Freedom Foundation tactics

The Freedom Foundation is bad news.

Freedom Foundation

It’s a libertarian think tank based in Olympia whose mission is “to advance individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited, accountable government.”

Recently, they’ve been mounting a sustained attack on unions, especially public sector unions, with attack lines like “Union bosses buying our politicians” and “union political machine.”

They also love attacking environmentalism.

They’re produced a series of videos Tales of Tyanny, with cherry-picked examples of government overreach. They ignore all the good things government does for us.

Apparently, people associated with the Freedom Foundation have been sending letters-to-the-editor to community newspapers across the state encouraging people to oppose funding for public education.    One of the communities targeted was Federal Way.  Some Federal Way residents took note of the letter and discovered that it originated in Bellevue.  As it says in  Bellevue-based opposition to Federal Way school levy is out of touch,

My query to King County revealed that you did not just file statements against Federal Way; indeed, you three Bellevue residents were very busy seeking to influence levy outcomes in local elections outside your own city and district.

To date, it appears that you have also filed nearly identical statements opposing the pending levies for school districts in Federal Way, Vashon Island, Riverview, Auburn, Tahoma, Lake Washington, North Shore and Fife. I do note that you did play one “home game,” and you are of course opposing your own levy in Bellevue.

If your opposition to our local levy is really just about furthering anti-big government, anti-tax, anti-union objectives, I’ll conclude with this point: I find it incredibly unfortunate that with your intrusion into our community and our local issues, you have become exactly what you purport to oppose – an unwanted and unneeded burden being forced upon us from outside the borders of our capable community.

According to,

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]

The Freedom Foundation’s funders include the Walton Family Foundation (Walmart), Richard M. Scaife, Roe Foundation (supporter of the Heritage Foundation), and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (“Harry Bradley was one of the original charter members of the far right-wing John Birch Society, along with another Birch Society board member, Fred Koch, the father of Koch Industries‘ billionaire brothers and owners, Charles and David Koch. — source).

Here are some letters the Freedom Foundation sent out to their email list:

“Internal chaos” … “disingenuous” … “compulsion” ….
Those terms got tossed around in a Senate hearing today as two big union bosses struggled to defend their income stream.
This is step one in changing our state: putting union bosses on defense as we expose their true interests and agenda. Will you contribute right now to keep union bosses squirming?
The bill up for a hearing-Senate Bill 6053-was recommended by the Freedom Foundation. It would increase protections for workers who don’t want to pay for union politics.
In a bizarre twist of language, Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington Labor Council, claimed increasing protection for workers’ civil rights might violate federal civil rights laws. And while Johnson called it “ironic” to talk about limiting union bosses’ power on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I think it was painfully ironic to hear Johnson and his cronies oppose modest protections for workers’ rights and paychecks.
The hearing video will be online soon, along with our analysis. You can reply to this email if you want those links once they’re available.
This is just the first of five Freedom Foundation-inspired bills moving through the State Senate right now. I’ll let you know what happens as the rest come up for hearings, but I think it’s going to be good.
If you want to level the political playing field in Washington State so conservative ideas can win … this is your fight and I hope you’ll support it right now.

Another email attack on unions:

Can you help us push back against the union political machine?

This is a critical moment in the legislature, and lawmakers need to hear from all of us if we want to see the state change.

Before Monday, please make a statement to lawmakers about each of these three bills:

SB 6183 ends secret bargaining between government officials and union bosses, letting the public see how bad decisions are made about government services, accountability and costs.

SB 6300 requires public employee union bosses to report how they spend the dues and fees they collect. Private sector unions already do this.

SB 6053 prohibits public employee unions from overcharging workers who don’t want to be members.

These measures are reasonable steps toward a more balanced political system.

The easiest way to contact your lawmaker is to click each bill number above. On each bill’s page, you will see a green button that says “Comment on this bill.”

After you provide your address, and be sure to click “Verify District.” You will then be able to select “I want a response” and send your comments to your two Representatives and Senator.

If you prefer to use the phone instead, you can call 1-800-562-6000 and mention all three of the bills.

Or you could email any or all Senators here.

These bills are poised to pass the Senate, but if they don’t pass by Tuesday they will be “dead” for the year. The union political machine is working hard to to kill them. They call these modest bills “Wisconsin-style attacks” and are urging tens of thousands of union members to oppose them all.

Feel free to forward this email and use other social media to enlist others to help.

For Freedom,

Jami Lund, Senior Policy Analyst

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