Reporter’s Notebook: Freedom Foundation demanding $58,800 from Thurston County taxpayers

* Freedom Foundation lawyers are at it again, this time demanding $58,800 in taxpayer dollars from Thurston County in exchange for dropping a public records lawsuit. The letter threatens litigation unless Thurston County takes “the opportunity to do the right thing” and hands over the money. FF letter to Thurston County_002 58k

* It’s a successful fundraising strategy for the anti-tax group: the Freedom Foundation took $15,000 in taxpayer funds from Island County and $15,091 from Kitsap County services last fall using the same tactics and boilerplate legal language.  The incident led the Whidbey News-Times to call it a “set up” by the Freedom Foundation and to call the group “vindictive.”

*  Jeff Rhodes, a spokesperson for the Freedom Foundation, admits they’ve “made PRA requests to every county” in Washington State as part of this fundraising strategy.

* So what’s this county taxpayer money paying for? It’s hard to know for sure, but likely some of it is being used to defend a recent complaint filed with the IRS challenging Freedom Foundation’s non-profit (501c3) status, which allows Freedom Foundation donors to deduct their contributions, and enables the organization to avoid other state and federal taxes.