FreedomWorks

 

FreedomWorks is the result of a 2004 merger between Citizens for a Sound Economy (a conservative think tank with strong ties to major corporations like General Electric and General Motors) and Empower America (an organization that lobbied for tax reform, Social Security reform, etc.).[11]   FreedomWorks is headed by former House majority leader Dick Armey and claims to have 700,000 grassroots activists nationwide fighting for "less government, lower taxes and more freedom."[12]

 

Before the merger, Citizens for a Sound Economy boasted a long history of Astroturf lobbying.  Slate Magazine reported in 2003 that the majority of the organization's funding came from corporations or corporate-backed conservative foundations, and that the group was mostly an "extension of Armey's lobbying work [at Piper Rudnick, a D.C. law firm]."[13]

 

http://www.chooseyourcable.com/FW_Cable.pdfPost-merger, the Astroturf lobbying continues.  FreedomWorks has accepted corporate contributions from telephone giants Verizon and SBC (now AT&T).[14]   The group recently launched its "Choose Your Cable" campaign[15]  (see print ad, right), the goal of which is to eliminate local franchising agreements that are slowing down the telephone industry's entry into the cable television market.  FreedomWorks is lobbying against local franchising not only in Congress, but also in many state legislatures. 

 

FreedomWorks is also on the record supporting the telecommunications industry's position on network neutrality.[16]   Broadband Internet companies like Verizon and AT&T would like to create "tiers" or "lanes" on the information superhighway: Their own content and services would be delivered using the fast lane; companies like Google and Amazon would be charged high fees to travel in the middle lane; and the rest of the web would be relegated to the slow lane.  That would be dangerous for innovators, small businesses and nonprofits - but beneficial to the telecom and media companies who want to be able to sell their own movies, music and television shows while slowing down their subscribers if they surf over to a competitor's site. It would also radically change our experience of the Internet as our link to democratic discourse and our window onto the world of ideas, with no company blocking or making our access to any web site of our choice more difficult.

 

Net neutrality legislation would protect the open and democratic nature of the Internet, but FreedomWorks CEO Armey says it would impose "undue regulatory burdens"[17] on the companies who contribute to his organization.

 

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Footnotes:

 

[11] "Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and Empower America Merge to Form FreedomWorks," U.S. Newswire, 22 Jul 2004.  Back to report.

[12] FreedomWorks, "About FreedomWorks," at http://www.freedomworks.org/know/index.php (last visited 15 Mar 2006).  Back to report.
[13] Timothy Noah, "Dick Armey, Lobbyist," Slate, 8 Jan 2003.  Back to report.
[14] Drew Clark, "Video Issue Leads To Accusations of 'Front Groups'," National Journal's Technology Daily, 10 Nov 2005.  Back to report.

[15] FreedomWorks, “FreedomWorks Choose Your Cable Campaign Launches New Ads,” 15 Feb 2006, at http://www.freedomworks.org/newsroom/ press_template.php?press_id=1677 (last visited 15 Mar 2006).  Back to report.

[16] FreedomWorks, "FreedomWorks Launches Net Neutrality Banner Ads," 22 Mar 2006, at http://www.freedomworks.org/newsroom/ press_template.php?press_id=1744 (last visited 23 Mar 2006).  Back to report.

[17] FreedomWorks, "Internet Neutrality: A Solution in Search of a Problem," at http://www.freedomworks.org/newsroom/ press_template.php?press_id=1662 (last visited 15 Mar 2006).  Back to report.