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Independence Institute

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Independence Institute
501(c)(3) (Sunshine Review)
Leadership: Jon Caldara (Sunshine Review)
Political Party: Nonpartisan
Website: Independence Institute
Email: [mailto: ]

The Independence Institute (II) is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) (Sunshine Review) public policy foundation located in Golden, CO. Founded in 1985 by former Colorado State Senate President John Andrews, II was "established upon the eternal truths of the Declaration of Independence."[1]

The organization is headed by Jon Caldara (Sunshine Review) and has a staff of 16. It played a lead role in organizing the Denver Stimulus Bill Protest 2009.

Mission - Colorado spending transparency

The Institute began the Colorado Spending Transparency (COST) with the mission of getting "the state of Colorado, all municipalities, counties and school districts to put their itemized expenditures and revenue online, in a searchable database." They argue that taxpayers should be able to easily access information on how their money is being spent.

Research - Policy centers

II includes a variety of policy centers and projects which provide focus and expertise in a given area.


The Education Policy Center advocates school choice, school accountability, and teachers' rights. It is headed by Pamela Benigno.

On November 26, 2007 they launched the website School Choice For Kids, which seeks to provide information to Colorado parents on all of the available options for their children. It is available in English and Spanish.

Health Care

The Health Care Policy Center, established in 2002, focuses on public policy that allows consumer choice in health care. It is directed by Linda Gorman, a leader in free market health care issues.

Fiscal policy

The Fiscal Policy Center works to "communicate the balance between taxation and liberty." It is led by Penn R. Pfiffner.

A major project has been the Colorado Union of Taxpayers. Every year since 1994 they have put out a ranking of state legislators on fiscal responsibility.

Second Amendment Project

Led by Dave Kopel, the Second Amendment Project researches legal precedents, news, and opinions in order to provide Constitutional perspectives related to the Second Amendment.

Campus Accountability Project

Created in 2003, the Campus Accountability Project has two main focuses: "first, to serve as an educational resource on free speech, ideological diversity, and racial discrimination, and second, to operate as a watch dog, seeking to ensure that universities are observing the individual rights of faculty, staff, and students." It is directed by Jessica Corry.

Center for the American Dream

The Center for the American Dream, led by Randal O'Toole, opposes any coercive planning efforts that limit personal and economic freedom. They advocate property rights over "smart-growth."

Property Rights Project

The Property Rights Project began in 2005. It's goal is "to serve as a community resource on land use issues—including but not limited to—eminent domain abuse, zoning regulations, and historical designations."

Justice Policy Initiative

Led by Mike Krause, the Justice Policy Initiative undertakes research on "the consequences of statewide criminal justice policies and practices on the Colorado budget, in particular how policy impacts prison spending, law enforcement priorities and the lives and liberties of Coloradoans."

Liberty Project

Unlike the other Policy Centers at the Institute, the Liberty Project funds more general research and outreach, providing publications and public forums across a diverse spectrum.

Publication topics include environmental policy, personal freedom issues, politics and government issues, social policy, technology, national security, and immigration.

Transparency projects






13952 Denver West Parkway
Golden, Colorado

External links