Progress and Freedom Foundation

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Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) is a "market-oriented think tank" that focuses on conservative issues relating to de-regulation of the media. PFF was founded 1993 as a non profit 501(c)(3) non-profit group.

Mission Statement

As stated on its website, PFF's mission is: "to educate policymakers, opinion leaders and the public about issues associated with technological change, based on a philosophy of limited government, free markets and individual sovereignty."[1]

History

PFF was initially started with funds raised from large corporate donors by Rep. Newt Gingrich.[2] Many feel PFF was created as an attempt to to circumvent limits on corporate campaign contributions.[3] These theories are lent credence by the fact that one of PFF's founders was Jeffery A. Eisenach, formerly executive director of GOPAC Rep. Gingrich's controvertial political action committee.

In November 2002, PFF opened a new "Center for the Study of Digital Property" directed by James V. DeLong, formerly of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.[4]

Funding

Unlike other think tanks, PFF is quite open about at least some of their supporters.

Telecom Industry

According to Common Cause.org, The Progress and Freedom Foundation’s list of corporate donors "reads like a who’s who list of the telecommunications industry. Telephone companies like AT&T, BellSouth, and Verizon; technology companies like Microsoft and Intel; telecom trade associations like the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the Entertainment Software Association; cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner; cell phone companies like T-Mobile and Sprint; and broadcasters like Clear Channel Communications and Viacom19 have all helped fill PFF’s coffers to the tune of a $3 million per year operating budget." [5]

In light of this line up, PFF's proposal in 2000 to reform and downsize the FCC is hardly suprising.[6]

PFF seems to have been funded by communications companies from the outset. In an advertisement placed by PFF in the December 1994 issue of Wired, there was already a whole list of supporters from the telecom industry. [7]

Drug Companies

From the Wall Street Journal December 12, 1994:

"In September, Rep. Gingrich told a biotechnology trade group that he was launching a project to design a replacement for the FDA. Leading the effort is the Progress and Freedom Foundation, whose head, Jeff Eisenach, formerly ran Gopac, Mr. Gingrich's political action committee. Without apology, Mr. Eisenach acknowledges that drug companies are financial contributors to the foundation, and notes that drug companies will be involved in the project. And he dismisses suggestions that drug-company involvement could taint the results." [8]

From the New York Times, February 11, 1995:

"One source of financing of Mr. Gingrich's college video courses is the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a conservative advocacy group in Washington. Among the foundation's donors are half a dozen companies that do business with the agency, including two for which Mr. Gingrich has personally written letters urging approval of their products, [FDA] documents show." [9]

Tobacco Industry

On the list of supporters in 1998 [10] you will find: Philip Morris Companies, Inc., R.J. Reynolds, and [U.S. Tobacco]]. PFF included on that page a quote from Mr. Thomas J. Collamore (Vice President, Public Affairs, Philip Morris):

"…Philip Morris is pleased with the exciting work you have done, especially in the area of deregulation, and are glad to continue working with you."

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

Amy L. Liker (Legislative Representative & Federal Government affairs, RJR Tobacco) sent an email on May 22, 1995 to Tommy J. Payne (Vice-President, Federal Government Affairs, RJR Tobacco) in which she wrote about Tim N. Hyde (Public issues, RJR)

"we need a sheet of paper from a think tank outlining the how fda has gone off course from its core mission. it may not be available. Hyde is talking to Progress and Freedom foundation about putting something out on a weekly basis." [11]

Tim Hyde had already a good contact with Jeff Eisenach in 1990 [12] even before Jeff Eisenach co-founded PFF in 1993.

One day later Bethany Noble (former Vice President of the Progress and Freedom Foundation [13]) sent a memo to the 'Supports and Friends of PFF' which ended up in the archive of R.J. Reynolds [14] In it they announce a book written by several people including Jeff Eisenach and "Chairman of the House Budget Committee will write the forward [sic] to The People's Budget." FPP wants to get the thoughts of their friends and supports about that book. In draft version of The People's Budget they wrote on page 8-5 about how to reduce taxes after downsizing the government

"First, we would eliminate most Federal excise taxes, including taxes on gasoline, cigarettes, alcoholic beverages and telephone service."

Philip Morris

In ±1995 David P. Nicoli (Legislative Counsel, Philip Morris Management, Washington Relations Office) wrote

"The WRO [Washington Relations Office] also continues to work with outside groups like Citizens for a Sound Economy, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Competitiveness Enterprise Institute, and the Progress and Freedom Foundation, who all have significant and very high-profile FDA reform activities underway. The work of these groups has put FDA on the defensive, with media stories featuring their efforts appearing recently in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the National Journal, Business Week, and the FDA trade press." (emphasis added) [15]

and in the January 1995 'Activity Sheet' Mr. Nicoli mentioned in the category 'Non-tobacco Attacks On FDA'

"• Progress and Freedom Foundation, through Tozzi, set to release FDA attack piece on 2/1/95 with Powell Tate publicizing." [16]

On April 16, 1996 Garland McCoy and Libby Wright sent a fax from PPF to Ms. Beverley McKittrick (Legislative Counsel, Philip Morris Management)

"Attached is a new proposal The Progress & Freedom Foundation is undertaking which will address the issue of public education on the importance of FDA reform. Garland McCoy and Libby Wright will follow-up with a phone call in the next couple of days." [17]

PFF kept involved with Philip Morris for at least a few more years as can be seen in the weekly activity lists of Ms. Beverley McKittrick

  • Met with Jeff Eisenach and Garland McCoy of Progress & Freedom Foundation to present 1997 general support contribution and to explain briefly reasons for settlement agreement. (July 18, 1997) [18]
  • Met with Progress and Freedom Foundation re: proposed conference on teen smoking. (May 29, 1998) [19]
  • Attended Progress & Freedom Foundation luncheon with FTC Chairman Pitofsky. (November 20, 1998) [20]
  • Met with Progress & Freedom Foundation re: activities (April 16, 1999) [21]

(see also Smoking as a civic duty)

PFF also accepted money from the tobacco industry. For example from Philip Morris

However, tobacco companies no longer appear on PFF's list of corporate 'supporters'.

Microsoft

Australian blogger Tim Lambert mentioned in June 2004 PFF as one of several think tanks writing reports critical to open source software while they seem to be funded by Microsoft. [26] Unlike the other think tanks on that list, PFF is quite open about Microsoft being a 'supporter'.

Music Industry

PFF is also supporting the music industry in its case against Peer to Peer software. It has filed an amicus brief in support of MGM in MGM v. Grokster now pending before the Supreme Court.

Personnel

Board of Directors:

  • George A. (Jay) Keyworth II, Ph.D., Chairman
  • Kenneth Ferree, President
  • Jeffrey A. Eisenach, Ph.D. (former member of the administration's transition team for the FCC) [27][28]
  • Mark F. Grady
  • Bryce (Larry) Harlow
  • Peter F. Harter
  • William P. Roesing

Directors Emeritus:

Officers:

  • Jane Creel, Secretary
  • Garland McCoy, Treasurer

Adjunct Fellows:

  • Michael K. Block
  • Joseph Kraemer
  • Richard O. Levine
  • Paul H. Rubin
  • Douglas C. Sicker

Staff:

  • Kenneth Ferree, President,
  • William F. Adkinson, Jr., Senior Policy Counsel
  • Jane Creel, Director of Finance and Operations
  • James V. DeLong, Senior Fellow, Director of the Center for the Study of Digital Property
  • Brooke Emmerick, Special Events and Publishing Coordinator
  • David M. Fish, Vice President for Communications and External Affairs
  • Rebecca Fuller, Research Assistant
  • Andrea Knutsen, Website and Communications Coordinator
  • Kent Lassman, Research Fellow, Director of the Digital Policy Network
  • Thomas M. Lenard, Senior Fellow, Vice President for Research
  • Randolph J. May, Senior Fellow, Director of Communications Policy Studies
  • Garland T. McCoy, Jr., Vice President for Development
  • Adam Peters, Research Fellow and Regulatory Counsel
  • Michael Pickford, Research Associate
  • Marcia Reed, Receptionist

Contact Information

The Progress & Freedom Foundation
1401 H Street, NW
Suite 1075
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-289-8928
Fax: 202-289-6079
Web site: www.pff.org

External links

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