Local Hero Alek Skarlatos Flees the So-Called “Freedom” Foundation in Record Time
January 27, 2021
Update 1/29/21: Just one day after our article hit, the “Freedom” Foundation put up their own blog trying to set things straight about Alek Skarlatos. It looks like he will be joining their losing team, but not as a development associate as they originally posted. Now he is listed as National Development Director. We do appreciate “Freedom” Foundation staff reading our website and responding so quickly.
First and foremost, we would like to offer our condolences to Mr. Skarlatos for the scarlet letter he is about to place upon his political resume. There’s a reason you don’t see any other politicians bragging about their relationship to the “Freedom” Foundation, an organization that has yet to apologize, or even comment, on the recent actions of a lead employee.
State Rep. Mike Nearman, also a Senior Fellow at the failing foundation, aided a violent attack on Oregon State Police at the Oregon Capitol on December 21. The invaders brandished assault rifles while threatening state lawmakers and shooting bear mace at police officers. Caught on camera opening the door for rioters, Nearman is currently under criminal investigation and faces possible expulsion from the State Legislature.
This is your new colleague, Mr. Skarlatos. Your once bright future may get a little darker by palling around with people that abet assaults on our democratic institutions. Best of luck, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
During the first week of January, a new face appeared on the extremist “Freedom” Foundation’s website. Alek Skarlatos, an Oregon politician known for thwarting a 2015 terrorist attack on a French train, was now listed as Development Associate. For a moment there, it looked like the fringe-right group had landed a minor celebrity on staff. That after a year of dwelling in the muck of covid-denialism and attacking workers they could finally hold their head high, and say, “See? We matter!” But it was not to last. One week later, Skarlatos was nowhere to be found on the staff list.
We don’t know why he quit. We certainly doubt he was fired. What we do know is that between his start and end dates, his co-worker, State Representative Mike Nearman was exposed, and publicly shamed, for aiding rioters in a December assault on Oregon’s Capitol Building. The revelation came days after the nation watched in horror as the U.S. Capitol was invaded by Trump supporters. Oregonians recoiled in amplified disgust to know that Nearman had pulled a similar stunt locally.
Despite Nearman being under investigation by the Oregon State Police, the “Freedom” Foundation had gone silent in addressing their Senior Fellow’s conduct. In fact, Nearman’s name was attached to a recent op-ed penned by their staff arguing against pay raises for Oregon Capitol staff during the pandemic. Their business-as-usual obliviousness may have given Skarlatos a big decision to make.
As news of his co-worker’s misdeeds spread state-wide, then nationally, then even internationally, we can only surmise that Skarlatos was having second thoughts about the impact of listing “Freedom” Foundation on his resume. Skarlatos lost a congressional race in Oregon last year, and may run again. Trying to run for office while forever linked to Nearman, a man who betrayed fellow legislators, enabled the assault of police officers and sought to overturn President Biden’s election doesn’t sound promising to us, either.
In a bittersweet tribute to his brief stay, the nostalgic “Freedom” Foundation has left Skarlatos’ photo and bio on just the Author section of their website. Perhaps leaders of the group look at it wistfully, feeling Skarlatos was the one that could have been. A hero, a solid Republican politician and a guest on Dancing With the Stars. He could have given the marginalized group some of the affirmation they thirst for. But that’s over now. It’s time for the organization to get back to what it knows – mocking citizens who wear masks as “sheep,” pushing children back into schools before it’s safe and failing to tear down the middle class.