Tonight the Millwaukee-based Bradley Foundation—“the most powerful rightwing organization in America no one seems to know about,” as one progressive activist describes it—will present awards worth $250,000 in prize money each to conservative journalists at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
You, too can participate!
The program will be live-streamed at www.bradleyprizes.org beginning at 7:30 p.m. eastern/6:30 central. The public can comment on Twitter using the handle @bradleyprizes14.
Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel, Wall Street Journal drama critic and Commentary critic-at-large Terry Teachout, and Georgetown University Law Professor Randy Barnett will also receive awards. (Barnett introduced the “Repeal Amendment” at a 2011 ALEC meeting, to give two-thirds of the state legislatures the power to repeal any federal law or regulation.)
Last year, Fox News Chair and CEO Roger Ailes was an award recipient.
Campus rape mocker George Will, another past award recipient and a member of the Bradley Foundation board of directors, will serve as master of ceremonies.
For the most part, the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation operates off the mainstream media radar. Yet the group has made more than $530 million in grants and awards since 1985, making it a major funder of national rightwing causes.
With more than $290 million in assets, Bradley is among the largest foundations in the United States.
Among Bradley’s projects are a multi-million-dollar ad campaign supporting Walker in the recall effort against him, billboards warning voters that they could face criminal penalties if they turned out to be ineligible to cast ballots, and a $30 million campaign to promote school privatization. That campaign includes a propaganda effort to spread the word that the public schools have “failed,” as well as lobbying and research to support school-privatization efforts nationwide.
For the eleventh year in a row, the group is also giving out awards to commend “excellence” in journalism.
According to a report by One Wisconsin Now, the Bradley-financed Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, manipulated academic research and pressured a University of Wisconsin professor to downplay results that showed school vouchers in a negative light.
Bradley Foundation President and CEO Michael Grebe has also served as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair since 2010.
Not only does Grebe help run Walker’s campaign, says One Wisconsin Now executive director Scott Ross, “he’s the person Paul Ryan calls his ‘political godfather’ and the guy who sent the letter to the Republican Party saying Reince Preibus should be the next RNC chair.”
Recently, the rightwing network supporting Governor Walker has been pulled into a campaign-finance-related criminal investigation involving allegations of illegal coordination between Walker’s campaign and dark money groups.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board, whose members are perennial Bradley Awards favorites, published two amazing editorials in May, excoriating Walker for daring to consider a settlement deal with prosecutors in the investigation.
The Journal editorial board sent a loud message to Walker on behalf of the national network of big-time right-wing donors: Don’t forget who you’re working for.
Walker had better not throw his big-money supporters under the bus, the Journal warned, telling the governor not to “cut a deal that undermines his allies.”
At the Bradley Awards tonight, Wall Street Journal editorial board members will be receiving big checks and rubbing elbows with the same rightwing network that supports Scott Walker—as long as he doesn’t step out of line.