Ballot Initiative Strategy Center
The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, or BISC, based in Washington, DC, advocates for progressive ballot measures and against conservative ballot measures. There are two BISC organizations, the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, Inc., a 501(c)(4) and the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center Foundation, a 501(c)(3).
How BISC is funded
In 2005, the BISC Foundation reported grants of $10,507 from NARAL and $153,007 from the Open Society Institute, which is an organization supported by George Soros. In 2004, the BISC Foundation reported grants from NARAL of $17,165 and from the Open Society Institute of $154,665.. The 2002 and 2003 tax returns of the BISC Foundation do not provide any donor information.,
BISC, Inc. elected not to disclose its donors on its federal income tax returns in 2005 and 2004.
The New Progressive Coalition announced in 2007 that it had designated BISC as a member of its "Victory in 2008 and Beyond" progressive "mutual fund". BISC is also listed as "a partner" of the liberal organization, "America Votes", which describes BISC as enabling "a wide range of ideologically progressive groups" to "use the [initiative] process more effectively".
Big Labor supports BISC
In an April 2008 publication, "The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center: How It Promotes Big Labor's Political Strategy", the Capital Research Center disclosed that BISC has taken donations from the AFL-CIO, the International Association of Machinists, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Assocation, the United Food and Commercial Workers, SEIU and AFSCME.
The Capital Research Center also writes that BISC has taken funds from what it describes as the "far-left Arca Foundation".
BISC and petition blocking
At the event, BISC presenter Kelly Evans encouraged unions to run “signature blocking” campaigns—organized efforts to urge citizens not to sign ballot petitions that would harm progressive interests. She said such efforts "help build and mobilize your base," and "force your opposition to spend more money or volunteer hours gathering signatures."
See petition blocking.
Donations to ballot measures
- In 2006, BISC donated a total of $15,000 to two ballot measures that appeared on the November general election ballot in Washington.,
- In 2000, BISC donated $29,500 to an unsuccessful campaign to defeat California Proposition 21. Proposition 21, a measure to increase "punishment for gang-related felonies, home-invasion robbery, carjacking, witness intimidation and drive-by shootings", passed with 62% of the vote.
BISC attacks on conservative ballot initiatives
Kristina Wilfore, executive director of BISC, said at a "Take Back America" conference held March 17-29, 2008 in Washington, D.C., that "right-wing leaders and activists are desperate, and their leaders and activists are trying to use ballot gimmicking to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat".
Ward Connerly, others
Wilfore also said that Ward Connerly is "no more than a pawn of the right-wing agenda", and promised to unveil a new website, Stop Ballot Fraud, that would attack Connerly, Howard Rich, Patrick Byrne and Rick Berman. Wilfore said that they are "not good people".
- BISC website
- Capital Research Center report on BISC, April 2008
- CRC fisks BISC, finds not-so-hidden agenda
- New Progressive Coalition entry on BISC
- America votes entry on BISC
- The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center: How It Promotes Big Labor's Political Strategy
- Blocking and Tackling Democracy, Common Sense, Nov. 28, 2007
- Idaho Campaign Finance Disclosure Report
- Cit for Community Protection monetary contributions
- Washingtonians for Clean Energy monetary contributions
- Details of contributors to No on Prop 21
- The Washington Times, Will ballot initiatives help the GOP survive in November? March 17, 2008