Center for Media and Democracy Exposes the Right-Wing Billionaires Pulling the Freedom Foundation’s Strings
May 18, 2020
The desperate Freedom Foundation has failed to accomplish its goal along the West Coast of defunding labor unions and enacting an extreme, right-wing agenda. In fact, California just reported the largest increase in union members in 7 years and all three states on the West Coast have tripartite pro-union control in the Governor’s office and legislature. While the Freedom Foundation has already failed miserably, what they do seem to excel at is wasting money. A lot of money. In fact, they have spent more than $20 million of their donors’ money on this failed campaign over the last five years, and thanks to an article by David Armiak of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), we know more about the donors fueling their train wreck of a strategy.
A few common threads run through the donors of the failing union busters. They have hundreds of millions of dollars at their disposal, they prioritize corporate interests over workers’ rights, and their money is shuttled to the Northwest from far, far away. In addition, these donors have also funded other noxious causes like recriminalizing the LGBTQ community, anti-immigrant groups, and the so-called “godfather” of the modern-day white supremacy movement, Charles Murray. Here are a few of their largest donors:
- More than 2000 miles away from the Pacific Northwest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the Bradley Foundation They have a nearly $900 million dollar war chest and have sent $2.9 million to the Freedom Foundation according to CMD. Their goal: to “defund and dismantle labor unions as part of a national strategy to cripple progressive and Democratic causes while building a pro-Republican infrastructure in the states.”
- The Charles Koch Foundation, a familiar name in dark money circles and headquartered in Arlington, VA (more than 2800 miles away from the Pacific Northwest) has donated $275,000 to the Freedom Foundation. As Armiak reports, “Over the years, Koch has heavily invested in right-wing groups that have supported so-called right-to-work laws and demonized collective bargaining rights.”
- From Pittsburgh, PA (more than 2500 miles away from the Pacific Northwest), the $800 million Sarah Scaife Foundation sent the Freedom Foundation $350,000. In addition to exporting union-busting grants, this right-wing fund has also vigorously supported anti-immigrant groups like the Center for Immigration Studies and anti-Muslim hate group Center for Security Policy.
The anti-worker “Freedom” Foundation has spent more than $20 million trying and failing to destroy unions on the West Coast to help regressive, right-wing candidates win elections. They’re dancing to the fiddle of these funders from thousands of miles away, who just don’t understand how strongly the West Coast supports its workers and their unions. The Freedom Foundation may be keeping its staff checking accounts padded with donor money for now, but the truth is obvious – a failure is still a failure, even when it cost way too much.