Freedom Foundation, Washington Policy Center Share Funder with Neo-Nazi

In mid-February, New York Magazine broke a story that the Washington State-based Rotella Foundation was a key funder of neo-Nazi Richard Spencer and his National Policy Institute. Spencer is one of the leaders of the modern-day white supremacist movement, helping to organize the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville which brought together white supremacists from across the country. The rally ended tragically with a deadly hit and run and a white supremacist charged with murder. Spencer is also an ardent supporter of Donald Trump. At a gathering of other neo-Nazis after Trump was elected in 2016, Spencer started off his speech with “Hail Trump, Hail our people, Hail victory,” a tribute to the notorious Nazi greeting. The most egregious portions of his speech can be viewed here.

Richard Spencer leading crowd in heil salute

Richard Spencer chanting “Hail Trump, Hail our people, Hail victory” in 2016.

In addition to funding a neo-Nazi, the Rotella Foundation is also a funder of the Washington Policy Center and the Freedom Foundation, two extremist anti-union organizations based in the Northwest. The Northwest Accountability Project (NWAP) has long documented the linkages between the white supremacist movement and the anti-union movement. Billionaire funders like Wisconsin’s Bradley Foundation (the Freedom Foundation’s largest funder) and Pennsylvania’s Sarah Scaife Foundation fund white supremacists like Charles Murray and anti-immigrant hate groups like the so-called Center for Immigration Studies and the Federation for American Immigration Reform

Billionaires are working to sow division and discord amongst working people because they know that unified workers are the greatest threat to their bottom lines as they are more likely to win higher wages, better healthcare, stronger retirement benefits, and more funding for public education. Unions bring workers together while the billionaire backers of these organizations try to divide and conquer.

The Freedom Foundation and Washington Policy Center are part of this effort but they attempt to hide this connection by refusing to disclose their donors. They have worked tirelessly to keep their funding secretive. Most recently, they lobbied the IRS for more secrecy for their benefactors, a move that makes sense with the likes of the Rotella Foundation on their donor roll. 

To this point, both the Freedom Foundation and Washington Policy Center have been massive failures in their mission to divide working people and destroy unions. Working families know that their wages and benefits are won at the bargaining table and the only way to be effective is to stay unified.