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Why the Freedom Foundation Fell out of Love With ‘Transparency’

The anti-worker Freedom Foundation reached new heights of self-contradiction recently (already an incredibly high bar) in signing onto a letter opposing a government transparency bill. A closer look at their “change of heart” on transparency shows them scrambling to conceal their funders’ directives while waxing poetic about the virtues of transparency against unions. For anyone new to the Freedom Foundation, this hypocrisy may seem stunning. To the Northwest Accountability Project it’s just another day at the office tracking far-right extremist organizations.

When we last checked in on the Freedom Foundation (aka Opt Out Today) staff, they were extolling the virtues of ‘transparent’ bargaining sessions in Spokane County in a failed attempt to bust local unions. Now they’re protesting congressional bill H.R. 1, also called For the People Act 2019, which, among other things like protecting voting rights and gerrymandering reform, seeks to increase transparency in federal politics and strengthen ethics rules.

Freedom Foundation talking head Ashley Varner calls H.R. 1 “chilling” and “Orwellian.”It’s easy to see what spooked them, and why they’ve changed their tune about the concept of transparency. Under new regulations in H.R. 1, shadowy front groups like the Freedom Foundation may need to start disclosing their donors and more accurately label online advertising, pure Kryptonite to a group like theirs.

Largely funded by an out-of-state web of dark money billionaires, the Freedom Foundation would be forced to pull all the skeletons out of their closet. Increasing transparency would make public their links to the anti-climate science Koch Brothers’ DonorsTrust, the anti-worker Bradley Foundation and shared funding with bigoted hate-groups in the State Policy Network, just for starters.

Varner also complains that H.R. 1 would require the Freedom Foundation to more rigorously disclose their advertising to the public. Considering the Freedom Foundation has a long, sordid history of deception and violating the law, including fines from the Washington Attorney General for campaign finance violations, we can see why they tremble at the thought of increased transparency and accountability.

Congressional bill H.R. 1 was created to strengthen ethics rules in American politics while also increasing government transparency. And it has groups like the Freedom Foundation shaking in their boots. They were all in on transparency when they could use it as a weapon against unions, but now the tables have turned. By protesting this bill, and the transparency it would bring, the Freedom Foundation takes their duplicity to a new level, further demonstrating they care more about their billionaire funders’ mission than working families in the Northwest.  

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