The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is an advocacy front group that is part of the Koch political network, and is largely funded by money funneled through the Koch-connected Americans for Job Security, Center to Protect Patient Rights (now called American Encore), and Freedom Partners.
TPA essentially exists as a shell for its advocacy, based on its own IRS form 990s: “The Taxpayers Protection Alliance has given control of the management duties and the daily activities of the organization to MLM Consulting, LLC (MLM). MLM will be responsible for managing the organization and work to support the exempt purposes of TPA. The President of TPA, David Williams, is the sole owner of MLM Consulting LLC.”
Stephen DeMaura is also on the board of TPA. DeMaura is the President of Americans for Job Security (AJS), which is a major entity that helps to launder Koch money to front groups in the Koch political network. In 2012, AJS funneled at least $24 million into the Center to Protect Patient Rights, some of which made its way to the TPA.
In 2014, TPA launched SolarSecrets.org, a website that has cited other fossil fuel-funded front groups to attack solar energy. SolarSecrets.org was registered and launched in November 2014 (along with SolarSleuth.org) by Sean Paige, a political consultant as well as a former Americans for Prosperity staff member; his shop is located in Colorado Springs and is called Affinity Advocacy. Affinity Advocacy is a public affairs firm that works on energy issues. It claims to offer a variety of services, including “guerrilla marketing” and “crisis communications.” Paige also worked at the fossil fuel-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute and Media Research Center.
Energy & Policy Institute tracked down the original Solar Secrets twitter feed (@SolarSecretsTPA) when it had just eight followers. The followers included Drew Johnson and Michi Iljazi of Taxpayer Protection Alliance, and consultant Sean Paige. On Facebook, the Solar Secrets page had, among its 14 followers, Sean Noble from the Center to Protect Patient Rights, Ellen Hubbard of the Heritage Foundation.
TPA also released a report on solar tax credits this year called “A House of cards: Solar Energy’s Subsidy-Based Business Model.” The report is filled with cherry-picked anecdotes and misinformation used to make the solar industry look like a stalling, government-reliant industry, when in fact, it’s driving billions of dollars in private sector investment.
In addition to writing its own report, TPA echoed CARE’s misinformed anti-solar paper in March 2015. TPA also signed a letter, spearheaded by Americans for Prosperity, to the North Carolina state legislature calling on lawmakers to repeal the state’s RES.
Finally, TPA also echoed Heartland’s attack on free market conservatives in Florida who are joining with the clean energy industry to allow third-party solar sales in the Sunshine state.