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Gage Skidmore and Huffpo

Who is Funding Janus?

Economic Policy Institute exposes the rats behind the mayhem to weaken America's unions

Brian Young's picture
Feb 21, 2018

Janus v. AFSCME will be heard by the Supreme Court on Monday. As UCOMM previously reported this case would fundamentally change the union movement for generations to come by attempting to defund public sector unions. While the lawyers for the plaintiff, Mark Janus, would like you to believe that this case, as well as the Friedrichs v CTA and Harris v. Quinn, case come from a grassroots movement of members. However, a new study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has found that this is not the case.

To find out who was financing these anti-union cases, EPI looked at publicly available IRS filings from the conservative groups that are representing Janus. The main legal groups behind the case include the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, The Center for Individual Rights and the Liberty Justice Center. All three of these groups operate as non-profits and have publicized some of their donors like the Walton Family Foundation (the non-profit established by the Wal-Mart Walton Family) and the Koch Brothers.

These groups have also received dark money from some conservative foundations. These foundations collect money secretly from big donors but hide their names. This allows these donors to give a lot of money without it being public. They are also able to receive larger tax write-offs than if they gave directly to the Right to Work Foundation. Some of the foundations that are supporting the Janus case include Donors Capital Fund, The Sarah Scaife Foundation, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Uihlein Family Foundation and the Dunn Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking.

While most of the donors to these foundations are unknown, EPI was able to find some names that have donated to them in the past. Donors Capital receives money from Charles Koch and the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, the foundation that was established by the billionaire father-in-law of Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The Sarah Scaife Foundation is financed by the fortune of robber baron Andrew Mellon.

To readers of UCOMM Blog, these groups might seem familiar. That is because they have been financing Right to Work campaigns in states across the nation. Through these foundations, billionaires like DeVos, the Koch Brother, and Scaife family have financed politicians, anti-union legislation, and new laws that lower wages and safety standards. As part of this nationwide effort to take a voice away from working people, they have used people like Janus and Friedrichs to sell their anti-union agendas under the guise of a grassroots and popular movements.

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