MADISON, Wis. — A Republican state legislator who says he will introduce a controversial, so-called “right-to-work” bill is basing his case in part on statistics produced by a right-wing group that receives significant support from the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the source for statistics being cited by the presumptive bill author, has raked in nearly $500,000 over the last decade from the Bradley Foundation.
“This is a classic Bradley Foundation play to advance their far right-wing, pro-corporate agenda,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “They dole out big money to groups to produce junk science that’s used by the legislators dutifully complying with their policy marching orders.”
According to publicly available records, the Michigan based Mackinac Center for Public Policy has raked in $490,000 courtesy of the Bradley Foundation, run by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair Michael Grebe, since 2004. Presumptive bill author Rep. Chris Kapenga used statistics promoted by the Mackinac Center to claim his introducing the measure in Wisconsin would be good for the state economy.
Meanwhile there is strong evidence that so-called “right-to-work” measures hurt the middle class by lowering wages in states in which it is in place and reducing workplace safety. Based on U.S. Census Bureau figures and research by the American Association of University Women the average worker makes about $5,000 less in “right to work” states and twelve of the fourteen states with the worst pay gap between men and women have “right to work” laws.
In addition to the Mackinac Center in Michigan the Bradley Foundation is a massive funder of a web of right-wing groups producing slanted science and advocating for conservative ideological causes ranging from the radical privatization of public education to virulent anti-Islamic foreign policy.
Earlier research by One Wisconsin Now revealed how the Bradley Foundation orchestrated and underwrote a massive $31 million plus campaign to advance the radical privatization of public education in Wisconsin with the taxpayer funded private school voucher program.
Ross concluded, “Where there’s an effort to push right-wing ideology as legislation you’re likely to find Bradley Foundation funded junk science being used to justify it. The reality is so called ‘right to work’ is a ruse by CEOs and special interests to tilt the system further in their favor and increase their profits at our expense by preventing us from holding them accountable and making sure workers are treated fairly.”