FGA’s Top 5 Moments of 2021
- BY Sarah Coffey
We here at the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) had a lot to be proud of and thankful for in 2021. We welcomed several new faces to our team, expanded to include new and important policy areas, and shared considerably more Americans’ voices through polling and video.
And as our organization marks its 10th anniversary, we are also celebrating more policy wins in 2021 than ever before in our history—all of which protect Americans’ votes, help people move from welfare to work, and remove government barriers to opportunity.
Here are just a few of our favorite moments from the past year…
- We launched the Center for Excellence in Polling (CEP) to give a greater voice to the concerns of American voters. Our polling and focus groups take the pulse of American attitudes on specific issues so we can craft policy solutions to accurately address their needs. It also helps us understand voters’ perspectives on issues that are particularly important in their own states.
We’ve tracked President Biden’s approval numbers as they fall ever faster since early 2021. We conducted more than 100 state-and-issue-specific polls to refine our messaging and inform voters and policymakers. Our polling on inflation was also cited by Sen. Rick Scott (FL) on the Senate floor during debate in July.
And in April, Stefani Buhajla appeared as a guest on SiriusXM’s conservative radio talk show Stacey on the Right to talk about CEP polling on Georgia’s new election integrity laws.
- We expanded our video production efforts to better tell the stories of hardworking Americans. The consequences of policy decisions—good and bad—impact the lives of everyday Americans, yet their stories often go untold. Our video interviews gave names, voices, and faces to the devastating impact of the unemployment bonus.
- “We’ve had people come in, ask if we are hiring, fill out an application, and we tell them to come back tomorrow to start, and they don’t show up. The money’s not going to last forever. Get out, get a job, and work,” says Kiki Cyrus about the impact of the unemployment bonus on her business, Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles.
- “The hardest part about it was the people I didn’t hire back were making more money [on unemployment] than they were [by working] and that created hostility,” says Patrick Pelley, owner of Books and Brews in Charleston, West Virginia.
- Our work received notable news media coverage.
“We shouldn’t have this kind of corporate money influencing how government conducts elections.”
– Tarren Bragdon on Zuckerbucks
- CEO Tarren Bragdon discussed election integrity in an interview with Newsmax.
- Glenn Beck interviewed Senior Research Analyst Hayden Dublois on President Biden’s infrastructure bill.
- Katie Rodgers, Vice President of Outreach and Government Affairs, appeared on Fox 5 Atlanta to discuss election integrity reforms.
In addition, our staff also brought the discussion of our policy reforms to print media with several high-level placements, including…
- Tarren Bragdon in the Wall Street Journal: Is Joe Manchin the only Democrat who can read polls?
- Hayden Dublois in Forbes: New data: Telehealth parity mandates reduce patient uptake
- Nick Adolphsen in USA Today: My family of six gets a hefty monthly child tax credit check—and that’s a problem
- Jonathan Ingram and Hayden Dublois in New York Post: Welfare is delaying workers return—and Build Back Better would make it worse
- We expanded our policy areas to address the unemployment bonus and election integrity.
The federal unemployment bonus made it more lucrative for people to stay home rather than go to work. This devastated small businesses, with a majority struggling to hire enough workers. America saw a record number of open jobs over the summer and our research team’s work demonstrated how individuals could make more than $44,000 per year by staying home.
We led the charge in calling for the federal bonus to expire and conducted several state-specific tracking studies—the first of their kind—to look at how state economies rebounded after the early expiration of the unemployment bonus. Florida, Montana, and Tennessee landed as our top tracking studies for the year.
After issues during the 2020 election raised more than a few eyebrows, Americans were left wondering how trustworthy and fair their local elections were. Our democratic system relies on voters participating—but if voters don’t have confidence their vote counts, they have little motivation to participate. Activities that cast doubt on the fairness of elections threaten the system itself.
That’s why we began working to further reforms that will improve transparency, security, and fairness in elections. We exposed the private funding of election offices in the 2020 election—coined “Zuckerbucks”—in states like Wisconsin, Florida, Missouri, Georgia, and more—and educated lawmakers on the issue so they could prohibit the practice at the state level.
- Our research showed just how harmful Medicaid expansion is for a state’s economy and for truly needy populations. It has consistently shattered enrollment projections, forced people off private health insurance, crowded out other essential services in state budgets, and forced the truly needy onto longer waiting lists for care. We helped keep Medicaid expansion at bay in states like North Carolina and Wyoming (where the fight continues).
After such a successful 2021, we look forward to many more opportunities to help Americans pursue the American Dream in 2022!