-By Ruth Conniff
April 30, 2013- It's "the most powerful organization in America that no one seems to know about."
Unlike David Koch of the Koch Brothers, whose cover was blown when a gonzo blogger named Ian Murphy (editor of the Buffalo Beast and a frequent contributor to The Progressive), impersonated him in a prank call to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
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 much, much bigger giver to rightwing causes than the Koch brothers. With more than $290 million in assets, Bradley is one of the biggest foundations in the United States.
A new report by Ross's group One Wisconsin Now reveals the Bradley Foundation's particular focus on privatizing the public schools.
Among the report's findings:
–The Bradley Foundation, headed by Governor Scott Walker's campaign co-chair Michael Grebe, has underwritten a massive, pro-privatization propaganda campaign, including "a systematic and relentless campaign to turn public opinion against the public school system."
–Bradley has spent more than $31 million since 2001 supporting organizations promoting education privatization, academics providing favorable pro-privatization pseudo-science, media personalities promoting the privatization agenda, and lobbying organizations advocating for privatization legislation.
–The Bradley-financed campaign has manufactured an education "crisis," proposed a "solution," attacked and undermined the ability of potential opponents to block their agenda, and funded aggressive pro-privatization media and lobbying efforts.
–The Bradley-financed Wisconsin Policy Research Institute has manipulated research and pressured a University of Wisconsin professor to downplay results that show school vouchers in a negative light, while highlighting scientifically dubious favorable results.
Way back in 1990, Bradley backed the first private-school voucher program in the nation, right in Milwaukee.