OLYMPIA (March 30, 2016) — Raising serious questions about the extremist Freedom Foundation’s compliance with state laws, 30 Washington State Senators and Representatives are asking Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the state Public Disclosure Commission, and Attorney General Bob Ferguson to take a closer look at the political activities of the so-called “charity.”
“It appears the Freedom Foundation has grown increasingly partisan and has directly intervened in political campaigns in violation of state rules,” says the letter signed by 30 legislators from Vancouver, Spokane, Olympia, Everett, Tacoma and more.
The legislators are asking officials to investigate whether the non-profit should be disqualified from WA tax exempt status, whether its political activities are in-kind contributions to candidates — such as for Lynda Wilson (17th-Vancouver) — and if the Freedom Foundation is violating state rules governing non-profits.
The Northwest Accountability Project, a watchdog group based in Washington, has uncovered evidence from Freedom Foundation leadership and staff that their mission is to defund labor unions in order to advance Republicans and conservative candidates, a clear violation of IRS and state rules for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organizations. Earlier this year, fire fighters, women’s health advocates, teachers, LGBT advocates and others called on Attorney General Bob Ferguson to launch an investigation into the Freedom Foundation’s tax-exempt status and compliance with state rules.
Ferguson responded that the Attorney General… “may investigate and file civil actions against entities that misrepresent the tax exempt status they have been granted under state or federal law. I hope you understand why I cannot discuss particular investigations this office might be pursuing or even whether we are considering an investigation on any given issue.”
He also encouraged sending the matter to the State Department of Revenue to ask that agency to examine the Freedom Foundation’s records to determine the group’s tax liability.
Groups in Oregon have filed a similar letter calling for an investigation with the Oregon State Attorney General.
The Northwest Accountability Project is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization dedicated to educating the public on the issues that enhance the well-being of middle-class families and workers while shining a light on extremism and the moneyed special interests that attempt to bring an agenda of hate and division to Washington and Oregon.