Center for Health Care Policy
  • Ellen Marie Bartling
  • Robert Croft, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships
  • Colin Monaghan, Grants and Donor Communications Manager
  • Geoffrey Tahuahua, Donor Relations Manager
  • Josiah Neeley, Policy Analyst, Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment
  • Karen Lugo, Director, Center for Tenth Amendment Action
  • Kathleen Hunker, Policy Analyst, Center for Economic Freedom
  • Kristen Indriago, Director of Communications
  • Nancy Druart, Publications Manager
  • Michael Joyce, Director of Events
  • Rikki Risinger, Accounting & Operations Manager
  • Vikrant Reddy, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Effective Justice
  • Michael Quinn Sullivan
  • Chris Patterson
  • Byron Schlomach
  • Mary Katherine Stout
  • Shari Hanrahan
  • Nancy Druart
  • Nathan Thompson

Former Fellows

Board of Directors

As of April 2022:[53]

  • Thomas "Tim" Lyles, Chairman
  • Kevin Roberts
  • Tim Dunn, Vice Chairman
  • James Leininger, Chairman Emeritus
  • Ernest Angelo
  • Donald Bennett
  • Cody Campbell
  • Doug Deason
  • Rick Fletcher
  • Dr. Wendy Gramm
  • Windi Grimes
  • Ryan Haggerty
  • Alan Hassenflu
  • Stacy Hock
  • L.C. "Chaz" Neely
  • Brenda Pejovich
  • Brooke L. Rollins, Senior Advisor
  • Kyle Stallings
  • George W. Strake

Former Directors

Contact Information

Texas Pubic Policy Foundation
901 Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701
Phone: 512-472-2700
Fax: 512-472-2728
Email: info@texaspolicy.com
Website: http://www.texaspolicy.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TPPF
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TexasPublicPolicyFoundation

Articles and Resources

IRS Form 990 Filings










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  5. Nick Surgey, Peabody Coal Bankruptcy Reveals Climate Denial Network Funding, PR Watch, June 13, 2016.
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