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Evergreen Freedom Foundation

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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."[1] 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.[2] He is also on the ALEC Board of Scholars as of 2011.[3] In August 2011, he received ALEC's Private Sector Member of the Year Award.[4]

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.[5] At the 2011 Spring Task Force Summit, Mr. Williams presented "Broken Budgets in the States" and the "Unfunded Pension Liabilities Accounting Act."[6] His Freedom Foundation colleague, Amber Gunn, sponsored the "State Agency Lobbying Reform Act" at the same meeting.[6] At the 2011 ALEC annual meeting, Williams presented on "State Budget Solutions."[7]

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).[8] He gave a presentation on the Electoral College at ALEC's 2010 States and Nation Policy Summit.[9] 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.[10]

About ALEC
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.[11] The Franklin Center funds reporters in over 40 states.[12] Despite their non-partisan description, many of the websites funded by the Franklin Center have received criticism for their conservative bias.[13][14] On its website, the Franklin Center claims it "provides 10 percent of all daily reporting from state capitals nationwide."[15]

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).[16] Mother Jones called DonorsTrust "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement" in a February 2013 article.[17] Franklin received DonorTrust's second-largest donation in 2011.[16]

The Franklin Center also receives funding from the Wisconsin-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation,[18] a conservative grant-making organization.[19]

The Franklin Center was launched by the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance (SAM),[20] a 501(c)(3) devoted to pushing free-market ideals. SAM gets funding from the State Policy Network,[21] which is partially funded by The Claude R. Lambe Foundation.[22] Charles Koch, one of the billionaire brothers who co-own Koch Industries, sits on the board of this foundation.[23] SAM also receives funding from the Rodney Fund.

History

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.[24]

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.[25]

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.

Funding

The Freedom Foundation's funders have included:[26]

Personnel

Board of Directors

As of September 2012:[27]

  • 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

Staff

As of April 2013:[28]

Executive Leadership

  • 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

Former Staff

  • 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

Core Financials

2011[29]

  • Total Revenue: $2,148,032
  • Total Expenses: $2,908,106
  • Net Assets: $502,865

2010[30]:

  • Total Revenue: $2,680,800.00
  • Total Expenses: $2,676,198.00
  • Net Assets: $1,262,939.00

2009[31]:

  • Total Revenue: $2,338,192.00
  • Total Expenses: $2,686,930.00
  • Net Assets: $1,249,633.00

Contact Information

P.O. Box 552
Olympia, WA 98507
Telephone: 360-956-3482
Email: info@myfreedomfoundation.org
Fax: 360-352-1874
Website: http://www.effwa.org

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

Related PRWatch Articles

External Resources

References

  1. Freedom Foundation, Freedom Foundation, organizational website, accessed April 2013.
  2. American Legislative Exchange Council, Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, organization website, accessed May 28, 2011.
  3. American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC Board of Scholars, organizational website, accessed May 2011.
  4. American Legislative Exchange Council, "Solutions for the States," 38th Annual Meeting agenda, on file with CMD, August 3-6, 2011.
  5. American Legislative Exchange Council, Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, meeting agenda and materials, December 2, 2010, on file with CMD
  6. 6.0 6.1 American Legislative Exchange Council, Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, meeting agenda and materials, April, 29, 2011, on file with CMD
  7. American Legislative Exchange Council, Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, meeting agenda and materials, August 4, 2011, on file with CMD
  8. American Legislative Exchange Council, "Public Safety and Elections Task Force Meeting," agenda and meeting materials, August 4, 2011, on file with CMD
  9. American Legislative Exchange Council, Public Safety and Elections Task Force meeting agenda and materials, October 27, 2010, on file with CMD
  10. American Legislative Exchange Council, Public Safety and Elections Task Force, meeting agenda and materials, August 4, 2011, on file with CMD.
  11. Franklin Center, Franklin Affiliates in Your State, organizational website, accessed October 2012.
  12. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Think tank Journalism: The Future of Investigative Journalism, organizational website, accessed August 19, 2011.
  13. Rebekah Metzler, "Watchdog" website puts a new spin on politics, The Portland Press Herald, October 2, 2010.
  14. Allison Kilkenny, The Koch Spider Web, Truthout, accessed August 19, 2011.
  15. Sara Jerving, Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source, PRWatch.org, October 27, 2011.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Paul Abowd, Center for Public Integrity, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, organizational report, February 14, 2013.
  17. Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
  18. Daniel Bice, Franklin Center boss wants apology from Democratic staffer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2011.
  19. The Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation. Organizational website. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  20. Sam Adams Alliance. Sam Adams Alliance Media Kit. Organizational PDF. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  21. Media Matters Action Network. Sam Adams Alliance. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  22. Media Matters Action Network. State Policy Network. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  23. Media Matters Action Network. Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 19, 2011.
  24. Andrew Garber, Court rules against unions in fee case, Seattle Times, June 15, 2007.
  25. David Postman, Election dispute attracts 5 who lost race,"The Seattle Times," February 14, 2005.
  26. Media Transparency, Recipient: Freedom Foundation, organizational website, accessed 2006.
  27. Freedom Foundation, 2011 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, September 7, 2012.
  28. Freedom Foundation, Staff, organizational website, accessed April 2013.
  29. Evergreen Freedom Foundation, 2011 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, September 7, 2012.
  30. Evergreen Freedom Foundation, IRS form 990, 2010. GuideStar.
  31. Evergreen Freedom Foundation, IRS form 990, 2009. GuideStar.
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