Evergreen Freedom Foundation
Learn more about how the State Policy Network aids ALEC and spins disinformation in the states.
Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.
The Freedom Foundation, formerly known as the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, is a libertarian think tank based in Olympia, Washington, whose mission is "to advance individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited, accountable government" by, for example, filing suit against Washington Governor Chris Gregoire for refusing "to turn over public records on more than 500 occasions in the last four years." Freedom Foundation is a member of the State Policy Network (SPN).
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
Bob Williams, founder of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, was the private sector chair of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. He is also on the ALEC Board of Scholars as of 2011. In August 2011, he received ALEC's Private Sector Member of the Year Award.
Williams has been active in sponsoring model legislation and presenting it to the task force on behalf the Freedom Foundation. In 2010, Williams sponsored the "Defined Contribution Pension Reform Act" at the States and Nation Policy Summit. At the 2011 Spring Task Force Summit, Mr. Williams presented "Broken Budgets in the States" and the "Unfunded Pension Liabilities Accounting Act." His Freedom Foundation colleague, Amber Gunn, sponsored the "State Agency Lobbying Reform Act" at the same meeting. At the 2011 ALEC annual meeting, Williams presented on "State Budget Solutions."
Trent England, Vice President of Policy of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, was on the ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force as of the August 2011 Annual Meeting (the task force was later disbanded in April 2012). He gave a presentation on the Electoral College at ALEC's 2010 States and Nation Policy Summit. Mr. England also participated in a debate (“Electoral College v National Popular Vote”) against Ray Haynes of the National Popular Vote at the 2011 Annual Meeting.
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.
Ties to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
The Evergreen Freedom Foundation has hosted writers from the ALEC-connected Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which screens potential reporters on their “free market” views as part of the job application process. The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states. Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias. On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."
Franklin Center Funding
Franklin Center Director of Communications Michael Moroney told the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) in 2013 that the source of the Franklin Center's funding "is 100 percent anonymous." But 95 percent of its 2011 funding came from DonorsTrust, a spin-off of the Philanthropy Roundtable that functions as a large "donor-advised fund," cloaking the identity of donors to right-wing causes across the country (CPI did a review of Franklin's Internal Revenue Service records). Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article. Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.
The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM), a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network, which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation. Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation. SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.
The Evergreen Freedom Foundation was founded in 1991 as a private, non-profit public policy think tank in Washington State. Its efforts center around public policy research and alternatives in these core areas: state budget and tax policy, education, labor policy, property rights, legal policy, and citizenship and governance. The Evergreen Freedom Foundation is, according to the Seattle Times, a libertarian think tank, based in Olympia, Washington, founded by Bob Williams, a former state legislator and gubernatorial candidate.
During Dino Rossi's failed attempt to gain the Washington State governorship through a court challenge to the recount process, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation provided strong ideological support. It pushed a "Voter Integrity Project," which focused on requiring voter ID to prevent voter fraud, and started a "Grassroots Washington" group.
The Evergreen Freedom Foundation neither solicits nor accepts funds from the government, according to its promotional materials. All programs and activities are funded by private donations and grants. Its funding comes from individuals, corporations, and numerous private foundations.
The Freedom Foundation's funders have included:
- The Walton Family Foundation
- The Indianapolis-based Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, founded by leading national voucher advocate Milton Friedman
- The Sarah Scaife Foundation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, controlled by national conservative figure Richard M. Scaife
- The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, a leading financial supporter of the Milwaukee voucher program and controversial contributor to far-right causes
- The Roe Foundation, founded by the late Thomas A. Roe, a prominent Heritage Foundation supporter and co-founder of the State Policy Network
- Foundation for Partnerships Trust, funded and run by William Edgerly, CEO emeritus of State Street Bank and Trust of Boston
- The Gilder Foundation, run by New York stockbroker Richard Gilder (the foundation supports conservative think tanks and voucher groups)
- Jacquelin Hume Foundation of San Francisco, run by survivors of longtime California Reagan advisor Jacquelin Hume, including William Hume
Board of Directors
As of September 2012:
- Hans Stoker, Chairman
- Steve Neighbors, Co-Board Chairman
- Jonathan Bechtle, CEO
- Bill Conner, Trustee
- Duane Alton, Trustee
- Mary Jo Kahler, Trustee
- Barbara Kenney, Secretary
- Tim McMahon, Treasurer
- Roger Bowlin, Trustee
- Dr. Mathew Manweller, Trustee
- Lou Novak, Trustee
- Richard Rokes, Trustee
- Alvin Starkenburg, Trustee
- Harry Truitt, Trustee
- Dr. John Vasko, Trustee
As of April 2013:
- Jonathan Bechtle, CEO
- Trent England, Executive Vice President
Policy and Fellows
- Amber Gunn, Economic Policy Fellow
- Jami Lund, Education Reform Fellow
- Diana Moore, Senior Education Analyst
- Glen Morgan, Property Rights Director
- David Roland, Director of the Theodor L. Stiles Center for Liberty
- Bob Williams, Founder and Senior Fellow
- Bob Williams, former President
- Lois Beard - Chief Operations Officer
- Ryan Bedford - Legal Research Assistant
- S. Alex Bohler - Policy Analyst
- Denise Brandt - Volunteer Coordinator / Office Assistant
- Bob Edelman - Director, Voter Integrity Project
- Irene Endicott - Puget Sound Dev. Associate
- Marie Giger - Office Manager
- Lynn Harsh - Senior Vice President
- Cheryl Hymes - Director, Health Care Reform Center
- Gail Kramer - Financial Assistant
- Kathy McDonald - Southwest Washington Development Associate
- Juliana McMahan - Member Services Director / Executive Administrator
- Jason Mercier - Senior Budget Analyst, Economic Policy Center
- Kristen Mercier - Policy Analyst/Grant Writer
- Michael Reitz - Director and Legal Analyst, Labor Policy Center
- Marsha Richards - Director, Education Reform Center
- Joel Sorrell - Multimedia Specialist
- Booker T. Stallworth - Communications Director
- Dan Steele - Multimedia Assistant
- Total Revenue: $2,148,032
- Total Expenses: $2,908,106
- Net Assets: $502,865
- Total Revenue: $2,680,800.00
- Total Expenses: $2,676,198.00
- Net Assets: $1,262,939.00
- Total Revenue: $2,338,192.00
- Total Expenses: $2,686,930.00
- Net Assets: $1,249,633.00
P.O. Box 552
Olympia, WA 98507
Articles and Resources
Related SourceWatch Articles
- State Policy Network:
- American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
- Donors Capital Fund
- Koch Family Foundations
- Koch Industries
- Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
- Heritage Foundation
- Think tanks
- Whitney Ball
- Adam Meyerson
- Bridgett Wagner
Related PRWatch Articles
- Brendan Fischer, Why Are the Franklin Center's "Wisconsin Reporter" and "Watchdog.org" Attacking the John Doe?, PRWatch.org, December 19, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, The State Policy Network's Cozy Relationship with Big Tobacco, PRWatch.org, December 16, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Did ALEC Found SPN? 1991 Report Suggests So, Exposes SPN Agenda, PRWatch.org, December 12, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Guardian Documents Expose State Policy Network Groups' Intent to Lobby, PRWatch.org, December 5, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, State Policy Network: The Stealth Network Dramatically Influencing State Law, PRWatch.org, December 5, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, Tracie Sharp: Bursar of Mystery Money and "IKEA Model" Materials to Stink Tanks, PRWatch.org, November 19, 2013.
- Center for Media and Democracy, Reports Expose Extreme Pressure Groups Masquerading as Think Tanks, press release, November 13, 2013.
- Rebekah Wilce, A Reporters’ Guide to the "State Policy Network": the Right-Wing Think Tanks Spinning Disinformation and Pushing the ALEC Agenda in the States, PRWatch.org, April 4, 2013.
- Sara Jerving, ALEC and Heartland Aim to Crush Renewable Energy Standards in the States, PRWatch.org, November 27, 2012.
- Connor Gibson, Meet the Network Hiding the Koch Money: "Donors Trust" and "Donors Capital Fund", PRWatch.org, October 29, 2012.
- Brendan Fischer, Koch-Funded Mackinac Center Brings Wisconsin Act 10 Provisions to ALEC, PRWatch.org, May 2, 2012.
- Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 31, 2011.
- DeSmog Blog, Stink Tanks: Historical Records Reveal State Policy Network Was Created by ALEC, December 9, 2013.
- The Guardian, State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax, December 5, 2013.
- Portland Press Herald, "Washington County residents have mixed reactions to plan to eliminate taxes," December 5, 2013.
- The Texas Observer, "The Money Behind the Fight to Undermine Medicaid," December 5, 2013.
- Media Matters, North Carolina Newspapers Largely Ignore Conservative Funding Of Sham Think Tanks, December 3, 2013.
- Shepherd Express, Masters of Manipulation: Right-wing Billionaires, Corporations and the Bradley Foundation Pay for Junk Studies that Prop up Their Agenda, November 27, 2013.
- "Moyers & Company," How a Shadowy Network of Corporate Front Groups Distorts the Marketplace of Ideas, November 19, 2013.
- MSNBC "Rachel Maddow Show," November 18, 2013.
- Free Speech TV "Ring of Fire," Facebook, Microsoft, AT&T and Others Supporting Right Wing Propaganda Machine, November 18, 2013.
- Topeka Capital-Journal, Trabert dismisses report tying KPI to Koch agenda, November 16, 2013.
- The New Yorker (Jane Mayer), Is IKEA the New Model for the Conservative Movement?, November 15, 2013.
- Salon, Ted Cruz and Koch brothers embroiled in shadowy Tea Party scheme, November 15, 2013.
- St. Louis Business Journal, Beyond Sinquefield: Who else is funding the Show-Me Institute?, November 15, 2013.
- The Guardian, Facebook and Microsoft help fund rightwing lobby network, report finds, November 14, 2013.
- Huffington Post, Meet The Little-Known Network Pushing Ideas For Kochs, ALEC, November 14, 2013.
- CBS St. Louis, Show-Me Institute’s Ties Questioned in New Report, November 14, 2013.
- Talking Points Memo, Florida Conservative Group Helping Muck Up Obamacare In Alaska, November 14, 2013.
- Mint Press News, Reports Reveal SPN’s Secret Corporate Agenda Through Use ‘Expert’ Testimony, November 14, 2013.
- Media Matters, Shadowy Right-Wing Group Generates Media Coverage For Conservative Policy From Coast To Coast, November 14, 2013.
- The Institute for Southern Studies, Are conservative think tanks breaking lobbying laws?, November 14, 2013.
- Nonprofit Quarterly, Corporate Money in Network of Right-Wing State Policy Think Tanks, November 14, 2013.
- The Progressive, Right-Wing Think Tanks Push Privatization in the States, November 13, 2013.
- Politico, Report: Think tanks tied to Kochs, November 13, 2013.
- Lawrence Journal-World, Reports released by progressive groups are critical of Kansas Policy Institute, November 13, 2013.
- Maine Insights, Report: Maine Heritage Policy Center’s funding connection to Koch Brothers, November 13, 2013.
- The Florida Current, Liberal groups bemoan lobbying by conservative think tanks, November 13, 2013.
- The Oregonian, Cascade Policy Institute benefits from secretive donor group but says it operates independently, November 13, 2013.
- Center for Media and Democracy, EXPOSED: The State Policy Network, The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Arizona Working Families and CMD, A Reporter’s Guide to the Goldwater Institute: What Citizens, Policymakers, and Reporters Should Know, organizational report, updated November 13, 2013.
- Progress Florida and CMD, Lawmaking Under the Influence of Very Special Interests: Understand the role of Florida ‘think tanks’ in driving a Koch-fueled, ALEC-allied corporate agenda, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Maine's Majority Education Fund, Fooling Maine: How national conservative groups infiltrated Maine politics by founding and funding the Maine Heritage Policy Center, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Progress Michigan, Who's Running Michigan? The Far-Right Influence of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Alliance for a Better Minnesota, Who's in Charge: How Nationalized Corporate-Run Think Tanks Influence Minnesota Politics, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Progress Missouri, What Missourians Need to Know About the Show-Me Institute, organizational report, updated November 13, 2013.
- Granite State Progress, Bad Bartlett: The Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog Answer the Call of the Koch Brothers, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- ProgressOhio, Smoke Screen: The Buckeye Institute, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Keystone Progress, Think tanks or corporate lobbyist propaganda mills?, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Progress Texas, TPPF + ALEC, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- One Wisconsin Now, S is for Shill: Inside the Bradley Foundation's Attack on Public Education, organizational report, November 13, 2013.
- Muncie Voice, Pence and Right-Wing Are Taking Over Public Education, November 13, 2013.
- The Spokesman-Review, Shawn Vestal: Idaho Freedom Foundation pushes limits of word ‘charity’, November 2, 2013.
- AZ Central, When this ‘watchdog’ pitches, taxpayers strike out, October 12, 2013.
- IndyStar, Daniels says speech to partisan group was a mistake, October 10, 2013.
- Muncie Voice, Indiana Policy Review: Not an Independent News Source, October 2, 2013.
- The Spokesman-Review, Idaho Freedom Foundation's charitable status scrutinized, September 15, 2013.
- CounterSpin, Lee Fang on 'The Right Leans In', April 5, 2013.
- FireDogLake, State Policy Network, an umbrella coordinating ALEC, Heritage, Heartland and others, April 4, 2013.
- Thom Hartmann with Lee Fang on MSNBC, The conservative State Policy Network is sneaking into your state & will change America, March 29, 2013.
- Current TV "War Room", Lee Fang discussing the State Policy Network, March 28, 2013.
- The Nation, The Right Leans In, March 26, 2013.
- Democracy Now, Donors Trust: Little-Known Group Helps Wealthy Backers Fund Right-Wing Agenda in Secret, February 19, 2013.
- Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, Consider the Source, February 14, 2013.
- John R. Mashey, Fake science, fakexperts, funny finances, free of tax 2, DeSmog Blog report, updated October 23, 2012, p. 74.
- Urban Milwaukee, Stealth Conservatives, October 11, 2012.
- Rome News-Tribune, ANALYSIS: Georgia leaders depend on the same well for ideas, October 2012.
- Andy Kroll, The Right-Wing Network Behind the War on Unions, Mother Jones, April 25, 2011.
- Guidestar, State Policy Network, IRS filings and other organizational information about SPN.
- Center for Policy Alternatives, ALEC and the Extreme Right-Wing Agenda, organizational brochure about ALEC and SPN.
- John J. Miller, Fifty Flowers Bloom: Conservative think tanks — mini–Heritage Foundations — at the state level, National Review, November 19, 2007.
- Bridge Project, State Policy Network, online resource listing grants to SPN and SPN's connections to other groups.
- People for the American Way, State Policy Network, RightWingWatch.org, organizational resource.
- Greenpeace, Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group: State Policy Network (SPN), organizational resource.
- Official site
- HeraldNet, "State looks to you for traffic solutions"
- Ballotpedia, "Evergeen Freedom Foundation"
- ConservaBlogs, "Please Welcome the Evergreen Freedom Foundation to CB"
- Seattle Times, "Court rules against unions in fee case"
- Seattle Times, "Union fight reaches high court"
- The Wall Street Journal, "Unions' Policy Test"
- Education Week, "Supreme Court to Hear Case on Union Fees"
- Komo TV, "Evergreen Freedom Foundation Details Boeing 7E7 Agreement"
- Media Transparency, "Evergreen Freedom Foundation" background and funding.
- Freedom Foundation, Freedom Foundation, organizational website, accessed April 2013.
- American Legislative Exchange Council, Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, organization website, accessed May 28, 2011.
- American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC Board of Scholars, organizational website, accessed May 2011.
- American Legislative Exchange Council, "Solutions for the States," 38th Annual Meeting agenda, on file with CMD, August 3-6, 2011.
- American Legislative Exchange Council, Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, meeting agenda and materials, December 2, 2010, on file with CMD
- American Legislative Exchange Council, Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, meeting agenda and materials, April, 29, 2011, on file with CMD
- American Legislative Exchange Council, Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, meeting agenda and materials, August 4, 2011, on file with CMD
- American Legislative Exchange Council, "Public Safety and Elections Task Force Meeting," agenda and meeting materials, August 4, 2011, on file with CMD
- American Legislative Exchange Council, Public Safety and Elections Task Force meeting agenda and materials, October 27, 2010, on file with CMD
- American Legislative Exchange Council, Public Safety and Elections Task Force, meeting agenda and materials, August 4, 2011, on file with CMD.
- Franklin Center, Franklin Affiliates in Your State, organizational website, accessed October 2012.
- The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
- Rebekah Metzler, "Watchdog" website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
- Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
- Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 27, 2011.
- Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
- Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
- Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
- The Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation. Organizational website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
- Sam Adams Alliance. Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit. Organizational PDF. Accessed August 19, 2011.
- Media Matters Action Network. Sam Adams Alliance. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
- Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
- Media Matters Action Network. Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
- Andrew Garber, Court rules against unions in fee case, Seattle Times, June 15, 2007.
- David Postman, Election dispute attracts 5 who lost race,"The Seattle Times," February 14, 2005.
- Media Transparency, Recipient: Freedom Foundation, organizational website, accessed 2006.
- Freedom Foundation, 2011 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, September 7, 2012.
- Freedom Foundation, Staff, organizational website, accessed April 2013.
- Evergreen Freedom Foundation, 2011 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, September 7, 2012.
- Evergreen Freedom Foundation, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
- Evergreen Freedom Foundation, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.
|This article is a stub. You can help by expanding it.|