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Our Letter About the Freedom Foundation

If you’ve seen the Freedom Foundation’s name in the news, it’s important that you understand more about them, their backers and the lies they tell. The Freedom Foundation is funded by a who’s who of right-wing billionaires including the Kochs and the State Policy Network which has admitted their goal is to “defund and defang” unions in an effort to help elect right-wing candidates. They take money from extremist foundations that support anti-LGBTQ  and anti-immigrant organizations. What they’re not telling their funders or you, is that their campaign is failing. Since the Freedom Foundation launched in Oregon in 2015, unions have won big on issues that matter for working families at the bargaining table, in the legislature, and at the ballot box. In that timeframe, Democrats have gained seats in the legislature and have passed one of the most pro-worker legislative agendas in the country including increasing the minimum wage, paid sick leave for all and adding two billion dollars to our schools per biennium. State workers secured their biggest wage increase in a decade, grocery store workers beat the mega-corporation that runs Fred Meyer and University of Oregon workers won a great contract after approving a strike. Union members are much smarter than the Freedom Foundation thinks and aren’t falling for their anti-working families agenda. Our organization is committed to telling the truth about the Freedom Foundation, even if they won’t tell the truth about themselves.

They heard us loud and clear

With more people outside protesting than inside attending the Freedom Foundation’s Saturday night fundraiser featuring anti-LGBTQ bigot Mike Huckabee, we sent a clear message: hate has no home in Oregon!

Photo from protest outside of the Salem Convention Center. People hold protest banners and signs.

Thank you to everyone who joined us in Salem and thank you to everyone who emailed the Salem Convention Center to express your outrage over their willingness to give Mike Huckabee’s bigotry a platform. Together we made ourselves heard and ensured that the Freedom Foundation’s attempt to push their extreme agenda in our community did not go unchecked.

While the Freedom Foundation’s fundraiser was an undeniable flop, we cannot allow the Salem Convention Center’s complicity in this hateful event to be ignored.

The Convention Center has an obligation to be a safe and welcoming place for all people. Saturday’s event, which included guests lobbing homophobic slurs, was anything but that.

Email the Salem Convention Center today and share your disappointment at their willingness to give hate a platform.

Rally on Nov. 9: Mike Huckabee’s Brand of LGBTQ Bigotry is not Welcome in Oregon

Join us to tell the Salem Convention Center and the anti-worker Freedom Foundation that Huckabee’s hate has no place in Oregon! RSVP via the Facebook event above.

Flagrant homophobe Mike Huckabee is set to be the keynote speaker at a Nov. 9th closed-door fundraiser at the Salem Convention Center. The secretive event is being hosted by the extremist, anti-worker Freedom Foundation.

Huckabee stands at the forefront of the anti-LGBTQ movement and has a long record of sexist and racist comments, and ties to a prominent white supremacist group. The Salem Convention Center should not be giving Huckabee’s brand of bigotry a platform.


Below is a statement from the Northwest Accountability Project Executive Director Peter Starzynski in response to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s most recent lawsuit today against the Freedom Foundation for their failure to disclose expenditures on a ballot measure in Olympia, WA dating back to 2016:

“We applaud Attorney General Ferguson for filing this lawsuit stemming from a complaint originally brought to light by the Northwest Accountability Project in 2017. Tom McCabe and the Freedom Foundation have a long history of violating state and federal laws. Their multi-million dollar campaign trying to attack workers on behalf of right-wing politicians has been a complete failure, and we are seeing a desperate pattern on their part to cross the boundaries of what is legal in order to appease their out-of-state donors. We hope this most recent action by Attorney General Ferguson will result in holding Tom McCabe and the Freedom Foundation accountable for their actions and to protect working families in Washington from these attacks.”

Read the Attorney General’s full press release.

Salem Convention Center: Don’t Host Huckabee’s Hate

Only weeks after hosting Fox News host and white supremacist Laura Ingraham, the Freedom Foundation is set to welcome yet another Fox News personality to entertain their donors.

While it’s a challenge to sink lower than the Freedom Foundation’s former speakers, a veritable who’s who of extremists and people espousing racist views including right-wing legislator Matt Shea and convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza (who recently likened climate activist Greta Thunberg to models in Nazi propaganda), the latest to join the ranks is making a competitive bid for overall worst: flagrant homophobe and failed Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Huckabee is scheduled to speak at a November 9 banquet at the Salem Convention Center in Oregon.

Throughout his public career, Huckabee has stood at the forefront of the anti-LGBTQ movement. With his long record of climate change denial, sexist and racist comments, and ties to a prominent white supremacist group, Huckabee is right at home with the Freedom Foundation and their donors. 

Before making a profitable career for himself spewing hateful, divisive, and dangerous rhetoric on Fox News, Huckabee was the Governor of Arkansas and led two failed bids for the presidency. During his 2016 presidential campaign, Huckabee called for revisions to hate crime legislation to allow for discrimination against LGBTQ people and signed a pledge that described same-sex parents as “unconscionable and destructive” and a “threat to security.” Huckabee, who had previously likened the legalization of same-sex marriage to the legalization of drugs, incest, and polygamy, recently described LGBTQ equality as “the biggest threat” to America’s “moral fiber.” 

While working for Fox News, Huckabee referred to his female colleagues as “trashy” for using profanity he deemed unladylike, but his attacks on women don’t end there: Huckabee advocates for extreme anti-choice measures, including suggesting the use of military intervention to stop abortion, which Huckabee has compared to both slavery and the Holocaust

Prior to accepting the Freedom Foundation speaking gig, Huckabee spoke to a Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate group called the Council Of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist organization that was cited as an influence in the manifesto of the gunman responsible for the 2015 mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston. 

We could go on and on about Huckabee’s incessant tasteless and racist “jokes”, or about the time he claimed the criminal justice system could be improved by selling poor people convicted of crimes into slavery, but by now you get the picture: Mike Huckabee is a homophobe and a bigot.

The Freedom Foundation will continue to bolster up intolerant zealots like Huckabee because these are the people who embody their values and entice their donor base to shell out more money for them to waste on their failing anti-worker campaigns. But just because they’re willing to give people like Huckabee a platform to espouse their hateful rhetoric doesn’t mean our community businesses must be complicit. We’re calling on the Salem Convention Center to take a stand against Huckabee’s hate and to cancel his scheduled November 9 appearance. If they don’t shut it down, we’ll show up and exercise our right to protest.

Use our tool to email the Salem Convention Center’s General Manager Chrissie Bertsch and tell them that anti-LGBTQ bigotry has no home in Oregon.

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