A purportedly “objective” think tank and taxpayer-funded federal contractor – described by the IRS as its “trusted partner” – is acting as the Obama administration’s propaganda tool for Obamacare and infiltrating the mainstream media, which eagerly cite the leftist group’s studies.

The Urban Institute advocates for public health insurance, wealth distribution and tax hikes for higher income-earners. The supposedly “nonpartisan” organization’s employees have a record of donating nearly 100 percent of their political contributions to Democrats.

And UI’s president, Sarah Rosen Wartell, is the co-founder of the Center for American Progress, widely considered ground zero for the development of many of the Obama administration’s progressive policies.

‘Objective’ Obamacare-related studies and research

The Urban Institute has received more than $60 million in transactions from the Department of Health and Human Service since 2010, the year Obamacare was passed. It has several contracts related to the health-care law, though most contract descriptions with the Health Department are broad and vague, using terms such as “other” or “professional services.”

Some Obamacare-related transactions include:

The Urban Institute’s research tends to almost always support President Obama’s signature health legislation. In fact, WND was unable to find any negative coverage of Obamacare from the Urban Institute.

It has recently argued that Obamacare’s income redistribution is only “modest in scope”: “Nearly three-quarters of ACA’s funding comes, not from the wealthy, but from the health care industry, through reimbursement cuts or taxes and fees. However, these contributions are offset by new revenue from people gaining health insurance.”

Other Urban Institute papers argue that Obamacare can survive low enrollment, “does much to contain health care costs,” boosts the number of insured nonelderly adults, “will have little effect on employment and may support stronger economic growth” and even improves the health of individuals and families.

The institute also says “more Americans will find affordable health insurance” and “the law has a negligible impact on total employer-sponsored coverage and costs, leaves large business costs-per-person-insured largely untouched and makes small businesses-for whom coverage expands the most-financially better off, through tax credits and market efficiencies that lower premiums.”

It claims Obamacare “will save states and localities between $83.8 billion and $153.0 billion.”

The 2012 Urban Institute report, “Federal Health Reform is Largely Market-Based, Despite Contrary Assertions,” argues, “The [Affordable Care Act] is a direct descendant of the ‘pro-competitive’ reform strategy of the Reagan era.”

Mainstream media wildly tout UI ‘research’

The Urban Institute studies are heavily quoted by the mainstream media. The following are just a few articles citing the institute and its “objective” research:

In December 2013, the Urban Institute hosted a panel of experts to brainstorm strategies specifically to “maximize” Obamacare enrollment.

The panel was broadcast on C-SPAN and included Urban Institute senior fellow Stan Dorn, described as “one of the country’s leading experts on innovative enrollment and retention strategies in health care,” who urged patience with the troubled Obamacare enrollment process.

“It’s natural we all get upset, we all get exercised over the initial numbers, we have a news media that has a huge news hole to fill and that’s looking for today’s news,” he said. “I think it’s really incumbent upon us to just take a deep breath, take a step back and realize there’s gonna be problems early on, no question about it. But over time, I think there’s every reason for optimism that, just as Children’s Health [Insurance Program] coverage managed to enroll the vast bulk of eligible people in most states, so too we’ll be able to do that with ACA.”

He added, “It’s gonna take time. We’re going to have problems. We’re going to have to solve those problems. … We just need to be patient and recognize this stuff is complicated. … We have a very exciting new era in store, but we just have to recognize that it’s going to take patience and time.”

Dorn also advocated using tax preparers to enroll low-income people in Obamacare, calling it an “enormously promising opportunity.”

“My hope is, as we’re re-thinking how to do the ACA, maybe after this first year we could think about changing the open enrollment period so that this incredible network of tens of thousands of tax preparers can be engaged year after year in helping people enroll into coverage,” he said.

Urban Institute ties to the left

Earlier, WND broke the story that the IRS – the agency also tasked with enforcing penalties for Americans who fail to comply with Obamacare – is officially directing all U.S. nonprofits whose annual gross receipts are $50,000 or less to file their annual financial information electronically through the liberal Urban Institute.

The institute collects what is known as Form 990, which provides the public with financial information about the organization. The form, called the e-Postcard in its electronic online format, is also utilized by the government to keep up-to-date with nonprofits and prevent such organizations from abusing their tax-exempt status.

WND also reported that the Urban Institute lists the National Council of La Raza as one of its “sponsors and partners.” In 2007, La Raza commissioned the Urban Institute to carry out a study of how the children of illegal aliens were impacted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids. The institute’s findings were released in a 109-page Oct. 31, 2007, report titled “Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America’s Children.” The cover of the full report featured an image of a terrified, crying Hispanic-looking girl.

The National Council of La Raza, or “The Race,” in advocates “comprehensive immigration reform,” calling for “the 12 million undocumented people in our country to come forward, obtain legal status, learn English, and assume the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.” La Raza has opposed legislation to make English the official language of the U.S.

A WND investigation of the donations and backgrounds of Urban Institute officers and trustees, found:

  • Freeman Hrabowski, vice chairman of the Urban Institute board of trustees, donated $5,000 to the Obama victory fund in 2008 and $1,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. In 2012, he donated $5,000 to Obama’s victory fund. Since 2004, he has donated $21,900 – all to Democrat candidates.
  • Jamie S. Gorelick, vice chairman of the Urban Institute board of trustees, served as President Bill Clinton’s deputy attorney general from 1994 to 1997 and also as vice chairman of Fannie Mae from 1997 to 2003, the year Fannie Mae was accused of improper accounting after it showed $9 billion in unrecorded losses. Gorelick was paid more than $26 million as a top Fannie Mae executive before the mortgage giant received a taxpayer-funded bailout. Gorelick is also reportedly the official blamed for the pre-Sept. 11 “wall of separation” that prevented the CIA and FBI from comparing investigation notes. She was appointed by former Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., to serve on the 9-11 Commission. Since 2000, Gorelick has contributed at least $257,150 to Democrat candidates and leftist organizations – including $10,000 to Obama’s 2008 victory fund and $10,000 to his 2012 victory fund – and only $6,500 to Republicans. She is also a major donor to the Urban Institute.
  • Joel L. Fleishman, listed as the Urban Institute’s chairman of the Board of Trustees, gave $2,300 to Obama’s 2008 campaign. Since 2000, he has contributed $28,209 – all to Democrat candidates.
  • Robert D. Reischauer, listed as president of the Urban Institute in 2010, was a senior fellow of economic studies at the leftist think-tank the Brookings Institution in the late ’80s and ’90s. While he worked for the Urban Institute, he donated $2,000 to Democrat candidates.
  • Donald A. Baer, Urban Institute trustee, was a senior adviser to President Clinton from 1994-1998, including stints as director of strategic planning and communications and as chief speechwriter/director of speech writing and research. Baer has donated $4,750 to only Democrats since 2010.
  • Erskine B. Bowles, Urban Institute trustee, is former co-chair of President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Bowles is also a former member of the National Economic Council and National Security Council. He served as President Clinton’s chief of staff from 1996 to 1998 and deputy chief of staff from 1994 to 1995. Bowles has donated more than $8,000 to only Democrats since 2010.
  • Henry G. Cisneros, Urban Institute trustee, was Clinton’s secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1993-97. Cisneros has donated $7,500 to only Democrats since 2010.
  • Marne L. Levine, Urban Institute trustee, is Facebook vice president of global public policy. Levine was chief of staff of Obama’s National Economic Council and special assistant to the president for economic policy. From 2001 to 2003, Levine served as chief of staff for Harvard University President Larry Summers, who served as deputy secretary of the treasury in the Clinton administration. Under President Clinton, she was deputy assistant treasury secretary for banking and finance. Levine has donated $3,000 to Democrats and $5,000 specifically to Obama since 2010.

Among Urban Institute donors are the American Express Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the Fannie Mae Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the George Soros-funded Open Society Institute.

The organization also receives huge amounts of federal dollars, getting nearly $55 million “during the last few years of the Clinton administration.” A 2011 filing by the organization revealed that its “government grants (contributions)” during that year totaled more than $44 million.

Wealth distribution, public health insurance

The Urban Institute says it “gathers data, conducts research, evaluates programs, offers technical assistance overseas, and educates Americans on social and economic issues – to foster sound public policy and effective government.”

The organization has released dozens of extensive reports advocating redistribution through taxes. The “Tax Distribution and Economic Trends” section of its website provides links to many of those reports.

The group is a proponent of the Carbon Tax, which has been criticized as too heavily taxing the United States while distributing funds to the Third World.

The group was a critic of George W. Bush’s tax-cut plans, claiming they disproportionately favored “the wealthy.”

A May 2006 Urban Institute report argues for socialized medicine, concluding “public insurance appears to offer the best financial protection from high out-of-pocket expenses and financial burden for low-income families.”

An entire page at the Urban Institute’s website is dedicated to the IRS tea-party scandal, in which the agency was accused of targeting tea party-aligned groups with harsher scrutiny and holding up their applications. Urban Institute’s experts saw the tea party scandal as “small.”

Soros, anti-gun funding

The organization is financed heavily by Soros’ Open Society.

Just last year, liberal billionaire George Soros provided a $250,000 grant for “collecting data and conducting sophisticated empirical research and analysis on the impact of various proposals for housing finance reforms on low-income families, communities of color and underserved markets.”

Another Urban Institute donor is the Joyce Foundation, an anti-gun group where President Obama served on the board from 1994 to 2002.

Joyce gave a $400,000 grant to the controversial Media Matters progressive activist group in 2010, purportedly to “support a gun and public safety issue initiative.”

While Obama was on the Joyce Foundation board, the organization granted tens of millions of dollars to gun-control organizations. Also, numerous large grants were provided to a group called Leadership for Quality Education, which was run by John Ayers, the brother of Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers.

Also while Obama was at Joyce, the foundation gave numerous grants to the Small Schools workshop at the University of Chicago which was founded by Bill Ayers and is run by avowed communist activist Mike Klonsky, who served with Ayers in the Students for a Democratic Society.

Collects nonprofit data for IRS

The Urban Institute says it “gathers data, conducts research, evaluates programs, offers technical assistance overseas, and educates Americans on social and economic issues – to foster sound public policy and effective government.”

All nonprofits are required to fill out what is known as Form 990, which provides the public with financial information about the organization. The form is also utilized by the government to keep up-to-date with nonprofits and prevent such organizations from abusing their tax-exempt status.

Failure to complete Form 990s for three consecutive years automatically results in the loss of tax-exempt status.

The forms can be filed by larger organizations either electronically or by filling out and mailing a complete form manually. Most nonprofits whose annual gross receipts are $50,000 or less are required to electronically submit Form 990, which is also known as the e-Postcard.

In 2007, the IRS modified its Form 990, requiring more significant disclosures on corporate governance and boards of directors.

The IRS website directs all small nonprofits to fill out the electronic version of Form 990 at the Urban Institute’s website.

Reads the IRS website: “When you access the system, you will leave the IRS site and file the e-Postcard with the IRS through our trusted partner, Urban Institute.”

The Urban Institute’s partnership with the IRS goes back to 1997, when the nonprofit was contracted to digitize and help make the data associated with Form 990s more accessible to the public.

Also in 1997, the Urban Institute contracted with Philanthropic Research, Inc., which later renamed itself GuideStar, to digitize Form 990s.

Urban Institute spokesman Stu Kantor told WND, “IRS funding of approximately $1.14 million has been provided to the Urban Institute for this work since 2007. This amount represents less than a quarter of one percent (.24 percent) of our revenues during this period.”

Kantor also noted that no confidential information is located on the 990-N e-Postcard the organization processes for the IRS.

He said, “The Urban Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization. For more than 45 years, we have been conducting social and economic policy research, including evaluating government programs and providing technical assistance for government at all levels and for foundations.”


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