Responding to the left’s coordinated assault on free speech

In addition to researching and discussing the benefits of free markets and limited government, the Rio Grande Foundation and other free market organizations have been dealing with a series of coordinated attacks from left-wing liberal organizations. Ironically, these left-wing organizations, many of which are themselves 501c4’s, practice the very same donor non-disclosure that they decry among conservative organizations that they attack for non-disclosure which is perfectly legal under the law.

I don’t spend much time rebutting left-wing attacks. That would take too much time away from the business at hand — promoting ways to get New Mexico’s economy and educational system to perform better than bottom-five in the nation. But our friends from Texas at the Texas Public Policy Foundation have provided an excellent and detailed response over at National Review Online.

It’s worth a read to simply understand how broad and involved the left’s efforts go, but also to see how many on the organized left would rather engage in petty attacks over funding sources rather than engaging directly in debates over policy issues.

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2 Replies to “Responding to the left’s coordinated assault on free speech”

  1. Hey Paul, your thoughts?

    “Astroturfing Reform
    The corporate reform apparatus utilizes a PR campaign comprised of “local” think tanks in every state across the country. These organizations are funded by larger national think tanks that are in turn heavily funded by the Koch brothers and other privatization interests. These non-profits fly the Libertarian flag of “free-market” public policy solutions with a consistent podium granted in editorial sections by newspapers across the country. In New Mexico the Rio Grande Foundation functions in this capacity.
    According to the Albuquerque Journal’s Thomas Cole in an “UpFront” piece dedicated to the organization and its funders:
    The work of the Rio Grande Foundation includes reports on public policy issues, opinion articles for news outlets around the state and operation of the New Mexico Watchdog and Capitol Report New Mexico websites.
    Authors associated with the foundation are frequent contributors to the opinion pages of the Journal, with more than 80 articles appearing since 2001.
    Operating as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Rio Grande Foundation isn’t legally obligated to disclose its donors but the Journal cites tax returns for nonprofit organizations that funnel money to the organization. These groups include the Donors Capital Fund and the Koch-funded Donors Trust. Mother Jones magazine reported in early 2013:
    The Donors Trust… has steered hundreds of millions of dollars to the most influential think tanks, foundations, and advocacy groups in the conservative movement. Over the past decade, it has funded the right’s assault on labor unions, climate scientists, public schools, economic regulations… It is the dark-money ATM of the right.

    The Albuquerque Journal also noted the Rio Grande Foundation’s affiliation with the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity and the State Policy Network, two far-right organizations that foster an information network of think tanks similar to the Rio Grande Foundation across the country.
    – See more at:

    1. What’s there to say? Our funders are indeed private. We have quite a lot of them here in New Mexico. It would be great to see the liberal groups that are criticizing us for keeping our donors private open up their donation lists: Center for Media and Democracy, Mother Jones’ foundation, ProgressNow NM, etc.

      Also, we have our own independent views on various policy issues as compared to various think tanks within SPN. Some are culturally conservative, others are more libertarian (like us). No one tells us what issues to work on. We look at the reform ideas that we believe will provide the most benefit. No one writing these articles really seems interested in what we actually do. All they want to do is smear us over our funding, so I do appreciate the question.

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