The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), a conservative think tank and advocacy group, emerged as a political force in the Lone Star State more than a decade ago. While its influence was largely contained to Texas for many years, TPPF has found an eager audience in the White House and is now flexing its muscle on the national stage.
Founded almost 30 years ago, TPPF is a Koch-funded research and advocacy group that touts itself as a defender of liberty and free enterprise. By no means a strictly libertarian group, the group also attracts widespread support from social conservatives, counting former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as two of its most prominent allies. [Sen. Ted Cruz joined the organization as a senior fellow in March 2010 where he helped launch the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies. In 2012, Cruz won election to the U.S. Senate.]
From the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to the Department of Energy (DOE), former TPPF officials are now filling top roles in the Trump administration and are working to promote pro-fossil fuel and anti-environment policies at the national level.
The Trump administration, in fact, has already turned into a revolving door for TPPF officials. At least eight TPPF senior staff members have joined or were recruited by the administration. One former TPPF employee has already served two stints in the Department of Energy under Perry’s leadership and another foundation employee returned to TPPF after a brief stint in President Donald Trump’s State Department.
Through its advocacy of far-right policy positions and its fundraising prowess, TPPF has joined the Heritage Foundation and other well-established national think tanks as the go-to policy shops for the president and his band of ultra-conservatives. In recent years, TPPF started co-branding reports and conferences with the Heritage Foundation and other high-profile groups associated with the State Policy Network (SPN) that added to its clout.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation was founded in 1989 by James Leininger, a Christian conservative who became extremely wealthy by selling hospital beds. By the early 1990s, he emerged as one of Texas’ top political donors, spending millions on conservative candidates.
Here is another ThinkProgress piece on TPPF.
Here is a link to the website of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.