For the second time in a session that is only weeks old, Indiana House Democrats refused to show up for work on Tuesday, effectively delaying the passage of right-to-work legislation. The first delay was a three-day boycott that finished with Democrats coming back to the table to continue other legislative business. House Republicans expected to have a vote on the contentious right to-work bill after Democrat leader B. Patrick Bauer (known for vainly sporting a toupee) made public and private promises that his caucus would show up and participate in the legislative process.
But while Bauer and his fellow Democrats have been throwing temper tantrums and obstructing legislative business, other opponents of right-to-work legislation have been busy producing and distributing studies that purport to show how the reform would hurt Indiana’s economy. The several studies and reports reach a variety of conclusions. Some say that right-to-work would undermine private sector pension plans and others say that the reform will not have any meaningful impact on drawing job creators – especially those in the manufacturing sector – to the state. South Carolina’s success in attracting a new Boeing plant seems to go unmentioned.
Leading the way among those providing intellectual firepower and talking points for pro-union right to-work opponents is the Economic Policy Institute. EPI, a D.C. based think-tank that specializes in state-based research, has released a steady stream of information and research allegedly debunking the benefits of the reform and calling on Indiana policymakers to bend to union demands by killing the legislation.
EPI has been successful in influencing the debate in Indiana. Their work has been mentioned in news reports.
But make no mistake – there is an agenda behind the research produced by EPI. That agenda is George Soros and another far-left Chicago-based group, The Joyce Foundation.
According to IRS filings (summarized by a third-party here), the Economic Policy Institute received over $6.4 million in funding from the Open Society Institute between 2005 and 2009, the latest year for which documents are available. The Open Society Institute is the organization liberal billionaire George Soros founded to manage his investment in hyper-liberal infrastructure. The amount they gave to EPI makes EPI the 11th largest recipient of Soros money over that time period.
Apparently, when George Soros wants to buy-off some research to promote his liberal ideas at the state level, he turns to the Economic Policy Institute.
Also supporting EPI is The Joyce Foundation, a liberal group in Chicago that works to promote progressive policy in the Midwest. The foundation has funneled $368,000 into EPI over the past few years.
Rarely do unions act in a purely grassroots fashion. On the contrary, unions are (unfortunately for their members) a critical part of a liberal infrastructure that seeks to insure the dominance of liberal ideas and big government. Indiana’s present battle over right-to-work legislation is not isolated to a discussion between Democrats and Republicans about what is best for the future of the state. Heavily funded special interest groups from far beyond Indiana are at work in this fight to make sure that an important part of their political machine does not fall apart ahead of the 2012 presidential election.
This report by Brian Sikma, originally appeared on Hoosier Access.