Texas Public Policy Foundation

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Texas Public Policy Foundation
Texas Public Policy Foundation.jpg
Exterior of building, December 2019
Founder(s)James R. Leininger
FocusTexas government
Executive Vice PresidentKevin Roberts
BudgetRevenue: $12,107,649
Expenses: $11,303,061
(FYE December 2017)[1]
Coordinates30°16′15″N 97°44′29″W / 30.2709°N 97.7413°W / 30.2709; -97.7413Coordinates: 30°16′15″N 97°44′29″W / 30.2709°N 97.7413°W / 30.2709; -97.7413
Address901 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701

The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) is a conservative think tank based in Austin, Texas.[2] The organization was founded in 1989 by James R. Leininger, who sought intellectual support for his education reform ideas, including public school vouchers.[3] Projects of the organization include Right on Crime, which is focused on criminal justice reform,[4] and Fueling Freedom, which seeks to "explain the forgotten moral case for fossil fuels"[5] by rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change.[6]

In 2015, TPPF had total revenue of $10.8 million.[7] Donors to the organization include energy companies Chevron, ExxonMobil, and other fossil fuel interests.[8] The stated mission of TPPF is "to promote and defend liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise in Texas and the nation by educating and affecting policymakers and the Texas public policy debate with academically sound research and outreach."[9]

In 2018, TPPF opened an office in Washington, D.C.


TPPF was initially founded and funded in 1989 by James R. Leininger, a physician, businessman and conservative activist from San Antonio, Texas. Leininger is notable for school voucher and privatization activism.[10] The organization's board of directors includes thirteen individuals.[11] Originally based in San Antonio, the organization was relocated in 2003 to Austin, Texas to be near the state capitol. In February 2015, TPPF moved into a new $20-million building two blocks from the Texas Capitol.[12]

From an accidentally released 2010 tax document, the Foundation received funding from Koch Industries as well as Geo Prison Group, a GEO Group company, whose website touts the company as a "complete electronic monitoring solutions provider."[13]

In January 2018, the organization announced that it had opened a new office in Washington, D.C. At the time, TPPF had more than 75 employees based in Texas; it announced plans to increase its D.C.-based staff from 5 to as many as 15 employees in 2018 in order to expand the group's work in the areas of environmental and health care policy and criminal justice reform.[14]

In February 2019, the organization hired former U.S. Representative John Hostettler, a Republican from Indiana, to lead its state-based policy efforts. The Texas Public Policy Foundation States Trust initiative promotes policy ideas aimed at increasing state's rights and decreasing the role of the federal government in areas including energy regulation, spending, and health care.[15][16]

Organization and activities[edit]

TPPF is organized into nine issue-area centers and a litigation arm.

During the year, TPPF hosts monthly policy events ("Policy Primers") covering a range of issues, and an annual conference ("Policy Orientation for the Texas Legislature"). The 2015 policy orientation included Steve Forbes, Newt Gingrich, and Phil Gramm.[12]

In 2013, TPPF published The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State and Lessons for America.[17] TPPF also publishes a quarterly journal titled Veritas.[18]

Current U.S. Senator Ted Cruz formerly headed TPPF's Center for Tenth Amendment Studies.[19]

The organization sponsors the Right on Crime initiative, an effort to reduce crime, restore victims, and replace mass incarceration with more cost-effective and humane sentencing and criminal punishment.[20][21]

In October 2017, the White House announced that President Donald Trump had selected Kathleen Hartnett White to serve as chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. White is a fellow at TPPF. A climate change denier, White has said that climate change does not exist and that United Nations findings on climate change are "not validated and politically corrupt."[22]

[23] She has argued that carbon dioxide levels are good for life on Earth, that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, and that "fossil fuels dissolved the economic justification for slavery."[24] In February 2018, the White House confirmed their intention to withdraw their nomination of Hartnett White as a senior advisor on environmental policy.[25][26]

Vance Ginn Tweet TT.webp

On July 28, 2020, Chief Economist Vance Ginn tweeted what Alex Samuels of the Texas Tribune defined as a "racist" analysis of the revised data regarding COVID-19 related deaths for the State of Texas[27]. In this tweet, Vance Ginn appears to discount the impact on Latinx mortality rates and the elderly populations as a result of these revised amounts. Additionally, and what one could argue is at the crux of what contributes to the racist tone in this tweet, is the implication that the opening of schools could continue if we end universal mandates, protect the vulnerable and "check those from Mexico"; This is especially considered offensive in that it is coming from a Texas economist who should be well aware of the socioeconomic disparities that are present within Texas society which are known to contribute to a higher risk of COVID-19 related complications for minorities compared to their white counterparts[28][29].

While those who originated recently from Mexico and South America may be subject to the same effects due to these same socioeconomic factors being present in their region, it does not properly address or acknowledge the vulnerability that many Texas citizens face based on their ethnicity or racial composition during the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic.[28][30] [31]

Additionally, the tweet was accompanied by a GIF of Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth, in which Harry mimed the dropping of a mic and the mouthing of the word "boom", which is typically used to signify the lack of response one would have to whatever point was just made. When faced with criticism over the aforementioned tone, Vance Ginn only apologized for the use of the GIF tweeting that “It’s been brought to my attention that the gif may have been perceived as insensitive. I apologize as that was not my intention,”.[27]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Quickview data". GuideStar. See also "Charity Rating". Charity Navigator.
  2. ^ Price, Asher (May 2, 2017). "Austin think tank seeks to unravel Obama-era climate change policy". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  3. ^ Wilder, Forrest (January 6, 2014). "The Money Behind Texas' Most Influential Think Tank". Texas Observer. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  4. ^ Garrett, Brandon (March 31, 2017). "Conservatives Are Leading the Way as States Enact Criminal Justice Reform". Slate. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  5. ^ Profeta, Tim (October 19, 2017). "The Climate Post: Trump Nominates CEQ Lead". HuffPost. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  6. ^ Dennis, Brady; Moody, Chris (October 13, 2017). "Trump taps climate skeptic for top White House environmental post". Washington Post. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  7. ^ "Texas Public Policy Foundation". Nonprofit Explorer. ProPublica. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  8. ^ Kelly, Caroline (October 16, 2017). "Trump nominates ex-Texas regulator, a climate change skeptic, to head environmental council". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  9. ^ "Mission". Texas Public Policy Foundation. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  10. ^ Weil, Danny (2002). School Vouchers and Privatization: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 180. ISBN 9781576073469. ISSN 1556-0465. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  11. ^ "Board of Directors". Texas Public Policy Foundation. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Satija, Neena (January 7, 2015). "TPPF Building the Foundation of Texas Conservatism". Texas Tribune. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  13. ^ https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2018/11/stung-by-trump-and-midterms-the-koch-network-changes-its-approach
  14. ^ Drusch, Andrea (January 1, 2018). "Fort Worth's Rollins expands Texas policy shop into Washington". Kansas City Star. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  15. ^ Drusch, Andrea; Ordonez, Franco (December 18, 2018). "White House green-lights Texas think tank's ideas, irking Capitol Hill Republicans". Star Telegram. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  16. ^ Drusch, Andrea (February 20, 2019). "Texas think tank adds former Indiana Congressman to D.C. policy shop". Star-Telegram. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  17. ^ Loyola, Mario (January 16, 2013). "The Texas Model". National Review. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  18. ^ OCLC 806032908, 806034290 (print and on-line versions)
  19. ^ Wilder, Forrest (December 5, 2013). "The Money Behind the Fight to Undermine Medicaid". Texas Observer. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  20. ^ Reilly, Ryan J. (March 7, 2014). "Conservative Skepticism About 'Tough On Crime' Policies Gets Its Turn At CPAC". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  21. ^ Hancock, The Hon. Sen. Loni (February 22, 2014). "Texas an unlikely model for prison reform". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  22. ^ Biesecker, Michael (October 14, 2017). "Trump to nominate climate change doubter as top environmental adviser". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  23. ^ Wray, Dianna (October 17, 2017). "Trump Picks Former TCEQ Head and Climate Change Denier for White House Post". Houston Press. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  24. ^ Kaufman, Alexander (October 19, 2017). "Trump's Pick For White House Environmental Post Once Said Coal Helped End Slavery". HuffPost. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  25. ^ "Climate change sceptic Kathleen Hartnett White dropped as Trump environment expert". The Guardian. February 4, 2018. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  26. ^ Eilperin, Juliet; Dennis, Brady (February 4, 2018). "White House withdraws controversial nominee to head Council on Environmental Quality". Washington Post. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  27. ^ a b Samuels, Alex (July 28, 2020). "Conservative think tank leader says schools should reopen since most Texans dying from COVID-19 are elderly or Hispanic". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  28. ^ a b "A Texas-Size Problem". www.texmed.org. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  29. ^ CDC (February 11, 2020). "Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  30. ^ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering; Division, Health and Medicine; Practice, Board on Population Health and Public Health; Equity, Roundtable on the Promotion of Health (August 30, 2018). Immigration and the Social Determinants of Health. National Academies Press (US).
  31. ^ Pierce, Muzaffar Chishti, Sarah Pierce Muzaffar Chishti and Sarah (March 26, 2020). "Crisis within a Crisis: Immigration in the United States in a Time of COVID-19". migrationpolicy.org. Retrieved July 29, 2020.

External links[edit]