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The Freedom Foundation’s Failing Right-Wing Agenda

The Freedom Foundation is pushing a far-right agenda that’s out-of-step with Northwest values. They are funded by out-of-state billionaires who want to destroy unions and elect right-wing, anti-union candidates that will keep wages low, eliminate paid sick leave, and slash crucial funding for quality education.

The Freedom Foundation also shares financial ties with extremist groups who target environmentalists, LGBT rights, and women’s health. Get the facts below. 

Find more information on the Freedom Foundation’s political agenda here and click here for more information on their funders.

Against LGBT Rights:

alliance-defending-freedom-new-logo1. Freedom Foundation employees and staff members have received fellowship funding from the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center calledvirulently anti-gay.” That same organization’s co-founder has suggested that AIDS is one way God punishes the LGBT community. [Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk, accessed 6/3/2015]   

2. The Freedom Foundation staff publicly opposed the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage arguing that it is a “threat to personal freedom.”

3. The Washington based Murdock Charitable Trust, a major Freedom Foundation funder, has also donated to a Portland group that tries to turn gay people straight with gay conversion therapy.  [IRS via The National Center for Charitable Statistics, accessed 9/9/2015; Portland Fellowship, accessed 9/9/2015]

4. The Freedom Foundation shares financial connections to groups and individuals that have a long history of anti-LGBT rhetoric and action.  [IRS via The National Center for Charitable Statistics, accessed 9/9/2015; Portland Fellowship, accessed 9/9/2015; Christian Post, 7/11/12; Los Angeles Times, 2/22/2014; GLAAD, accessed 5/21/2015]

5. In 2014, former Washington State Supreme Court Justice James Johnson joined the Freedom Foundation as a senior fellow. As Justice, Johnson wrote extreme opinion in a case to uphold the state Defense of Marriage Act that Chief Justice Madsen called it particularly inappropriate” and said that it “ignores the proper standards.”

Against Protecting the Environment:

1. The Freedom Foundation filed a lawsuit to block policies that would combat climate change and protect the environment.

2. The Freedom Foundation lists “property rights” as a major area of focus and has repeatedly sought to block conservation efforts under this guise.

3. The Freedom Foundation quotes in their blog “doom-and-gloom scenarios about climate change are based on a combination of political agendas and junk science.”

alec-logo-sm4. The Freedom Foundation has close ties to ALEC, which has supported countless assaults on environmental regulations, including opposition to mandated waste reduction and recycling, bills to expand the rights of polluters and make legal action against them more difficult, and to limit federal action on climate change.

5. Although Washingtonians have repeatedly expressed their support for environmentally positive light-rail projects, the Freedom Foundation has argued against investment in these environmental projects. In a blog post, the Freedom Foundation insisted that, “other legitimate road projects have been delayed, prevented, or ignored so that our Central Planners can worship at the altar of Light Rail.”

Undermining the Middle Class:

Freedom Foundation CEO Tom McCabe

Freedom Foundation CEO Tom McCabe

1. The Freedom Foundation has repeatedly opposed increases in the minimum wage and has said that a $15 minimum wage is “an idea so stupid only liberals can believe it.”

2. The Freedom Foundation has argued against paid sick days. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/30/2015]

3. Freedom Foundation staff has argued against increasing education funding, claiming that it has nothing to do with student success.  [Port Orchard Independent, Guest Column: Leonard, 8/27/2009]

4. The Freedom Foundation has sponsored at least five local initiatives that would undermine the rights of workers to organize for better pay, benefits and safer working conditions.

5. The Freedom Foundation has a joined a coalition in Oregon that is working to cut the “retirement, disability and health insurance fund” of Public Workers. They compare retirement security for working families to the Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Bernie Madoff.

6. The Freedom Foundation is a long-time advocate of so-called Right to Work Laws. They have sponsored at least five local initiatives and have advocated for it at a state level. These laws have proven to lead to lower wages, the loss of prevailing wage and less safe working conditions.

Attacking Women:

plannedparenthood073015_getty1. The Freedom Foundation’s staff consistently attacks Planned Parenthood, an organization that is dedicated to providing women’s health services, calling them a radical social organization” and a “baby killing, body-part brokering, government money consuming machine.”

2. Freedom Foundation CEO Tom McCabe has criticized “women’s groups,” saying there’s a concerted effort by environmentalists, liberals and women’s groups to eradicate all manly jobs.

3. One of the Freedom Foundation’s largest donors is the Murdock Charitable Trust, which has also funded “crisis pregnancy centers” across the Pacific Northwest. These groups pose as health clinics and often advertise as if they provide abortion services, but, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America, are “almost entirely funded by national anti-choice umbrella organizations and that the mission of these organizations is to manipulate women into not choosing abortion by giving them false medical information.” [IRS via The National Center for Charitable Statistics, accessed 9/9/2015; Mic.com, 9/22/2014; Murdock Charitable Trust, accessed 10/6/2015]

Ties to White Supremacists:

1. The Freedom Foundation is a Washington affiliate of the State Policy Network, a national network with ties to groups that attack the LGBTQ community, communities of color, women’s rights and fuel white supremacy in our country.

2. One of the Freedom Foundation’s only legislative allies is Representative Mike Nearman, who is one of the leaders of the anti-immigrant hate group Oregonians for Immigration Reform. Their 2018 ballot measure, which is trying to repeal decades-old immigrant protections in Oregon has received funding from a white nationalist group in Michigan, the Federation for Immigration Reform, whose founder the Southern Poverty Law Center called, “the racist architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement.”

3. Freedom Foundation staff have regularly made bigoted statements, including calling for the deportation of all Muslims, blaming immigrant parents for their children being stolen by the Trump administration and writing that “We all know there were good and bad slave owners just like there are good and bad dog owners.”

4. A major funder of the Freedom Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, has funded the work of Frank Gaffney, a known anti-muslim bigot who played a key role in drafting Trump’s Muslim Ban. The Southern Poverty Law Center called Gaffney “one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes”. The Bradley Foundation also funded the fellowship of Charles Murray, a social scientist who argued that success in America was based on genes. The Southern Poverty Law Center has this to say about Murray: “[Murray] has become one of the most influential social scientists in America, using racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by the genetic inferiority of the black and Latino communities, women and the poor.”