Moms for Liberty

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Moms for Liberty (M4L) is a right-wing 501(c)(4), nonprofit organization that self-reports a mission to "organize, educate and empower parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government". Moms for Liberty functions through local chapters across the United States, giving the appearance of a grassroots movement to what critics speculate is really an astroturf operation.[1] As of July 2022, M4L has over 95,000 members across over 200 chapters in over 40 states. A map on their website allows visitors to quickly locate their local chapter, and a button encourages them to start their own for those who aren't on the map. As to their strategies for their "fight" for parental rights, M4L lists:[2]

  • Holding leaders accountable
  • Spreading awareness
  • Opposing government overreach
  • Promoting liberty
  • Engaging on key issues
  • Activating to public service (running for elected positions)

The group, which was formed in January 2021, garnered support from large conservative media outlets, such as The Rush Limbaugh Show, Fox News and Steve Bannon's War Room, which quickly boosted the start-up but raised suspicion about the validity of the group's grassroots identity.[3]

M4L has also formed an alliance with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who attended their inaugural summit and was presented with "The Sword of Liberty" by the M4L co-founders. M4L is quick to support DeSantis' initiatives, and in return he has aligned himself with the operation.[4]

Key issues concerning M4L include combatting critical race theory, mask mandates and gender identity and sexuality education.

M4L also formed a SuperPAC called Moms for Liberty Action, as well as two other political action committees.[1]

News and Controversies

M4L Twitter Account Suspended over 'Hateful Conduct'

Commenting on the California "gender-affirming healthcare" bill, M4L posted a Tweet reading, "Gender dysphoria is a mental health disorder that is being normalized by predators across the USA. California kids are at extreme risk from predatory adults. Now they want to 'liberate' children all over the country. Does a double mastectomy on a preteen sound like progress?"[5] M4L co-founder Tina Descovich told Fox News, "We've appealed the tweet. We've decided that Twitter hates truth because gender dysphoria is a mental health issue that's plaguing our children across the country right now. It's something that needs to be discussed and addressed, and certainly it needs to be discussed in the town square of Twitter. But Twitter is against truth."[6]

First National Gathering Features Other Large Conservative Groups

M4L hosted a national conference in Tampa, Florida that featured groups including Turning Point USA, the Leadership Institute, and Heritage Action. NBC reports attendees logged in to Wi-Fi networks titled "We Beat School Boards" and "Don't Teach Gender ID" at the conference. M4L board member Jeff Childers addressed the audience saying, "Our adversaries, it's not just that they don't care about our children-- I believe they're actively trying to harm our children." Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Rick Scott also spoke at the event.[7]

Publix Heiress Is First to Donate to M4L PAC

Daughter of the Publix Super Markets founder Julie Fancelli donated $50,000 to the Moms for Liberty PAC. According to campaign finance records, hers was the first contribution. Fancelli was one of the largest financial supporters of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. M4L then sent 35 school board candidates across Florida $250 grants to campaign. Many of the candidates were endorsed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.[8]

Heritage Foundation Awards M4L Citizenship Award

The Heritage Foundation awarded its 2022 Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship to Moms for Liberty, with Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts saying in a statement, "Loving, hardworking parents make our country the greatest nation in the history of the world, yet the radical left is openly trying to undermine the presence and power of parents across our country...When conservatives stand together with parents, we will win the battles on the most fundamental issue-- the centrality of the family to human flourishing." The award, which is given annually by the Heritage Foundation, is given to an individual or organization "that embodies and advances the virtues of the American Founding", and Tucker Carlson, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson are some of the previous recipients.[9]

M4L Partners with Parents Defending Education

M4L, along with Parents Defending Education and 27 other organizations sent a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in opposition to Title IX changes and the inclusion of gender identity language into the regulations. In the letter, they contested "the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of 'gender identity'." They write, "Who is now male and female? Anyone can be anything they want-- an individual may simply 'identify' as one, or none, or one of an ever-expanding menu of 'gender identities' promoted by activists."[10]

Chapter Activity in the News

Lanoke County, Arkansas

Local chapter leader Melissa Bosch was prohibited form entering public school property with some exceptions after a statement she made at a M4L meeting. She was recorded saying about a Cabot School District Librarian, "I'm telling you, if I had any mental issues, they would all be plowed down by a freaking gun right now."[11]

Hillsborough, New Hampshire

Following New Hampshire's "Right to Freedom from Discrimination in Public Workplaces and Education" law, which prohibits the teaching of certain subjects involving racism and sexism, the Hillsborough, NH Moms for Liberty chapter posted an announcement offering $500 to the first person to successfully report a public school teacher for violating the new law.[12]

Williamson County, Tennessee

The local chapter argued for the removal of 31 books related to the school district's elementary level Language Arts curriculum, called "Wit & Wisdom". Some of these books involved Ruby Bridges and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with the chapter arguing these books were too "dark" and "disturbing" to be allowed in schools. While 30 of the books remained in the curriculum, Walk two Moons by Sharon Creech, a Newberry Award Winner, was recommended for removal.[13]

Funding

Funding information for Moms for Liberty is not currently available.

Core Financials

Financial information for Moms for Liberty is not currently available.

Personnel

Executive Board

As of August 2022:[2]

  • Tiffany Justice, Co-Founder
  • Tina Descovich, Co-Founder
  • Marie Rogerson, Executive Director of Program Development

Contact Information

Articles and Resources

Articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Maurice T. Cunningham, Just who is behind Moms for Liberty?, "Tampa Bay Times", July 9, 2022.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Moms for Liberty, About, "Moms for Liberty", accessed August 1, 2022.
  3. Olivia Little, How right-wing media launched Moms for Liberty, "Media Matters for America", July 28, 2022.
  4. Martha Osborn Vinick, Sunday's letters: DeSantis 'hero' to Moms, parents too controlling, Piney Point concerns, "Herald-Tribune", July 23, 2022.
  5. Caroline Downey, Moms for Liberty Locked out of Twitter after Criticizing California Gender-Transition Bill, "National Review", July 25, 2022.
  6. Joshua Q. Nelson, 'Moms for Liberty' on California gender transition bill: 'Biggest parental rights intrusion we've seen', "Fox News", July 29, 2022.
  7. Tyler Kingkade, Moms for Liberty's conservative activists are planning their next move: Taking over school boards, "NBC News", July 17, 2022.
  8. Andrew Atterbury, Publix heiress gives $50K to conservative education group Moms for Liberty PAC, "Politico", July 15, 2022.
  9. Heritage, Moms for Liberty Awarded Heritage's Salvatori Prize for Citizenship, "Heritage", June 2, 2022.
  10. Parents Defending Education et al, Letter to Secretary Miguel Cardona, "PDE", April 26, 2022.
  11. Debra Hale-Shelton, Moms for Liberty leader banned form school grounds over shooting comment files lawsuit, "Arkansas Times", July 25, 2022.
  12. Sarah Gibson, Offer of cash prize for allegations against N.H. teachers draws rebuke, "New Hampshire Public Radio", November 18, 2021.
  13. Jo Napolitano, After Losing High-Profile Book Battle, Conservative Moms for Liberty Turns to Critical Tennessee School Board Race, "The74Million", March 23, 2022.