If The Freedom Foundation Holds a Press Conference that Gets No Coverage, Did It Really Happen?

Last week, the Freedom Foundation held a press conference at the Oregon State Capitol to unveil one of their notorious “studies.” This study apparently makes a case against Oregon’s Measure 97, but we wouldn’t actually know because we haven’t seen the study yet, nor apparently has any press.** For those who don’t know, Measure 97 is a ballot measure voters will see in November that asks the wealthiest corporations in Oregon to pay their fair share so we can adequately fund schools, healthcare and senior services. While we aren’t surprised that the Freedom Foundation is opposed to Measure 97 and siding with corporations like Comcast, Wells Fargo and Chevron, we were surprised that the general public wasn’t even allowed in the room during the press conference. Yep, the group that boasts of “transparency” and “accountability” once again proves that they have no interest in holding themselves to the same standards they bloviate about when it comes to working families.

**We do not mean that press was not in attendance, only that there has been no coverage.

Their high priced lawyer Greg Overstreet, who once worked for payday lenders, guarded the door and told us that it was “state law” that people weren’t allowed in the room. We haven’t been able to find such a law. In hindsight, we should have brought our lawyers with us. But who brings lawyers to a press conference (other than the Freedom Foundation, of course)?

High-priced Freedom Foundation lawyer keeping public away from the press conference

High-priced Freedom Foundation lawyer keeping public away from the press conference

But we didn’t realize that the press wasn’t allowed in the room either, or at least that’s how it seems, because no one covered this “story.”

The Freedom Foundation’s secrecy makes sense when you understand that they are being flat out rejected in Oregon. Just as SEIU Local 503 proclaimed last week, the Freedom Foundation is failing in Oregon. Holding a closed-door press conference to release one of their “studies” is just the kind of thing a failing organization might do to get a little attention without scrutiny. The Freedom Foundation has been in Oregon for a year and hasn’t been able to get a foothold, so they are trying to make themselves relevant. Apparently the press doesn’t care either. Oregon is a state that cares about working families and not the propaganda from an out-of-state organization with ties to the Koch brothers.

This story gets better though: The Freedom Foundation’s CEO, Executive Vice-President, Managing Editor, Oregon Coordinator, Creative Director, Managing Attorney, Litigation Counsel and three or four other staffers all attended. It’s a three-hour drive from Olympia, Washington, where most of these people live, which means that their highest-paid staff spent a day driving back and forth for a press conference that no one seems to care about.

We don’t know what the Freedom Foundation pays their staff because they don’t disclose it, but I imagine with the type of funders they have, they pay a good wage (at least to the executives). It’s hurting our heads to calculate what they spent on this press conference that was closed to the general public and generated no press coverage, but I bet the out of state millionaires and billionaires who fund them wouldn’t be happy with such a small return on their investment.

It’s pretty clear that Oregonians aren’t buying what the Freedom Foundation is selling, but, with such deep pockets, we expect them to stick around a while.