The Center for Media and Democracy proudly leads the charge against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization dedicated to advancing limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty. Several leading corporations have announced plans to withdraw membership contributions from ALEC following this outcry.
Who funds the Center for Media and Democracy? The website proclaims, “We accept no funding from for-profit corporations or grants from the government.” Based on this statement, one might be fooled into thinking that indeed no tax dollars find their way into the coffers of this progressive organization. However, the truth suggests otherwise.
One of the prominent contributors to the Center for Media and Democracy is the Tides Foundation. As it turns out, both the Tides Foundation and the related Tides Center receive funding from the federal government in the form of grants from an array of agencies. These include the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Energy, and the Department of Agriculture. According to the government database, www.usaspending.gov, the Tides Center received more than $3,000,000 in federal funding since 2000; the Tides Foundation received in excess of $800,000 in the same period.
Matthew Vadum, Senior Editor at Capital Research Center and author of Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers, this week referred to the Tides Foundation as “a legal money-laundering outfit for the radical left that was founded by Drummond Pike, a leftover peacenik from the 1960s.” In response to the revelation that the Tides Foundation collects millions of dollars in federal funding, Mr. Vadum stated, “This is disgraceful. Our tax dollars should not be funding an organization that helps racist groups like Color of Change and hyper-partisan propaganda shops like Media Matters for America.”
This bold criticism of this federal funding seems vindicated. In short, the federal government funds the Tides Foundation. This same foundation contributes significant sums to the Center for Media and Democracy, which launched a public relations offensive against ALEC. The possibility of federal tax dollars being used to aid organizations stymying the work of a private advocacy group should be disconcerting to all who value our First Amendment right “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”