The John Locke Foundation is a North Carolina-based think tank that has ties to the State Policy Network and the American Legislative Exchange Council.
It was exposed by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker in 2011 as receiving approximately 80% of its funding from the Art Pope family foundation, with additional money coming from tobacco companies and two Koch family foundations.
Art Pope is a conservative businessman who has contributed millions of dollars to a network of foundations and think tanks designed to push free market ideas. He co-founded the John Locke Foundation.
Marc Farinella, a Democratic political consultant who was Obama’s 2008 campaign director in North Carolina and was an adviser to the state’s former Democratic governor, Beverly Perdue, told Mayer, “In a very real sense, Democrats running for office in North Carolina are always running against Art Pope. The Republican agenda in North Carolina is really Art Pope’s agenda. He sets it, he funds it, and he directs the efforts to achieve it. The candidates are just fronting for him.”
This year, Jon Sanders, director of regulator studies at the John Locke Foundation, wrote an op-ed on June 16 in The News & Observer supporting legislation to freeze the North Carolina renewable energy and energy efficiency standard. Sanders cited a 2014 Brookings Institution working paper, authored by nonresident senior fellow Dr. Charles Frank Jr., to explain why solar and wind are not viable sources of electricity. However, physicist and chief scientist Amory Lovins at the Rocky Mountain Institute explains Dr. Frank’s methodology is flawed and the data used is outdated or otherwise incorrect.
The foundation also signed on to a coalition letter that was sent to lawmakers, pushing for the repeal of the REPS. The letter featured 21 organizations, including Americans for Tax Reform, the Heartland Institute, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, and Americans for Prosperity.
In addition, the foundation published a report and numerous blog posts about why legislators should repeal the REPS, as well as email updates about Rep. Hager’s proposed legislation to freeze the law.