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Anti-government groups take federal bailout

The Freedom Foundation and Washington Policy Center took millions in government money intended for small businesses. Sign a petition demanding they give it back.



OLYMPIA (July 9, 2020) — Anti-government, anti-union think tanks based in Washington state have reaped a windfall in taxpayer dollars from federal funds that were intended for small businesses dealing with the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These phony “free-market libertarian” groups — which oppose funding for our schools, oppose living wages for public employees, and oppose state support for low-income communities — couldn’t resist securing major public subsidies for themselves.

The Small Business Administration revealed this week that the billionaire-funded “Freedom” Foundation and Washington Policy Center took a whopping $700,000 to $2 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Groups funded by billionaires with the express purpose of cutting government programs shouldn’t have been allowed to siphon this aid from the real businesses it was designed to help. So now we need to demand that they pay it back!

TAKE A STAND — Please sign this petition from the Northwest Accountability Project demanding that the Freedom Foundation and the Washington Policy Center return the PPP money intended for struggling small businesses in Washington state. Their despicable actions are not just greedy, but the absolute height of hypocrisy as they have been trying to fight funding for underrepresented communities, working families, and schools.

The old adage “Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor” has never been more true than for these sham outfits. Wave a little cash in their face, and they’re willing to overlook their own supposed adoration of “limited government.” In fact, they’ve spent decades spending their wealthy benefactors’ largesse fighting against policies that allow our government to support working families. Raise the wages of public workers like educators, nurses, and social workers so public servants don’t have to work three jobs? They’ve fought that. Increase education funding? They’ve argued against that, too. Allow workers to retire with dignity? They especially hate this. But when government money will pad their own pockets, they sing a different tune.

But this mind-boggling, stomach-turning hypocrisy gets worse.

These extremist right-wingers took the COVID-19 bailouts while they were busy downplaying the pandemic and spreading unproven conspiracy theories about masks and the mortality rate of the deadly disease. Trafficking in the same anti-science drivel that led Florida and Texas to become America’s new COVID-19 hotspots, the Freedom Foundation has tasked its attorneys — who are now getting paid with our tax dollars — with futilely battling Washington state’s pandemic safety measures.

Meanwhile, the Washington Policy Center published an endless litany of articles trying to push people back to work, and into the crosshairs of the virus.

These self-serving groups pocketed up to $2 million of COVID-19 relief money while risking frontline workers’ lives with dangerously stupid messages.

The PPP money was meant for small businesses in a financial crisis that don’t have access to big loans or billionaire funders. This hardly describes the Freedom Foundation and Washington Policy Center, who each receive millions from some of the wealthiest right-wing foundations in the country. Meanwhile, some billionaires saw their net worth increase by 50 percent during the pandemic, with some estimates putting the profits of billionaires at more than $500 billion over this time span.

By draining the PPP funds that much faster, these regressive right-wing groups made sure more desperate Mom and Pop operations would come up empty-handed. If they’ve ever professed to care about small business owners, their actions here show how hollow those words are. Safely ensconced in their billionaire funding network, their board members, their leadership, and their staff care only for themselves during a once-in-a-century economic and health crisis.

“Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor.” It’s a philosophy that the failing Freedom Foundation and the Washington Policy Center can really get behind as government money lines their coffers. They should give the money back NOW so it can go to real small businesses that deserve and need it.

Peter Starzynski is Director of the Northwest Accountability Project, a watchdog organization that works to expose moneyed special interests that are trying to bring an anti-union agenda to Washington and Oregon. Learn more here.


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