The Commonwealth Foundation, a right-wing think tanks in Harrisburg, is plotting to go after public sector employee unions. In a letter from Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) on behalf of the Foundation, the think tank announced “Project Goliath,” a new effort to make Pennsylvania the next Wisconsin or Michigan. The Commonwealth Foundation is one of a fifty-nine-state network of similar think tanks that have vastly expanded since 2009. The letter makes clear that conservatives believe that right-wing political infrastructure—the organizing institutes, the partisan media outlets, the rapid response efforts—has helped turn the tide against labor unions.The piece posts (and quotes) the letter and you can read it for yourself here.
There's something I want to add to the piece (but this isn't a criticism of the writers reporting - he was looking at a particular section of the story and so there's no reason he had to include anything else). If it's a warning for PA residents about an upcoming effort by the legislature to undermine the state's labor unions, then we can probably expect to see some reporting about it by the Tribune-Review.
And if Toomey's letter lauds the Commonwealth Foundation (a right-wing think tanks in Harrisburg) and if the Trib covers the story in some way, then we want to get out front to point out (yet again) Trib owber Richard Mellon Scaife's financial connections to the Commonwealth Foundation.
Check out this page from the Bridge Project. It lists all the foundational support given to Commonwealth. By my math and at this time it adds up to a little over $6.6 million dollars (unadjusted for inflation from 1988 to 2011). Of that foundations controlled by Scaife make up more than a third ($2.5 million out of $6.6 million). In fact, in the first five years of foundation support all but $25,000 of it came from foundations controlled by Richard Mellon Scaife ($450K out of $475K). In the first ten Scaife's foundations constituted about 57% of all the foundational support ($900K out of about $1.6 million).
The fun part is to look at Toomey's letter itself or more specifically the Commonwealth document attached to it. Included in the letter are some accolades about the Commonweath Foundation from some other conservative think tanks. There's praise from:
- Cato Institute ($2.4 million in Scaife money)
- Competitive Enterprise Institute ($3.6 million in Scaife money)
So whenever the Trib starts reporting on the Commonwealth Foundation's efforts (or the legislature's efforts spawned from it) to pass any sort of "right to work" legislation, we should keep in mind the millions Scaife's already spent on it.