Media Literacy: Who is the "American Council for Capital Formation"?

So, I’m reading this article on Sen. Boxer’s efforts to push through a huge tax break for corporate America, Boxer Promotes One-Time Corporate Tax Break to Boost Spending, and I see that she’s waving around a study by economist Allan Sinai that claims it will produce a zillion dollars in new capital spending and hundreds of thousands of new jobs, etc.

At the end of the article, I see this: “Sinai is a well-known macroeconomist at Decision Economics Inc. The study was funded by the American Council for Capital Formation, a nonprofit advocacy group.”

A “non-profit advocacy group”? Yeah right.

So, what did my buddy Dave tell me:

a) go search on MediaTransparency.org for ACCF – ping: money from the Olin Foundation, and a mention in this article: The Corporate Think Tank Complex; apparently, this is one of ExxonMobil”s favorite charities.

b) search in Google, both “the web”, and in Google News… hmm, the Las Vegas Review Journal covers the same topic, but despite a rather sympathetic treatment to the topic (in the Business section, by a Washington Bureau reporter), described these guys as a “pro-industry group”. What possessed the Chronicle to do differently?

c) sometimes it helps to check out namebase.org: they don’t have much on Allen Sinai, but they have a fair bit on Gerald L. Parsky, ACCF board member, and member of the Governator’s transition team (he’s also a UC Regent, appointed by Wilson)… and you can see why he’s on the ACCF board: “From 1977 to 1992, he was affiliated with the law firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, specializing in international corporate and tax law.”

Google search for Allen Sinai produces quite a few hits… including all sorts of speaker’s bureau entries, one of which states his fee is between $10,000 and $20,000 per speech. Obviously, this is a very media-saavy individual with a high profile. Seems that he can be counted on to produce consistent conclusions, too: here’s his testimony before Congress on the benefits of repealing the estate tax.

Google produced this item from Capital Research Center… a lot of donations from corporate America and the oil industry… and guess what’s on the ACCF home page? A rant about excessive subsidies to “renewable energy” research.

Anyway, all this begs the question: what is one of the most progessive Senators in the Congress doing waving around a study funded by these folks?

P.S. Can you guess how this little gem came to my attention? Well, the answer is two words, starting with G and P.