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About Mountain States Legal Foundation

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MSLF - Defender of Constitutional Liberties and the Rule of Law, a True Grassroots Effort

Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) is a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation established in 1977 pursuant to I.R.C. 501(c)(3), as a Colorado corporation.  MSLF is dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system.  Governed by a Board of Directors and Board of Litigation, MSLF defends its clients, which may be individuals, businesses, corporate entities, trade associations, or local units of government, pro bono in litigation against governments—primarily the federal government—in defense of constitutional liberties and the rule of law.  With its litigation on behalf of those who cannot afford private counsel (or whose goals with their litigation does not justify the expense of private counsel) MSLF seeks:  1) victory for its clients at the highest level possible, including the Supreme Court of the United States; 2) establishment of binding legal precedents that will benefit millions of Americans; and 3) education of the American public on the threat to their liberties that unrestrained government presents.

One of the most frequently asked questions by potential donors, possible clients, and probing members of the media is “Who Is MSLF?” The answer is simple and straight forward:  MSLF is the embodiment of tens of thousands of donors from all across the country who are committed to preserving the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and to ensuring that the United States remains a nation of laws.  Only as a result of the heartfelt support of individual donors, the overwhelming majority of whom contribute less than $90, is MSLF able to perform its invaluable courtroom defense of individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system.

Thanks to a national campaign to educate and inform the American people of the abuses of the Constitution and federal law by the federal government as well as other units of government and the threat to liberty that such abuses present, MSLF now has 7,404 donors from all 50 states! Overall, MSLF’s average contribution per donor is $298.  Obviously, and contrary to misrepresentations often made in the media regarding MSLF’s source of financial support, MSLF is a true grassroots legal foundation.

Like many nonprofit, public-interest entities supported by charitable contributions (all contributions to MSLF are tax deductible), MSLF received one third of its annual budget in 2015 from its 83 largest donors (whose contributions range from $155,000 to $5,000), one third from 200 donors (whose contributions range from $4,999 to $1,000), and the remaining third from another 7,121 donors (whose contributions range from $999 to $1).  Unlike national environmental organizations, however, MSLF’s annual budget is tiny $2.1 million v. $20, $40, $60, and even $250 million).  

Furthermore, the support MSLF receives from major corporations and foundations is very small compared to that received from those entities by national environmental groups.  For example, it is not unusual for major corporations to donate from $25,000 to $100,000 and more annually to environmental groups.  In sharp contrast, MSLF’s largest major corporate donor contributed $155,000 in 2015; second place belongs to a corporate donor that contributed $25,000.  In fact, MSLF’s average contribution from major corporate supporters is $8,794.

Scores of left of center foundations annually make contributions to national environmental organizations ranging from tens of thousands of dollars ($50,000 is not unusual) to several hundreds of thousands of dollars (as much as $990,000)!  On the other hand, MSLF receives major grants from only ten national foundations ($75,000, $60,000, $60,000, $50,000, $50,000, $30,000, $25,000, $25,000, $15,000 and $15,000), with most of MSLF’s foundation support coming in grants of $10,000 or less.  In fact, MSLF’s average annual contribution from foundations in 2015 was $14,436.

As a result, MSLF depends heavily on the support of private individuals who share MSLF’s commitment to the Constitution.

MSLF’s Board of Directors, which approves all of MSLF’s litigation, reflects such broad-based support. MSLF’s Directors represent more than a dozen states and numerous industries including construction, ranching, mining, oil and gas, agriculture trucking, and forestry.  So, who is MSLF?  It’s tens of thousands of individual Americans, from all 50 states, committed to the vision of our Founding Fathers!



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Mountain States Legal Foundation Annual Report