Cascade Policy Institute

Cascade Policy Institute (CPI)

Background

The Cascade Policy Institute (CPI) was founded in 1991 as a “nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research and educational organization” based in Oregon. Its mission to “develop and promote public policy alternatives that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity.”1About,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 5, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pbBo7

According to the Cascade Policy Institute website, “Cascade promotes property rights, incentives, markets and decentralized decision-making.” It releases policy reports, quarterly newsletters, commentaries, and weekly news reviews. The Institute also hosts regular conference programs, lectures and “educational programs for students” including a Summer Internship Program for undergraduate and graduate students.2About,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 5, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pbBo7

John A. Charles Jr. has been the president of the Cascade Policy Institute since 2005. John Charles once described Oregon’s Climate Trust, which had imposed regulations on carbon dioxide emissions, as a “extortion scheme,” and other carbon-reduction strategies as “coercive taxation income redistribution schemes.”3John A Charles ICCC1,” YouTube Video. Uploaded by User “HeartlandTube,” July 17, 2013. 

Koch Fellowship Program

The Cascade Policy Institute offers a summer internship program through the “Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program,” and administered by the Institute for Humane Studies and the State Policy Network.4Internships,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 5, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/YaLTL

Carbon Cartel Education Project

The Cascade Policy Institute is hosting a “Carbon Cartel Education Project” that operates on the premise that “One of the greatest threats to freedom and economic prosperity in America today is climate change legislation.”5Carbon Cartel Education Project,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 5, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ENpyz

The goal of the Carbon Cartel Education Project is “to raise awareness of the costs and implications of policies based on global warming alarmism by conducting a multi-faceted campaign to peel away grassroots political support for carbon restrictions, while simultaneously promoting market-based policies that preserve individual liberty, economic opportunity, and environmental quality.”

The project’s director is Todd Wynn.6Carbon Cartel Education Project,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 5, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ENpyz

Stance on Climate Change

November 2015

The Portland Tribune reports that CPI President John Charles “doesn’t trust scientists”:

“There’s a huge amount of money and there are financial incentives for researchers to have public discussion cut off, to say, ‘We know all this. We must do something’.”

“If the concern is people don’t have as much faith in science, I can see why. When I see what is said in the debate (over climate change) and the way people like me are demonized for being skeptical, it makes me think, ‘Well, then you’re manipulating society for political purposes.’ Why wouldn’t that apply in fields I know no nothing about, like cancer research?”7Peter Korn. “‘Miracle cures’? Nope, OHSU says, it’s just art of the sale,” Portland Tribune, November 12, 2015. Archived May 6, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/LLx5Y

2015

“Climate change is one of the hottest topics, literally, in state and national public policy. Alarmism over human-induced climate change is one of many examples of the extreme environmental movement. Because astonishing news sells, media coverage on climate change is focused entirely on exaggerated claims of future catastrophe caused by carbon dioxide emitted from human activities. Unfortunately, misleading media reporting is making it difficult for citizens to discern fact from fiction.”

[…] The truth is that the science of climate change is far from settled and there exists no consensus on the causes, effects, or future of climate change.”8Climate Change,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 5, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/o1l8o

2014

“CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea-level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea ice melt that is not occurring […] and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.” — Gordon Fulks, Academic Advisor, Cascade Policy Institute.9Leo Vs. science: vanishing evidence for global warming,” New York Post, September 14, 2014. Archived May 6, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/8xQ4v

Funding

The Cascade Policy Institute’s funding is derived from “the generous, voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses and foundations.” According to their website, “Cascade does not solicit or accept any government funding. Cascade is a 501(c)(3)(h) nonprofit educational organization. Contributions are fully tax-deductible to the extent provided by state and federal law.”10About,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 5, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pbBo7

The following is based on data the Conservative Transparency project has gathered from publicly-available 990 forms. Note that not all individual values have been verified by DeSmog for accuracy. View the attached spreadsheet for additional details on Cascade Policy Institute funding by year (.xlsx).11Cascade Policy Institute,” Conservative Transparency. Data retrieved June 7, 2016.

DonorTotal
Donors Capital Fund$1,303,600
Jaquelin Hume Foundation$405,000
The Roe Foundation$370,000
State Policy Network$328,822
The Challenge Foundation$219,368
Castle Rock Foundation$170,000
Chase Foundation of Virginia$152,500
Cato Institute$146,500
JM Foundation$130,000
Ruth & Lovett Peters Foundation$125,000
Adolph Coors Foundation$50,000
Friedman Foundation For Educational Choice$42,000
Peterson Family Foundation$34,000
Searle Freedom Trust$30,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation$25,000
DonorsTrust$7,500
Schwab Charitable Fund$550
Grand Total$3,539,840

990 Forms

Donors Capital Fund/Donors Trust Funding

The Cascade Policy Institute’s single largest contributor is the Donors Capital Fund (DCF), a group that Mother Jones magazine has described as the “dark money ATM of the conservative movement,” along with its sister organization DonorsTrust.12Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement,” Mother Jones, February 5, 2013. Archived July 23, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/cNiyF

The Donors Capital Fund creates “donor-advised funds” for conservative donors, allowing them to anonymously donate large amounts of funds to specific projects or groups without revealing their identities.13Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement,” Mother Jones, February 5, 2013. Archived July 23, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/cNiyF

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) released a report in 2013 detailing think tanks that had been receiving significant funds from DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund. John Charles said that it was “’ludicrous’ to think that that Cascade is operating in lockstep with other conservative think tanks around the country.”14Something Stinks at the State Policy Network,” Center for Media and Democracy, November, 2013. Retrieved from stinktanks.org. Archived September 7, 2015. 15Jeff Mapes. “Cascade Policy Institute benefits from secretive donor group but says it operates independently,” OregonLive, November 13, 2013. Archived May 6, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/nG2qJ

According to OregonLive, John Charles described the State Policy Network – which is headed by Cascade co-founder Tracie Sharp – as a loose-knit association of groups that share a common philosophy but otherwise operate independently.16Jeff Mapes. “Cascade Policy Institute benefits from secretive donor group but says it operates independently,” OregonLive, November 13, 2013. Archived May 6, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/nG2qJ

“We’re all free-market think tanks,” he said.  “We don’t believe in central planning.”

Charles said most of Cascade’s funding comes from in-state contributors.  He refused to discuss whether the group had received money from Donors Capital Fund, saying that, “I respect the privacy of our donors.”17Jeff Mapes. “Cascade Policy Institute benefits from secretive donor group but says it operates independently,” OregonLive, November 13, 2013. Archived May 6, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/nG2qJ

Key People

Board of Directors (2016)18Board of Directors,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived February 5, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ulnwo

NameDescription
David W. GoreCo-founder of Cascade Policy Institute.
Gilion C. Dumas 
Jon Egge 
Lawrence “Larry” W. Dennis, Sr. 
Michael L. BartonCascade research associate since 2002.
William B. ConerlyChairman of the board. Senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.
William UdyBoard member and finance director of Cascade Policy Institute since it was founded in 1991.

Staff (2016)19Staff,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived February 5, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/AiCwc

NameDescription
John A. Charles, Jr.President and CEO
Kathryn HickokDirector, Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland. Publications Director. Development Coordinator.
Steve BucksteinSenior Policy Analyst (Past CPI President until 2004)
Tina PisentiExecutive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Academic Advisors

Name201520Academic Advisors,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived February 24, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/93PX8201621Academic Advisors,” The Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 5, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/3E2yu
Anthony M. RufoloYY
Chana B. CoxYY
Fred ThompsonYY
Gerard C. S. MildnerYY
Gordon J. FulksYY
James L. HuffmanYY
Matthew Michael BliziotesY 
Michael L. BartonYY
Randall J. PozdenaYY
Richard MeinhardYY
Zenon X. ZygmontYY

Speakers’ Bureau (2016)22Speakers’ Bureau,” Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 5, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/QR8OU

The Cascade Policy Institute’s “Speakers’ Bureau” is available for “educational lectures, seminars, and conferences.”

NameDescription
Anthony M. RufoloAcademic Advisor to Cascade Policy Institute
Chana B. CoxAcademic Advisor to Cascade Policy Institute
Fred ThompsonAcademic Advisor to Cascade Policy Institute
Gerard C.S. MildnerAcademic Advisor to Cascade Policy Institute
Gordon J. FulksAcademic Advisor to Cascade Policy Institute
John A. Charles, Jr.President and CEO
Kathryn HickokDirector, Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland
Steve BucksteinSenior Policy Analyst

Actions

July 12, 2016

The Cascade Policy Institute, represented by John A. Charles, Jr. , was among 22 groups represented in a “Coalition” open letter pushing back against what the Heartland Institute describes as an “affront to free speech.” The groups are responding to the recent Web of Denial Resolution brought up in the Senate, calling out fossil fuel industry-funded groups denying climate change.23Jim Lakely. “#WebOfDenial Push by Senate Dems Exposes Their Hatred of Free Speech,” Somewhat Reasonable (Heartland Institute Blog), July 12, 2016. Archived July 14, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/eFCkh

According to the Climate Investigations Center, all but one of the open letter’s signatory organizations have taken money (totalling at least $92 million since 1997) from the “climate denial web” including Koch Brothers’ various foundations, ExxonMobil, and two “Dark Money” organizations, Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund.24Cindy Baxter. “Front Groups Attacking #WebofDenial Senate Action Took Over M in Dark, Dirty Money,” DeSmog, July 14, 2016. Originally posted at Climate Investigations Center.

Championed by Senators Whitehouse, Markey, Schatz, Boxer, Merkley, Warren, Sanders, and Franken, the resolution condemns what they are calling the #WebOfDenial — “interconnected groups – funded by the Koch brothers, major fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal, identity-scrubbing groups like Donors Trust and Donors Capital, and their allies – developed and executed a massive campaign to deceive the public about climate change to halt climate action and protect their bottom lines.”25Brendan Demelle. “Senators Launch Resolution, Speech Blitz Calling Out #WebOfDenial Blocking Climate Action, DeSmog, July 11, 2016.

The open letter addresses the senators, calling them “tyrants”: 

“We hear you. Your threat is clear: There is a heavy and inconvenient cost to disagreeing with you. Calls for debate will be met with political retribution. That’s called tyranny. And, we reject it.”26Coalition Letter to Senate Web of Denial Resolution (PDF). Retrieved from the Heartland Institute. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

The full list of signatories and their respective organizations is as follows:

May 2016

Cascade Policy Institute president John Charles expressed disappointment when the The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied an application for the construction of a Liquefied Natural Gas export terminal proposed for Oregon’s Jordan Cove.27Michael McGrady. “Environmentalists, Feds Block Two Proposed LNG Export Terminals in Oregon,” Heartland Institute, May 23, 2016. Archived June 14, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/fVq0N

“From the standpoint of some activists, all new fossil-fuel facilities should be stopped simply because they are fossil-fuel facilities,” said John Charles “The mythical ‘climate crisis’ trumps all other concerns.

“I believe the Jordan Cove project and the Oregon LNG project would have been very positive for Oregon, by bringing in a very large investment to an economically depressed region by outside private investors,” Charles said.28Michael McGrady. “Environmentalists, Feds Block Two Proposed LNG Export Terminals in Oregon,” Heartland Institute, May 23, 2016. Archived June 14, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/fVq0N

February 22, 2016

Cascade Policy Institute President and CEO John Charles testified before the Senate Business and Transportation Committee, opposing HB 4036 which aims for a coal-free Oregon.29Testimony Regarding HB 4036 Before the Senate Business and Transportation Committee,” Cascade Policy Institute, February 22, 2016. Archived June 14, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/HiaYQ

“However, as with the singing of the Sirens in Greek mythology, the coal-free vision is a fatal attraction, and Senators should strap themselves to the mast when listening to proponents,” Charles writes.30Testimony Regarding HB 4036 Before the Senate Business and Transportation Committee,” Cascade Policy Institute, February 22, 2016. Archived June 14, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/HiaYQ

According to Charles, “Force-feeding more and more wind into the grid” risks grid failure.31Testimony Regarding HB 4036 Before the Senate Business and Transportation Committee,” Cascade Policy Institute, February 22, 2016. Archived June 14, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/HiaYQ

“The Siren Song of a coal-free grid is ultimately destructive. We suggest that the Senate Committee steer around it. If that means that the advocates move forward with their threatened ballot measures, so be it. Voters are quite capable of deciding for themselves if they want a power grid that works, or one that randomly fails,” Charles concludes.32Testimony Regarding HB 4036 Before the Senate Business and Transportation Committee,” Cascade Policy Institute, February 22, 2016. Archived June 14, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/HiaYQ

A study by the Oregon Global Warming Commission chair found that the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan would cut Oregon’s electric sector carbon emissions in half by 2030. 33Angus Duncan. “Analysis: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Resulting from the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan,” Renew Oregon, January 28, 2016. Archived October 1, 2020. Additional analysis by Pacific Power and Renewable Northwest found that rates would raise no more than 1%, and could even be reduced by more than 2%.34Pacific Power Analysis of Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan Shows HB 4036 is Affordable and Workable,” Pacific Power, January 27, 2016. Archived May 6, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hC46o 35(Press Release). “NEW REPORT! Rates will remain steady under Clean Electricity & Coal Transition Plan,” Renewable Northwest, February 29, 2016. Archived May 6, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/qIi8h

September 14, 2014

An a New York Post article, climate change skeptics Tom Harris and Bob Carter quotes the Cascade Policy Institute’s Gordon Fulks (not mentioning his connection to CPI) as saying ”CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea-level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea ice melt that is not occurring […] and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.”36Tom Harris and Bob Carter. “Leo vs. science: vanishing evidence for climate change,” New York Post, September 14, 2014. Archived November 5, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/bJm2M

December 19, 2013

The Cascade Policy Institute’s Todd Myers published a piece on CPI’s website titled, “How the Environmental Left Became the New Climate Deniers.”37Todd Myers. ”How the Environmental Left Became the New Climate Deniers,” Cascade Policy Institute, December 19, 2013. Archived October 21, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/6dkUX

The left has abandoned the IPCC, after years of touting the agency’s unshakable standard of excellence. What changed were not the IPCC’s standards but its conclusions. New science has sparked the left’s new denial.38Todd Myers. ”How the Environmental Left Became the New Climate Deniers,” Cascade Policy Institute, December 19, 2013. Archived October 21, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/6dkUX

June 30–July 1, 2011

The Cascade Policy Institute was a co-sponsor for the Heartland Institute‘s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC6).39Sixth International Conference on Climate Change Conference Program (PDF), The Heartland Institute. Archived July 25, 2015.

DeSmog found that 17 of the 43 sponsors of the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, including the Heartland Institute itself, had collectively received over $46 million from either Scaife Foundations, Koch Foundations, or ExxonMobil.40Brendan DeMelle. “Denial-a-Palooza 6: Heartland’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, Courtesy of Koch, Scaife & Exxon,” DeSmog, June 30, 2011.

July 30, 2010

The Cascade Policy Institute co-hosted a Milton Friedman Tribute Dinner with the Koch-funded front group Americans for Prosperity.41Milton Friedman Tribute Dinner with Cascade Policy Institute July 30,” Americans For Prosperity Oregon. Archived November 1, 2010. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/1JXNP

June 8, 2010

The Cascade Policy Institute released a report titled “Think Twice Why Wind Power Mandates Are Wrong for the Northwest” by Todd Wynn and Eric Lowe. According to the CPI description, the report “highlights the problem with the legislature picking winners and losers in the energy market.”42Todd Wynn. “Cascade Report: Think Twice Why Wind Power Mandates Are Wrong for the Northwest,” Cascade Policy Institute, June 8, 2010. Archived November 5, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/6ExMW

May 2010

The Cascade Policy Institute was a co-sponsor for the Heartland Institute‘s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC4).434th International Conference on Climate Change Conference Program (PDF), The Heartland Institute.

DeSmog found that 19 of the 65 sponsors had received a total of over $40 million in funding since 1985 from ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and Scaife family foundations.44Brendan DeMelle. “Denial-a-palooza Round 4: ‘International Conference on Climate Change’ Groups Funded by Exxon, Koch Industries,” DeSmog, May 13, 2010.

April 16, 2010

Todd Wynn, Vice President of the Cascade Policy Institute, spoke at a 2010 Tea Party Rally in Salem on the subject of Cap and Trade (video below). 

Tea Party Cap and Trade from Cascade Policy on Vimeo.

March 2009

The Cascade Policy Institute was a co-sponsor for the Heartland Institute‘s Second International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC2).45Co-Sponsors,” The 2009 International Conference on Climate Change. Archived April 28, 2011.

DeSmog researched the funding behind Heartland’s Second International Conference on Climate Change and found that sponsor organizations had received over $47 million in funding from energy companies and right-wing foundations.46Heartland Institute’s 2009 Climate Conference in New York: funding history of the sponsors,” DeSmog

2009

The Cascade Policy Institute funded and developed the video “Climate Chains.” They describe the video as “22-minute documentary that exposes extreme environmentalism and the misguided pursuit of cap-and-trade legislation. Climate Chains not only explains the dangers of this legislation but offers an alternative to top-down regulation in the form of free market environmentalism.”47About Climate Chains,” Climate Chains, Archived October 20, 2009. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/5pbwO

Climate Chains supposes that “One of the greatest threats to freedom and prosperity in America is climate change legislation.”

The Cascade Policy Institute is listed as the contact for the project, and Todd Wynn of CPI is listed as the “Director and Producer.”48Contact,” Climate Chains. Archived Oct 20, 2009. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/8q8JY

Experts” appearing in the video included:49About the Experts,” Climate Chains. Archived October 21, 2009. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/bmqwC

March 2008

The Cascade Policy Institute was a co-sponsor for the Heartland Institute‘s First International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC1) in New York.50Sponsorships,” The 2008 International Conference on climate Change. Archived June 10, 2011.

Cascade Policy Institute Contact & Location

The Cascade Policy Institute listed the following contact information in its website as of May 2016:51About: Contact Cascade,Cascade Policy Institute. Archived November 5, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/mt79j

Cascade Policy Institute
4850 SW Scholls Ferry Road
Suite #103
Portland, Oregon 97225

503.242.0900
[email protected]

Social Media

Other Resources

Resources

Related Profiles

The Heartland Institute Background Stance on Climate Change Funding Key People Actions Heartland International Conference on Climate Change Related&n...
Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) Background The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is a UK-based think tank founded by former Conservative Chancellor Nigel Lawson with the p...
Profile image screenshot from YouTube, Joe Bast speaking at the Heartland Institute's 12th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC12). Joseph Bast Credentials Joseph Bast studie...
Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) Background The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) was founded in 1984 and describes itself as “a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to...