Frontiers of Freedom

 

Frontiers of Freedom is a think tank that advocates a free market, deregulatory approach to public policy.[37]   It operates six policy groups, including a Center for Economic Liberty and Property Rights which handles telecommunications policy.


Frontiers of Freedom does not disclose its financial backers, but the Wall Street Journal reported in 2001 that the organization's main contributors were corporations such as Philip Morris, ExxonMobil and RJ Reynolds Tobacco.[38]  At the time, Frontiers of Freedom lobbied heavily against environmental regulations designed to reduce global warming,[39]  and also railed against plaintiffs who sued the tobacco companies after contracting lung cancer from smoking.[40]


More recently, the Larstan Business Group accused Frontiers of Freedom of engaging in Astroturf lobbying on behalf of the telephone companies.[41]   Larstan's report, it should be noted, was commissioned by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association,[42]  the main trade association for the cable television industry.

 

The report points out that Frontiers of Freedom has flip-flopped from being a critic of the telephone industry, to being one of its champions.  According to Larstan, in 2004, Frontiers of Freedom lambasted "the Bell monopolies" for not "do[ing] any of the heavy-lifting normally associated with a free market,"[43]  and instead relying on government regulation to build their business.  But in 2005, the organization praised the merger of AT&T and SBC Communications[44]  - two of the telephone industries biggest players - and also endorsed[45]  the Bell-backed regulations designed to ease their entry into the cable television business.  Qwest Communications has alleged that Frontiers of Freedom accepts contributions from AT&T.[46]

 

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Footnotes:

 

[37] Frontiers of Freedom, "The Ten Tenents," at http://www.ff.org/about/tentenets.html (last visited 15 Mar 2006).  Back to report.

[38] "Fenton is Center Stage in Battle of Non-Profits," O'Dwyer's PR Services Report, Aug 2001.  Back to report.

[39] Greg Pierce, "Letter from the Right," The Washington Times, 11 June 2001.  Back to report.

[40] Jason Wright, "Somebody Get Me a Lawyer," New Pittsburgh Courier, 16 Nov 2002.  Back to report.

[41] Larstan Business Reports, "Records Indicate Bells Engaged in 'Astroturf' Lobbying," 2 Nov 2005.  Back to report.

[42] National Cable & Telecommunications Association, "Phone Companies and the Truth: A Bad Connection," 14 Mar 2006 at http://www.ncta.com/pdf_files/Bells_Misleading_ America.pdf (last visited 23 Mar 2006).  Back to report.

[43] Malcolm Wallop, "An Open Response to Adam Thierer" at http://ff.org/centers/celpr/press/22620041003.html (last visited 15 Mar 2006).  Back to report.

[44] Frontiers of Freedom, "Frontiers of Freedom Responds to Proposed AT&T/SBC Merger," at http://ff.org/centers/celpr/press/20320050712.html (last visited 15 Mar 2006).  Back to report.

[45] Frontiers of Freedom, "Frontiers of Freedom to Endorse Texas Legislation" at http://ff.org/centers/celpr/press/50420050223.html (last visited 15 Mar 2006).  Back to report.

[46] Mike Ceballos, "Qwest Has Commitment to Rural Towns," Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, 27 July 2005.  Back to report.