WATCH: The “Freedom” Foundation’s Embarrassing Live VideoAugust 13, 2020
On Wednesday, the anti-student “Freedom” Foundation had to embarrassingly abort a Facebook Live performance just minutes after it started. It’s not surprising they had to abandon ship considering they were presenting an agenda that would endanger children across the state. Outrage exploded in the comment section as National Director Aaron Withe glibly suggested pushing kids back to school during a pandemic, suggesting COVID was no worse than the flu, and that “we can’t put people in bubble wrap.”
The dam broke when Withe said keeping kids out of schools during a pandemic was just a ploy to remove Trump from office in November. With his oblivious and partisan monologue complete, he finally looked down at the comments to answer questions — and he didn’t like what he saw: dozens of pro-worker, pro-student, and anti-Freedom Foundation responses in the comment section. We’ve pieced together all his stunned looks and bumbling response in this video:
In the comments, one person wrote, “I can’t believe that after attacking teachers, caregivers and home healthcare providers, you’ve decided to go directly after the kids themselves. Horrific on all levels.”
Another said: “How much death is acceptable to you?” And “Wow, you must be the last ones not taking this pandemic seriously? Over 5 million people have contracted the virus in our country and more than 160,000 have died.” There were dozens of more comments just like that.
A stunned Withe pulled the plug shortly thereafter. Their dangerous idiocy plays well in right-wing fundraising circles, but when they bring it to the general public it’s obvious how insulting and foolish they look. While the rest of us are working together to get through the pandemic safely, the extremist “Freedom” Foundation is making money exploiting it.
Aaron, we all have plenty of questions about where you get off endangering other people’s children, but none you cared to answer. Better luck next time.
The Washington Policy Center’s Extreme Right-Wing AgendaAugust 11, 2020
The Washington Policy Center is an extremist organization funded by out-of-state billionaires that want to advance a radical political agenda to privatize public education, keep wages low, and stop the expansion of healthcare to working families in Washington. They, along with the anti-worker Freedom Foundation, are a Washington State affiliate of the State Policy Network: a national network of extremist groups with ties to the Koch Brothers.
They do not disclose their donors but our research has uncovered some disturbing trends: they share funders with anti-LGBTQ organizations, anti-immigrant organizations, and white supremacists. For example one of their key funders, the Murdock Charitable Trust, also funds the largest anti-LGBTQ organization in the country, the Alliance Defending Freedom, who the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a hate group. Another funder is based in Pennsylvania and funds one of the nations leading anti-immigrant organization.
They often portray themselves as a legitimate think tank but in reality, they are driving a divisive, extremist agenda. They give the illusion to the public and the media that their regressive pet issues have much more support than they do.
We’ve developed a background document on their policy positions, leadership, and funders. View the document below or click here to download a PDF version.Washington Policy Center Background 2019
For more information on the Washington Policy Center, contact the Northwest Accountability Project at email@example.com.
The Failure of “Freedom” Foundation’s CEO Tom McCabeAugust 6, 2020
Washington state-based political operative Tom McCabe has a pattern. Time and again, he has forced the organizations he helms to take extreme, unwinnable positions and then finds a way to get the money flowing into his own pocket. Faced with the impossible, the organization inevitably runs off a cliff while McCabe laughs all the way to the bank. Piloting the so-called “Freedom” Foundation and their head-scratching fight against health measures that slow COVID-19 infection, he’s about to do it again.
McCabe first drew notice as Executive Vice President of the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), a home builders trade association. There, he supervised a profitable scheme that siphoned millions of dollars per year from association members into BIAW’s political coffers. McCabe used the money to wage losing battle after losing battle: most notably dumping over $7 million into Dino Rossi’s failed 2008 gubernatorial campaign and $1 million to unsuccessfully oust Supreme Court Justice Gerry Alexander. McCabe’s partisan crusade drew so many self-inflicted and expensive lawsuits that he eventually left the BIAW. But not before he coerced a $1.25 million buyout to smooth his exit.
A few years later, McCabe resurfaced as CEO of the Olympia-based “Freedom” Foundation with a pledge to “bankrupt the unions.” His promise fell perfectly in line with their largest donor, the far-right Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With a nearly $900 million warchest, Bradley is working to implement an extreme right-wing agenda across the country. One of their goals is to remove public sector unions and to help pro-corporate Republicans win elections.
McCabe’s group cashes over $6 million in checks each year from extremist donors like Bradley, who have yet to see any return on their investment. Unionization is surging in Washington and Oregon while Republicans are losing worse in the local polls than ever. Union popularity is on the rise because they’re fighting for workers on the front lines, especially during the pandemic crisis. The only real success story from the “Freedom” Foundation is for McCabe personally, who continues to enjoy his quarter of a million dollar annual salary plus benefits and has placed his friends of the family on payroll.
With his anti-union crusade a failure, McCabe has chosen a new profitable, dead-end fight: a war on public health. Common sense says there are simple and proven methods that we can all employ to slow down the COVID-19 pandemic — wearing a mask over our face and socially distancing. Even though our country has grimly surpassed 150,000 deaths from the virus, the “Freedom” Foundation is launching lawsuits to keep masks off and to gather huge groups of people together. McCabe has tied an organization, again, to the losing side but has found a way to make money doing it. And they aren’t hiding their fundraising drive — it’s right there front and center on the COVID section of their website.
There is a slice of the population that cannot seem to believe that masks actually work, or don’t feel that others’ health is important or that masks are a government mind control device. This fringe group is the new fundraising pool for Tom McCabe, he’s even set up a separate Facebook group to fleece them.
McCabe’s career formula is simple actually, and while it fails for his organizations, it’s quite successful for his pocketbook and his cronies. Pick an impossible task, find the most desperate partisans to give him money, and then make the ride last for years. He’s lost in the polls, he’s lost against organized labor and he’s about to lose again, this time against a killer virus. McCabe fashions himself the champion of the extremists in the margins, paid to fight battles that can’t be won. He seems to know all too well that unwinnable wars can go on indefinitely, which means more money is needed every year. His organizations keep losing but McCabe keeps getting paid.
The extremist “Freedom” Foundation has spent the last five years trying and failing to destroy unions. They have badgered state governments for the personal information of public workers like nurses, teachers, and firefighters, including their home addresses and dates of birth. They have no requirement to keep that information secure and have members on staff who have made racist, misogynistic, and homophobic comments. They have argued that public workers have no right to privacy, even in the age of rampant identity theft.