Three Michigan state universities have been served with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) records requests for emails involving the Wisconsin collective bargaining issue. They were asked for messages that included the terms “Scott Walker,” “Maddow,” “Wisconsin,” and “Madison.” The requests, by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, were sent to labor relations departments at the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University.
For those of you who haven’t heard of it, the Mackinac Center claims it's a “nonpartisan research and educational institute.” It's really a front group for the Koch brothers’ anti-worker agenda. And it's clear the Mackinace Center is trying to intimidate labor professors through chilling free speech.
You won't be surprised to learn who the center’s donors are. Mother Jones reports:
Between 2002 and 2009, the Mackinac Center's donors included the Charles G. Koch Foundation ($69,151), founded by the chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, who, with his brother, David, is a major backer of conservative causes; the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation ($80,000), the charity tied to the son of the co-founder of Amway, the multibillion-dollar direct marketing company; the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, established by the parents of Blackwater founder Erik Prince, who serves as the foundation's vice president ($195,000); and the Walton Family Foundation ($100,000), established by Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and his wife, Helen.In other words, a murderers' row of predatory plutocrats who view destroying America's middle class as a charitable activity.
The Mackinac Center is just taking a page out of the Wisconsin Republican playbook. William Cronon, a well-known labor history professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently criticized Wisconsin Republicans. He took aim at
What a waste of time and taxpayer money to carry out a vendetta against college professors. We can think of better things to do with that time—like create jobs.