Summary: The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity is a right wing “think tank” with a single employee that advocates against environmental, labor, and women’s health protections. The Center has a 501c4 sister organization, the Gaspee Project, that engages in electioneering and purports to promote “free market” policies.
The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity is a tiny right wing advocacy group with a sister 501(c)4 political wing, the Gaspee Project, both of which are funded entirely by dark money. Neither organization discloses its donors, and both skirt campaign finance laws; both organizations share board members and have filed tax returns with clear errors.
RICFP is a member of State Policy Network (SPN), a network of right wing organizations that the Koch network funds to promote junk science, climate denial, and corporate welfare.
The Cranston, Rhode Island-based organization has a single employee, Mike Stenhouse, who spends much of his time promoting conspiracy theories—including promotion of QAnon theories and dismissing the Covid-19 pandemic as “fake”—and engaging in culture wars. Stenhouse regularly uses his social media platforms to attack proponents of reproductive rights, labor rights, and environmental protections.
Starting in late 2020, RICFP has been campaigning against TCI, pushing blatant disinformation and falsehoods. The group’s anti-TCI attacks closely mirror fellow SPN members in other northeastern and mid-Atlantic states. For example, RICFP followed the lead of Mass Fiscal and promoted a readily-debunked story by the Beacon Hill Institute, a Koch funded “policy” front group that is also a member of the SPN. The group also hired Advantage, Inc, a right-wing consultancy to conduct a highly-biased poll to skew its portrayal of public opinion on TCI in the state.