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The nonprofit FreedomWorks was "one of the main political outfits of the conservative movement and an instrumental force within the tea party," according to Mother Jones.[1] FreedomWorks' board of directors voted to dissolve the organization on May 7, 2024. Freedomworks president Adam Brandon told Politico that "the decision to shut down was driven by the ideological upheaval of the Trump era."[2]

While FreedomWorks described itself as "a grassroots service center"[3], political scientist Theda Skocpol has described the group as one of the "big-money funders and free-market advocacy organizations" that "leapt on the bandwagon" of protests in 2009 to advance their existing political agendas.[4] FreedomWorks, registered as 501(c)4, has a sister organization registered as a 501(c)3, FreedomWorks Foundation.

FreedomWorks was an "associate member" of the State Policy Network, web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 50 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the United Kingdom.

FreedomWorks was created in July 2004 from the merger of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and Empower America.[5] FreedomWorks was headed by former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dick Armey until 2012, when he was replaced as President by Matt Kibbe.

Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch were co-founders of CSE in 1984, but are not active with FreedomWorks.

News and Controversies

New COO Exits Following PR Attack from "Dr. Evil"

In the wake of the disappointing 2022 election results for Republicans, FreedomWorks elected to lay off 40 percent of its staff and hired a new chief operating officer, Marty Irby. Irby's introduction to the organization came under attack almost immediately, and as of May 2023, no longer works for the organization. The COO "left the group this week after enduring a barrage of attacks from a website named FreedomWoke, which had been agitating for his dismissal by citing his record lobbying for the legislative arm of the Humane Society and his work on behalf of Animal Wellness Action. 'Why is FreedomWorks Going ‘Woke’?' the site read."

The firm behind the attack, Berman and Co, is a "public relations firm founded by the PR executive Richard Berman, whose work for corporate interests led him to be dubbed by his critics as “Dr. Evil.” Berman is no longer with the firm, but Berman and Co. confirmed its involvement." The group points out, “Donors and FreedomWorks staff deserved to know about Marty Irby’s record of supporting Big Government liberals...He should go pursue his animal rights agenda elsewhere.” [6]

FreedomWorks Employed January 6th Insurrectionist

In September 2021, the DOJ unsealed charges against an employee from FreedomWorks for "his alleged role in the January 6 insurrection." The employee, Brandon Prenzlin, was charged with four federal misdemeanors for being inside the Capitol for just over 3 minutes. In the DOJ report, "a confidential source identified Prenzlin from video shot inside the Capitol on January 6. Investigators matched the images to his social media posts, including a March video in which he identifies himself as a grassroots coordinator with FreedomWorks." As of September 2021, Prenzlin no longer works at FreedomWorks in the wake of these charges. [7]

Announced "National Election Protection Initiative" Chaired by Cleta Mitchell

In March 2021, FreedomWorks announced Cleta Mitchell would lead a project called the "National Election Protection Initiative", which will oppose H.R. 1, a voting rights bill, oppose other federal voting rights legislation, and focus on the swing-states Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.[8] Mitchell was an attorney who supported former President Donald Trump's claims of a "stolen election" and was present on the call where Trump demanded Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State, "find" enough votes to reverse the state's 2020 presidential election results.[8]

FreedomWorks Hosts So-Called "Election Protection" Trainings

In September 2020, FreedomWorks hosted an "Election Protection" training for activists to counter "mail-in ballot fraud".[9] Although President Donald Trump and conservative groups have repeatedly alleged that mail-in ballots will increase the danger of voter fraud, these claims have failed multiple fact checks.[10][11][12][13]

FreedomWorks Leads Effort to Reopen Economy Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

FreedomWorks is behind the right-wing effort to reopen the American economy, while the coronavirus pandemic continues.

FreedomWorks is "is organizing some of the protests, holding virtual town halls, and 'igniting an activist base of thousands of supporters across the nation to back up the effort.' The FreedomWorks website features a calendar of upcoming protests, and it is polling on the protests in swing districts, reportedly sharing the data with President Donald Trump’s economic task force," writes Alex Kotch for ExposedbyCMD.[14]

FreedomWorks is also working with the Council for National Policy, a coalition of far-right political advocacy and think tank figures that has worked largely behind the scenes since its founding in 1981 to promote protests and coordinate a coronavirus response strategy.[15]

FreedomWorks Memo on the Debt Limit

On August 25, 2017, POLITICO obtained an internal FreedomWorks memo which indicated that conservatives would not support federal debt limit increases without spending cuts attached. According to Nancy Cook of POLITICO, "In an internal FreedomWorks memo obtained by POLITICO, the group’s vice president of legislative affairs, Jason Pye, warned Republicans that conservatives will not support a “clean” debt limit increase — that is, one without any spending cuts attached. That’s a policy move that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has pushed recently in an effort to dampen any potential Republican-on-Republican warring over government spending." [16]

Dick Armey's Resignation

Dick Armey resigned as chair of FreedomWorks on November 30, 2012, sending his resignation to their CEO and President Matt Kibbe. Armey stated this was "effective immediately." Mother Jones reported his departure December 3, 2012, which was not made public by FreedomWorks.[1]

"The top management team of FreedomWorks was taking a direction I thought was unproductive, and I thought it was time to move on with my life," Armey told Mother Jones. "Obviously I was not happy with the election results," he says. "We might've gotten better results if we had gone in a different direction. But it isn't that I got my nose out of line because we should've done better." Asked if his disagreements were ideological or tactical, he replied, "They were matters of principle. It's how you do business as opposed to what you do. But I don't want to be the guy to create problems."[1]

As part of his resignation, Armey received $8 million in "consulting fees" from the group, paid in annual $400,000 installments.[17]

2012 Controversies Over FreedomWorks Leadership

On September 4, 2012, the day after Labor Day, Dick Armey and his wife, Susan, entered FreedomWorks's Capitol Hill offices accompanied by an unidentified man with a handgun holstered at his waist. The gun-toting man took FreedomWorks's top two employees from the office, as the Armeys informed sobbing employees they'd be losing their jobs.[18] Matt Kibbe, FreedomWorks's president, and Adam Brandon, its senior vice president, were removed from the premises by the armed man, two weeks after a gunman shot up the offices of the conservative Family Research Council, also in Washington, D.C.[19] One junior staffer, speaking anonymously, said “So when a man with a gun who didn’t identify himself to me or other people on staff, and a woman I’d never seen before said there was an announcement, my first gut was, ‘Is FreedomWorks in danger?’ It was bizarre.’ ”

A book, Hostile Takeover, had recently been published under president Matt Kibbe's name, though FreedomWorks staff contributed to its research, writing, and promotion.[20] Some of Armey's umbrage stemmed from Kibbe solely collecting royalties, which could jeopardize FreedomWorks's nonprofit status. Armey was threatening to sue Kibbe over the book deal. Armey was also frustrated with Kibbe and Brandon monopolizing media appearances while continuing to trade on Armey's name to market the group. Further complicating matters was Armey, as an old guard of the Republican Party, wanting to work with current GOP leaders. Younger members of FreedomWorks found that abhorrent, and indeed would soon denounce House Speaker John Boehner's proposed "fiscal cliff" compromise while Kibbe accused him of representing “the failed political establishment” and “purging House committees of fiscal conservatives.”[21] On December 19, 2012, FreedomWorks's blog celebrated Boehner's "Plan B" proposal.[22] The following day, in the same post titled "Two Cheers for Boehner's Plan B," they grimly note, “When folks in Washington thought FreedomWorks was for the bill, they assumed it would pass. When FreedomWorks came out against the bill, it failed. . . . After review of the Boehner Plan B legislation, pending in the House today, FreedomWorks has found it must oppose the legislation, and will be urging House members to vote NO on the bill. We will post our formal opposition letter on our site, soon.”[23]

There were many more intra-FreedomWorks disputes.[24] When Rep. John Mica, the Republican chair of the House transportation and infrastructure committee, was challenged by tea party freshman Rep. Sandy Adams in Florida in another primary race caused by redistricting, Kibbe wrote, Burnley, a transportation lobbyist, called Kibbe and "made it very clear…that he had a dog in this race." And on June 16, when FreedomWorks announced its "Retire Hatch" campaign against Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), C. Boyden Gray endorsed Hatch. A month later, Gray held a fundraiser for Wisconsin senatorial candidate Tommy Thompson—two days before FreedomWorks endorsed tea party favorite Eric Hovde, who was challenging Thompson in the GOP primary.

On December 12, James Burnley IV, a board member, and Gray sent Kibbe a letter informing him that they had received "allegations of wrongdoing by the organization or its employees."[25]They notified Kibbe that the group's board of trustees had retained two attorneys, Alfred Regnery and David Martin, to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations. Burnley and Gray ordered Kibbe to cooperate with the lawyers, to make sure no records were "destroyed, deleted, modified or otherwise tampered with," and to send Regnery a check for $25,000 to cover his initial fees. (Regnery, a prominent conservative, is the past president of Regnery Publishing, a right-wing firm that has put out books by Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Pat Buchanan, and other notable conservatives.) The letter did not specify the allegations being investigated.

Shortly after receiving the December 12 letter, Kibbe wrote a memo outlining his beef with Armey, Burnley, and Gray. In the document—titled "Republican Insiders Attempt Hostile Takeover of FreedomWorks"—Kibbe accused the three of being shills for the Republican establishment and undercutting the group's standing as an independent, non-partisan, conservative organization.[26] (FreedomWorks has at times endorsed tea party candidates in primary elections against mainstream or incumbent Republicans, drawing the ire of mainline Republicans.) Kibbe charged that the three men were trying to punish him for defying their effort to steer FreedomWorks into the conventional Republican fold. He contended that the divisive fight within FreedomWorks was not really about his book contract or other organizational matters; it was a grand ideological clash pitting those fully loyal to the tea party cause (such as Kibbe) against backroom, Washington-centric pols attempting to wield their influence to benefit their pals. Of Kibbe's memo, Armey says "One of the most fascinating art forms in Washington is that of the perpetrator as victim. Matt Kibbe seems to have maintained it with this memorandum."[27]

Six days after walking in with an anonymous armed man to force key members out of FreedomWorks, Dick Armey agreed to an $8 million buyout. It was leveraged by board director Richard Stephenson, and all five targeted employees were back with FreedomWorks within that week. Stephenson is a 73-year-old millionaire residing in Illinois, founder of the for-profit Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and a longtime player in conservative activism.

The Washington Post notes the episode illustrates the growing role of wealthy donors in swaying the direction of FreedomWorks and other political groups, which increasingly rely on unlimited contributions from corporations and financiers for their financial livelihood. Such gifts are often sent through corporate shells or nonprofit groups that do not have to disclose their donors, making it impossible for the public to know who is funding them.

In the weeks before the election, more than $12 million in donations was funneled through two Tennessee corporations to the FreedomWorks super PAC after negotiations with Stephenson over a preelection gift of the same size, according to three current and former employees with knowledge of the arrangement. The origin of the money has not previously been reported.

The $12 million came from two corporations set up in Knoxville, Tennesse within one day of each other, Specialty Investments Group and Kingston Pike Development.[28] Both were established by William S. Rose III, a bankruptcy lawyer in Knoxville. Rose has refused to answer questions about the donations. Three current and former FreedomWorks employees say the money came from Richard Stephenson and his family.

Growing Membership through Insurance Sales

In 2006, the Washington Post revealed that from 2001 - 2006 CSE/FreedomWorks engaged in a hidden deal with insurance brokers whereby the brokers would sell high-deductible insurance policies and tax-free medical savings plans to individuals at a group discount, and those who purchased the plans would automatically be added FreedomWorks membership list. Customers unaware of the membership arrangement, for which they were charged extra fees. Membership was a condition of getting the discounted insurance plan. The arrangement was credited with helping increase the number of "members" FreedomWorks could claim belonged to the organization. About 16,000 people "joined" the organization in this manner, causing $638,040 to flow into FreedomWorks's coffers over 5 1/2 years in the form of monthly checks for "association fees" collected by the Medical Savings Insurance Company, that were forwarded to FreedomWorks.[29]


FreedomWorks has mobilized opposition to health care reform, taxes, union labor, "common core" education policies, network neutrality, and climate legislation. Since 2009, FreedomWorks has been involved in the Tea Party movement. Mother Jones writes that "FreedomWorks, under Armey's leadership, was a key player in the rise of the tea party in 2010. The organization helped elect tea party favorites" and works as a "connector between tea party groups around the country, organizing protests against Obamacare and expanding the ranks of the conservative movement."[1]

Parental Rights in Education Guidebook

In another round of attacks on teachers and schools, FreedomWorks has authored a guidebook on how a parent can best exert their rights over a classroom. The guidebook serves as a tool for parents to show which candidates and organizations support FreedomWork's right-wing agenda going so far as to create a hub for this information on their parents know best website.[30]

2014 Midterm Elections

According to Rollcall, which interviewed FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe in June 2014, the group's "involvement in campaigns is centered on providing activists with the training and resources to mount a successful ground game."[31] Below are some of the major races in which FreedomWorks has been active in the 2014 election cycle.

Eric Cantor's Loss and the Vote for House Majority Leader
Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost to Eric Brat in the Republican primary for Virginia's 7th District on June 10, 2014.[32] Brat was backed by Tea Party activists, but had little support from outside groups such as FreedomWorks.[33] After Cantor lost, he announced that he would step down as House Majority Leader, prompting a June 19 vote for a new Majority Leader. Ahead of the vote, FreedomWorks supported Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID) against the presumed front-runner, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).[34] The Washington Post described FreedomWorks as "one of the few outfits agitating for an alternative to McCarthy" when it "released a statement Friday morning [June 13] urging Labrador to announce a run."[35]

In Kentucky's Republican Senate primary, FreedomWorks backed Matt Bevin against incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader. FreedomWorks hosted a national conference for Tea Party groups in early April 2014, during which speakers including Matt Kibbe and Glenn Beck attacked McConnell.[36] FreedomWorks reported spending over $300,000 in the race,[37] part of over $1 million in spending by outside tea party groups. Bevin lost the primary, winning only 35.7% of the vote to McConnell's 60%.[38]

In the Mississippi Republican Senate primary, FreedomWorks supported state Sen. Chris McDaniel against incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran, spending around $419,000 as of June 18, 2014.[37] According to Kibbe, the group's support included "printing door hangers and yard signs and other literature their members can hand out when canvassing" as well as spending on social media.[31] Outside groups including FreedomWorks and the Chamber of Commerce had spent over $8.4 million on the race by early June. The June 3 primary ended with McDaniel slightly ahead but short of a majority, prompting a June 24 runoff vote. According to the Associated Press, FreedomWorks planned to spend an additional $350,000 in the runoff.[39]

North Carolina
FreedomWorks backed Dr. Greg Brannon against Thom Tillis in the North Carolina Republican Senate primary, spending $117,040.[37] After Brannon's loss, Kibbe said in an interview that Freedomworks was considering supporting Tillis against Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan by running "an "anti-Kay Hagan" campaign."[31] As of June 18, 2014, Freedomworks had already spent $44,776 campaigning against Hagan.[37]

Anti-Union Work (2011-2013)

In January of 2013, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe announced a new "Save the States" campaign. Four out of five issues in the campaign are tied to weakening unions, either directly or indirectly.[40]

In December of 2012, FreedomWorks announced "an aggressive grassroots, state-based campaign" for 2013 to "push back against domineering unions."[40] After the 2012 presidential election, FreedomWorks promoted a petition to "support Michigan Governor Rick Snyder" in his anti-union push[41], published multiple blogs attacking unions[42][43][44] , and released a study purporting to show the benefits of "paycheck protection" legislation to defund unions in Pennsylvania.[45]

FreedomWorks was also involved in an anti-union campaign in Ohio in 2011, supporting Republican Gov. John Kasich's "union-busting Senate Bill 5" with "tens of thousands of door hangers and yard signs" as well as a website.[46]

Organizing "grassroots" Tea Parties (2009)

FreedomWorks was one of the lobbying groups involved in orchestrating the April 15, 2009 anti-Obama, anti-tax "tea parties". In February 2009, the FreedomWorks website said the group was "now working with other groups to plan a massive, nationwide tea party protest day for Tax Day on April 15th, 2009"[47], the Tax Day Tea Party protests.

In summer of 2009, FreedomWorks began pursuing an aggressive strategy to create the appearance of mass public opposition to health care and clean energy reform at Congressmembers' town-hall meetings in their districts. A leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website "Tea Party Patriots," describes how members should infiltrate town hall meetings and harass and intimidate Democratic members of Congress:

"Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up ... You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep's presentation. Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep's statements early. If he blames Bush for something or offers other excuses -- call him on it, yell back and have someone else follow-up with a shout-out ... The goal is to rattle him ..." [48]

At the time, The New York Times reported on accusations by Democrats that such town hall opposition was "part of a coordinated effort to scuttle the White House political agenda rather than a true representation of public opinion," and noted that FreedomWorks had "repeatedly been in the center of the controversy at town halls."[49]

For example, in August 2009, FreedomWorks supported the American Petroleum Institute's "Energy Citizens" rallies to oppose the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill, held in about 20 states. Other backers included the National Association of Manufacturers, American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform and Council for Citizens Against Government Waste.[49]

"Grassroots" Anti-Bailout Website (2008)

In 2008, FreedomWorks was behind the creation of a fake grassroots web site called which rallied opposition to "the Obama Housing Bailout"; the site claimed to represent "Renters and responsible homeowners against a government mortgage bailout", and urged people to oppose bailing out mortgage companies. Michael M. Phillips of the Wall Street Journal investigated and reported[50]:

" looks a bit like a digital ransom note, with irregular fonts, exclamation points and big red arrows -- all emphasizing prudent renters' outrage over a proposed government bailout for irresponsible homeowners.

"It seems like America's renters may NEVER be able to afford a home," laments. The Web site urges like-minded tenants to let Congress feel their fury by signing an online petition. "We are millions of renters standing up for our rights!"

Angry they may be, but the people behind are certainly not renters. Though it purports to be a spontaneous uprising, is actually a product of an inside-the-Beltway conservative advocacy organization led by Dick Armey, the former House majority leader, and publishing magnate Steve Forbes, a fellow Republican. It's a fake grass-roots effort -- what politicos call an AstroTurf campaign -- that provides a window into the sleight-of-hand ways of Washington."

Ties to the Koch Brothers

The founders of FreedomWorks' predecessor organization, Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), included Charles Koch, David Koch, and close Koch associate Richard Fink.[51] According to the New Yorker:

"The Koch brothers, after helping to create Cato and Mercatus, concluded that think tanks alone were not enough to effect change. They needed a mechanism to deliver those ideas to the street, and to attract the public’s support. In 1984, David Koch and Richard Fink created yet another organization, and Kibbe joined them. The group, Citizens for a Sound Economy, seemed like a grassroots movement, but according to the Center for Public Integrity it was sponsored principally by the Kochs, who provided $7.9 million between 1986 and 1993. Its mission, Kibbe said, “was to take these heavy ideas and translate them for mass America.""[51]

CSE received millions of dollars in funding from organizations with close ties to the Koch brothers, including Koch Industries, the Koch family foundations, and DonorsTrust and the Donors Capital Fund.

Koch Wiki

Charles Koch is the right-wing billionaire owner of Koch Industries. As one of the richest people in the world, he is a key funder of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on Charles Koch and his late brother David include: Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, Stand Together, Koch Family Foundations, Koch Universities, and I360.

Ties to the Bradley Foundation

FreedomWorks has received close to a million dollars in funding from Bradley. (See below.)

Bradley Files

In 2017, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of SourceWatch, launched a series of articles on the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, exposing the inner-workings of one of America's largest right-wing foundations. 56,000 previously undisclosed documents laid bare the Bradley Foundation's highly politicized agenda. CMD detailed Bradley's efforts to map and measure right wing infrastructure nationwide, including by dismantling and defunding unions to impact state elections; bankrolling discredited spin doctor Richard Berman and his many front groups; and more.

Find the series here at

Ties to the Council for National Policy

Freedomworks president Adam Brandon is member of the Council for National Policy (CNP) and serves on the CNP Action Board of Directors.

Council for National Policy

The Council for National Policy (CNP) is a secretive, Christian Right organization of funders and activists founded in 1981 by activist Morton Blackwell, commentator Paul Weyrich, direct-mail pioneer Richard Viguerie, right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly and Left Behind author Tim LaHaye. Anne Nelson's book about CNP, Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right, describes how the organization connects "the manpower and media of the Christian right with the finances of Western plutocrats and the strategy of right-wing Republican political operatives.”

CNP membership as of September 2020 is available here.

Ties to Tobacco

Connections between the tobacco industry, third-party allies and the Tea Party, from the 1980's (top) through 2012 (bottom). The thick black line connects CSE with its direct successor organisations(Source:Tobacco Control[52])

According to the U.K. Guardian, FreedomWorks has received funding from the tobacco conglomerate Philip Morris. The Guardian also reports that local branches of FreedomWorks's sister organization Americans for Prosperity have also received tobacco money and opposes smoke-free workplace laws and cigarette taxes.[53] Freedomworks also opposes tobacco taxes.[54]

Tobacco Industry and the Tea Party

According to a study published February 8, 2013 in the journal Tobacco Control, "Rather than being a purely grassroots movement that spontaneously developed in 2009, the Tea Party has developed over time, in part through decades of work by the tobacco industry and other corporate interests."[52] Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, both of whom have worked to oppose smoke-free laws across the United States since at least 2006, were major players in this effort, with help from the PR firm, DCI Group.[52]



In July 2004, FreedomWorks was created from the merger of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and Empower America.[5] (Although the FreedomWorks's website stated until late 2007 that it was founded in 1984[55], it was CSE that was founded at that time.)

According to the New Yorker, CSE had split due to "internal rivalries," with founders David Koch and Richard Fink leaving to found Americans for Prosperity.[51]

In late July 2004, the initial FreedomWorks media release stated that "three of the most respected and accomplished leaders of the conservative, free-market movement" -- former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dick Armey, former White House Counsel and conservative luminary C. Boyden Gray, and Jack Kemp -- "will serve as the Co-Chairmen of FreedomWorks. Bill Bennett will focus on school choice as a Senior Fellow. Matt Kibbe is FreedomWorks’ new President and CEO."[5]

In this initial statement, FreedomWorks outlined that its initial plan was to "run major voter education campaigns and Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV) efforts in key races" in the 2004 Congressional elections. Kibbe stated that the role of FreedomWorks was to be a "powerful answer to the challenge presented by the Left and groups like America Coming Together (ACT),, and the Media Fund."[5]

The statement said that FreedomWorks:

"...boasts over 360,000 members and a legal structure that includes a 501(c)(3), a 501(c)(4), a 527, a federal PAC, and various state PACs. FreedomWorks is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with full-time campaign staff on the ground in the battleground states of Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. The new organization also houses a sophisticated conservative political database containing over 600,000 activist names in all 50 states."[5]

Ties of Founding Officers

Prior to 2004, when Citizens for a Sound Economy split into FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, Dick Armey was CEO/President and Tom Posey was Treasurer, with David H. Koch and C. Boyden Gray sharing seats at the the Board of Directors. It is not clear whether CSE's Tom Posey is the same Thomas Posey who was deeply involved in the Iran-Contra scandal.[56] Gray was heir to the American Tobacco Company fortune.


FreedomWorks is not required to disclose its donors. However, documents filed by donor organizations show that conservative foundations, trusts, and individuals, some with close ties to the Koch brothers, have donated large sums to FreedomWorks. These funders include the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, FreedomWorks "received nearly 60 percent of its $15 million in revenues from just four donors in 2012" who "gave between $1 million and $5 million each."[57] According to documents leaked to Mother Jones, in 2012,

"Eight donors gave a half-million dollars or more; 22 donated between $100,000 and $499,999; 17 cut checks between $50,000 and $99,999; and 95 gave between $10,000 and $49,999. Foundations contributed $1.6 million in major gifts, and corporations donated $330,000."[58]

According to the Washington Post, FreedomWorks board member Richard Stephenson arranged for around $12 million in donations to be funneled to FreedomWorks in 2012, and Stephenson reportedly promised to donate $400,000 per year for the following 20 years.[59]

Here is a partial list of major donors to the FreedomWorks Foundation:

  • Adolph Coors Foundation: $160,000 (2015-2022)
  • Albert & Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation: $10,000 (2020-2021)
  • American Endowment Foundation: $8,250 (2022)
  • American Petroleum Institute: $75,000 (2008)
  • Andrea Waitt Carlton Family Foundation: $235,000 (2019-2022)
  • Aqua Foundation: $1,000 (2016)
  • Armstrong Foundation: $110,000 (2015-2022)
  • B and E Collins Foundation: $10,000
  • Bailey Family Foundation Inc: $18,400 (2011-2021)
  • Baltimore Community Foundation Inc: $10,000 (2019)
  • Barnabas Foundation: $5,000 (2011)
  • Beach Foundation: $10,000 (2022)
  • Bradley Impact Fund: $12,500 (2019)
  • Bsl Foundation: $22,500 (2018-2019)
  • Charles F De Ganahl Family Foundation: $12,000 (2019-2022)
  • Chase Foundation Of Virginia: $160,000 (2014-2022)
  • Coalition For Public Safety: $975,000 (2015-2020)
  • Community Foundation Of Jackson Hole: $104,500 (2019-2022)
  • Dhein Foundation: $45,500 (2016-2018)
  • Diana Davis Spencer Foundation: $635,000 (2014-2020)
  • Distilled Spirits Council Of The United States Inc: $67,500 (2020-2021)
  • Donorstrust: $3,498,894 (2006-2019)
  • Donors Capital Fund: $667,000 (2008-2016)
  • Dunn's Foundation For The Advancement Of Right Thinking: $820,000 (2014-2022)
  • Edward A. & Catherine L. Lozick Foundation: $1,000 (2014)
  • Farrell Family Foundation: $17,000 (2021-2022)
  • Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund: $1,334,222 (2017-2021)
  • Foundation For Individual Liberty: $125,000 (2019-2022)
  • Gailliot Family Foundation: $3,000 (2013-2015)
  • George T And Joan M Beck Foundation Inc: $2,000 (2013-2014)
  • Gogo Foundation: $228,500 (2019-2022)
  • JLM Foundation: $20,000 (2022)
  • Jm Foundation: $105,000 (2011-2014, 2020)
  • Jewish Communal Fund: $92,550 (2010-2015)
  • John Templeton Foundation: $1,058,177 (2013-2016)
  • Karpus Family Foundation: $20,000 (2022)
  • Leandro P Rizzuto Foundation: $60,000 (2018-2020)
  • Lynde And Harry Bradley Foundation: $1,810,000 (2007-2019)
  • National Philanthropic Trust: $111,500 (2018-2022)
  • Natl Christian Charitable Fdn Inc: $141,250
  • Neal and Marlene Goldman Foundation: $10,000
  • Norcliffe Foundation: $20,000 (2022)
  • Randolph Foundation: $10,000 (2017)
  • Richard And Helen Devos Foundation: $600,000 (2009-2011)
  • Sarah Scaife Foundation: $1,232,500 (2012-2017, 2022)
  • Searle Freedom Trust: $525,000 (2010-2022)
  • Servant Foundation: $100,000 (2022)
  • Usatransform: $8,000 (2022)
  • Vanguard Charitable Endowment Foundation: $342,500 (2022)
  • William H Donner Foundation: $10,000 (2022)

Core Financials



  • Total Revenue: $5,081,113
  • Total Expenses: $6,388,308
  • Net Assets: $-1,956,260


  • Total Revenue: $5,603,757
  • Total Expenses: $7,711,934
  • Net Assets: $45,492


  • Total Revenue: $6,828,782
  • Total Expenses: $6,144,356
  • Net Assets: $2,153,060

Grants Distributed


  • Total Revenue: $10,404,099
  • Total Expenses: $8,654,078
  • Net Assets: $1,467,870


  • Total Revenue: $4,325,113
  • Total Expenses: $3,702,741
  • Net Assets: $-283,383


  • Total Revenue: $4,290,940
  • Total Expenses: $3,273,535
  • Net Assets: $-905,175


  • Total Revenue: $6,181,393
  • Total Expenses: $7,937,214
  • Net Assets: $-1,923,559


  • Total Revenue: $5,688,836
  • Total Expenses: $9,027,929
  • Net Assets: $-296,341


  • Total Revenue: $6,934,433
  • Total Expenses: $8,037,765
  • Net Assets: $3,042,752


  • Total Revenue: $9,660,597
  • Total Expenses: $10,884,146
  • Net Assets: $4,146,084


  • Total Revenue: $15,060,009
  • Total Expenses: $15,591,972
  • Net Assets: $5,369,633

Grants Distributed

  • Indiana Right to Life: $30,000


  • Total Revenue: $10,045,782
  • Total Expenses: $7,663,598
  • Net Assets: $5,901,596

Grants Distributed

  • FreedomWorks for America: $900,000


  • Total Revenue: $9,250,240
  • Total Expenses: $7,563,994
  • Net Assets: $3,520,312


  • Total Revenue: $3,695, 035
  • Total Expenses: $3,382,266
  • Net Assets: $1,834,066


  • Total Revenue: $4,346,782
  • Total Expenses: $4,008,312
  • Net Assets: $1,497,156

FreedomWorks Foundation


  • Total Revenue: $7,186,346
  • Total Expenses: $8,423,843
  • Net Assets: $1,319,588


  • Total Revenue: $7,527,754
  • Total Expenses: $8,604,982
  • Net Assets: $2,600,289

Grants Distributed


  • Total Revenue: $8,379,908
  • Total Expenses: $6,805,394
  • Net Assets: $3,720,243

Grants Distributed


  • Total Revenue: $5,761,882
  • Total Expenses: $4,755,662
  • Net Assets: $2,145,657


  • Total Revenue: $7,185,920
  • Total Expenses: $4,973,527
  • Net Assets: $1,140,219


  • Total Revenue: $3,938,665
  • Total Expenses: $5,221,978
  • Net Assets: $-1,072,059


  • Total Revenue: $3,495,724
  • Total Expenses: $3,536,818
  • Net Assets: $211,254



2010 [83]


FreedomWorks Staff

As of June 2023[84]

  • Adam Brandon, President
  • Margaret Iuculano, Executive Vice President
  • Matt Carnovale, Vice President Of Development
  • Garrett Devries, Chief Technology Officer
  • Dan Mccormick, Senior Advisor To The Executive Vice President
  • Phil Bell, Director Of External Affairs
  • Randall Austin, Operations Coordinator
  • Emily Clardie, Deputy Chief Of Staff
  • Kristina Crane, Executive Assistant & Office Manager
  • Kim Drezdzon, Human Resources
  • Jonathan Eberle, Director Of Communications
  • Dusty Edwards, Videographer
  • Bailey Hartsell, Program Manager
  • Zach Laba, Program Manager
  • Holden Lipscomb, Advisor To The President For Donor Relations
  • Stephen Moore, Senior Economist
  • Victor Nieves, Development Associate
  • William H. Paul, Digital Communications Manager
  • Kate Rogers, Grassroots Coordinator
  • Jack Scheader, Director Of Marketing
  • John Tamny, Vice President And Director Of Center For Economic Freedom
  • Donna Tobias, Development Assistant
  • Laura Zorc, Director Of Education Reform

Former Staff

  • Thomas Aramony, Grassroots Coordinator
  • Melanie Aycock, Creative Director
  • Angela Bell, Grassroots Manager
  • Hartley Best, Program Manager
  • Marie Brown, Membership Relations
  • C.L. Bryant, Senior Fellow
  • Joe Camardo, Digital Director
  • Spencer Chretien, Director of Programs
  • Alex Deise, Policy Manager
  • Clara Del Villar, Director of Senior Initiatives
  • Josiah Gaiter, Deputy Director of Programs
  • Kilian R. Laverty, Policy Assistant
  • Matt Maraist, Digital Content Producer
  • Beverly McKittrick, Director of the FreedomWorks Regulatory Action
  • Mike Melillo, Grassroots Consultant
  • Maddy O'Connor, Graphic Designer
  • Amanda Robey, Senior Development Advisor
  • Isabelle Rosini, Press Coordinator
  • JJ Seah, Grassroots Coordinator
  • Parissa Sedghi, Executive Vice President of Development
  • Hannah-Catherine Smith, Producer
  • Savannah Steele, Senior Controller
  • Mac Stoddard, Vice President of Innovation
  • Abby Streu, Data Analyst
  • John Tamny, Director of FreedomWorks' Center for Economic Freedom
  • Dercy Teixeira, Grassroots Manager
  • Peter Vicenzi, Director of Communications
  • Noah Wall, Executive Vice President
  • Cesar Ybarra, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
  • Yates Wilburn, Digital Marketing Coordinator
  • Tyler Williams, Digital Communications Manager
  • Andrew Smith, Vice President of Technology & Analysis
  • Paul Sapperstein, Director of Operations and Special Events
  • Daniel Savickas, Federal Affairs Manager
  • Jason Pye, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
  • Colby Bledsoe, Director of Campaigns
  • Sarah Anderson, Director of Policy
  • Alex Bales, Operations and Intern Program Coordinator
  • Danielle Behler, Senior Development Officer
  • Ken Cuccinelli, Director of the Regulatory Action Center
  • Jennifer Garrett, Director of Human Resources
  • Kathy Hartkopf, Grassroots Coordinator
  • Patrick Hedger, Foundation Program Manager
  • Abby Helms, Strategic Partnership Officer
  • Christina Herrin, Legislative Outreach Manager
  • Matt Hoell, Director of Membership Development
  • Sarah Hubal, Director of Operations and Events
  • Curt Levey, Legal Affairs Fellow
  • Jon Meadows, Press Secretary
  • Allen Page, Southeast Regional Director
  • Sarvo Roberts, Finance Director
  • Emily Stack, Grassroots Assistant
  • Matt Kibbe, President and CEO
  • Adam Brandon, Executive Vice President
  • Jackie Bodnar, Director of Communications
  • Iris Somberg, Communications Coordinator
  • Whitney Neal, Director of Grassroots
  • Deneen Borelli, Director of Outreach
  • Heather Williamson, UT Field Coordinator
  • Russ Walker, National Political Director, FreedomWorks for America
  • Julie Borowski, Policy Analyst
  • Josh Withrow, Legislative Affairs Manager
  • Easton Randall, Government Affairs Manager
  • Wayne Brough, Ph.D., Chief Economist and Vice President of Research
  • Tom Borelli, Ph.D., Senior Fellow
  • Logan Albright, Research Analyst
  • Kara Pally, Director of Web and Technology
  • Matt Battaglia, Creative Manager
  • Trey Grover, Production Manager
  • Andrew Smith, Vice President of Member Marketing
  • John Campbell, Director of Digital Marketing
  • Matt Hoell, Director of Membership Development
  • Mac Stoddard, Digital Marketing Analyst
  • Derek Ellerman, Senior Copywriter
  • James Miller, Copywriter
  • Josh Pearson, Copywriter
  • Christine Domenech, Senior Director of Development
  • Terry Kibbe, Senior Advisor
  • Parissa Sedghi, Director of Development
  • Emilia Huneke-Bergquist, Director of Special Events
  • Angela Mitchell, Development Assistant
  • Lucas Blanchard, Vice President of Operations
  • Tatiana Carrenard, Accounting
  • Jennifer Garrett, Human Resources
  • Sara Hubal, Operations
  • Ian Sheasgreen, Accounting

FreedomWorks Foundation Staff

As of December 2021[75]

  • Adam Brandon, President
  • Noah Wall, Executive Vice President
  • Parissa Sedghi Fornwalt, Executive Vice President
  • Steve Moore, economist
  • John Tamny, Director of the Center for Economic Freedom
  • John Stoddard, Vice President of Marketing
  • Savannah Steele, Senior Controller

Formerly Listed FreedomWorks Foundation Staff

  • Andrew Smith, Vice President of Technology and Analysis
  • Jason Pye, Vice President of Legislative
  • Mac Stoddard, Vice President of Marketing
  • Colby Bledsoe, Director of Education Campaigns & Training

Board of Directors

As of June 2023 [85]

FreedomWorks Board

  • Joan Carter, Chairman
  • Adam Brandon, President
  • Paul Beckner, Freedom Management Group
  • Peter Copses
  • Carl Thomas Knudsen, Thomas Publishing Company
  • Stephen "Moz" Modzelewski
  • Richard J Stephenson, Cancer Treatment Centers of America
  • Frank Tsamoutales
  • Mary Beth Weiss

Former Board of Directors

FreedomWords Foundation Board

  • Paul Beckner, Board Chair
  • Betsy Albaugh
  • Robert T.E. Lansing
  • Ted Abram
  • Joan Carter
  • Adam Brandon, President
  • Marilyn Hayden
  • Nicola Opdycke

Former FreedomWords Foundation Board

Contact Information

400 North Capital Street, NW
Suite 765
Washington, D.C. 20001
Phone: 202-783-3870
Email: NA

Affiliated Organizations

FreedomWorks lists the following related organizations in its tax filings:[70]

  • FreedomWorks Foundation (501(c)(3))
  • FreedomWorks PAC (527 PAC)
  • The FreedomWorks Fund (527 PAC, dormant)
  • CSE FreedomWorks Inc. (501(c)(4), dormant)
  • FreedomWorks for America (527 PAC)
  • Citizens for a Sound Economy Inc. (dormant)

In previous years, related organizations have included:[73]

Articles and Resources

IRS Form 990 Filings









FreedomWorks Foundation








External resources

External articles


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  2. Luke Mullins, FreedomWorks Is Closing — And Blaming Trump, Politico, May 8, 2024.
  3. FreedomWorks, About, organizational website, accessed June 19, 2014.
  4. Theda Skocpol, "Why the Tea Party's Hold Persists," Democracy, Winter 2014. Accessed June 19, 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 ""Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and Empower America Merge to Form FreedomWorks", Media release, undated, archived from July 25, 2004.
  6. Hailey Fuchs, How an animal rights activist at FreedomWorks became the target of ‘Dr. Evil’s’ former PR shop, Politico, May 19th, 2023
  7. Hannah Rabinowitz, Justice Department unseals Capitol riot charges against FreedomWorks organizer, CNN Politics, September 24th, 2021
  8. 8.0 8.1 Peter Montgomery, "New Right-Wing ‘Election Integrity’ Project Is Chaired by Attorney Who Helped Trump Badger Georgia’s Secretary of State", Right Wing Watch, March 15, 2021, accessed March 23, 2021.
  9. Ryan Lovelace, "FreedomWorks training activists in 'Election Protection' to fight potential liberal voter fraud", Washington Times, September 28, 2020, accessed October 2, 2020.
  10. Daniel Dale and Marshall Cohen, "Fact check: Almost every single one of Trump's debate claims about mail-in voting was wrong", CNN, September 30, 2020, accessed October 2, 2020.
  11. Reality Check Team, "US election: Do postal ballots lead to voting fraud?", BBC News, September 25, 2020.
  12. Eugene Kiely and Rem Rieder, "Trump’s Repeated False Attacks on Mail-In Ballots", FactCheck, September 25, 2020, accessed October 2, 2020.
  13. Nicholas Riccardi, "AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s big distortions on mail-in voting", AP News, Septebmer 17, 2020, accessed October 2, 2020.
  14. Alex Kotch, Groups Aligned with Right-Wing Megadonors Are Promoting Coronavirus Protests, ExposedbyCMD, April 22, 2020.
  15. Alex Kotch, Secretive Right-Wing Nonprofit Plays Role in COVID-19 Organizing, ExposedbyCMD, May 15, 2020.
  16. Nancy Cook, FreedomWorks memo warns against 'clean' debt ceiling increase, POLITICO, August 24, 2017.
  17. Jack Gillum & Stephen Braun, "Tea Party group chief quits, cites internal split" Associated Press, December 4, 2012.
  18. Amy Gardner, "FreedomWorks tea party group nearly falls apart in fight between old and new guard" The Washington Post, December 25, 2012
  19. Peter Hermann, "Suspect in shooting at Family Research Council indicted on terrorism charge" The Washington Post, October 24, 2012. Accessed June 19, 2014.
  20. Kenneth Vogel, Inside the Dick Armey, FreedomWorks split, POLITICO, December 4, 2012.
  21. Amy Gardner, " Armey’s exit from FreedomWorks highlights tea party’s post-election turmoil"] The Washington Post, December 4, 2012
  22. Rachel Weiner, "[ FreedomWorks flips, now opposes ‘Plan B’"] The Washington Post, December 20, 2012
  23. Dean Clancy, " Fiscal Cliff: Two Cheers for Boehner's Plan B (But Oppose It Anyway)" FreedomWorks blog, December 19, 2012
  24. David Corn, " FreedomWorks Feud: War Inside Tea Party Group Gets Nastier"] Mother Jones, December 24, 2012
  25. C. Boyden Gray & James H. Burnley, Memo to Matt Kibbe December 12, 2012
  26. Matt Kibbe, " Republicans Insiders Attempt Hostile Takeover of FreedomWorks] internal FreedomWorks memo, c. December 14, 2012
  27. David Corn, " FreedomWorks Feud: War Inside Tea Party Group Gets Nastier"] Mother Jones, December 24, 2012
  28. Center for Responsive Politics, "Organizations Disclosing Donations to Freedomworks for America, 2012", accessed December 26, 2012
  29. Jonathan Weisman, "With Insurance Policy Comes Membership," Washington Post, July 23, 2006. Accessed June 19, 2014.
  30. Parental Rights in Education Guidebook, [1], FreedomWorks, July 6th, 2023
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Alexis Levinson, "FreedomWorks Might Help Candidates They Opposed in 2014 Primaries," Rollcall, June 9, 2014. Accessed June 18. 2014.
  32. "Republicans reeling after Eric Cantor primary loss," BBC News, June 11, 2014. Accessed June 19, 2014.
  33. Center for Responsive Politics, Virginia District 07 Race, outside spending report, accessed June 18, 2014.
  34. Robert Costa, "For Rep. Raúl Labrador, running for House leadership position is a noble effort," Washington Post, June 17, 2014. Accessed June 19, 2014.
  35. Robert Costa, "For tea party Republicans, House leadership hopes turn into disappointment," Washington Post, June 13, 2014. Accessed June 19, 2014.
  36. Benjy Sarlin, "Inside the tea party quest to bring down Mitch McConnell," MSNBC, April 15, 2014. Accessed June 18, 2014.
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 Center for Responsive Politics, Freedomworks for America, independent expenditures, accessed June 17, 2014.
  38. Shushannah Walshe, "In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell Crushes Tea Party Challenger Matt Bevin," ABC News, May 20, 2014. Accessed June 18, 2014.
  39. Philip Elliot and Emily Wagster Pettus, "", Associated Press/Lexington Herald-Leader, June 5, 2014. Accessed June 18, 2014.
  40. 40.0 40.1 Brendan Fischer, FreedomWorks Putting Its War Chest to Work for ALEC’s Anti-Union Agenda in the States, Center for Media and Democracy, January 14, 2013.
  41. "Support Michigan Governor and Right to Work!", FreedomWorks, Accessed June 19, 2014.
  42. Loren Heal, "Workplace Freedom and the Talking Point Machine", FreedomWorks, December 10, 2012
  43. Amelia Hamilton, "The Show Must Go On… But WIll the Unions Agree?", FreedomWorks, December 19, 2012.
  44. Jon Gabriel, "Lansing the Boil", FreedomWorks, December 13, 2012.
  45. Patrick Hedger,"Issue Analysis: Paycheck Protection and the Keystone State", FreedomWorks, January 2013.
  46. Emily Osborne, "Right Wing Front Groups Flood Ohio With Anti-Union Spin," Center for Media and Democracy, October 28, 2011. Accessed June 19, 2014.
  47. FreedomWorks, "The Taxpayer Tea Party Movement is Growing: First wave of tea parties a huge success", February 23, 2009.
  48. Bob MacGuffie, Rocking the Town Halls: Best Practices, undated. Estimated date June-July, 2009. Accessed June 19, 2014.
  49. 49.0 49.1 Alex Kaplun, "'Energy Citizens' Take Aim at Climate Legislation," Greenwire, August 12, 2009. Accessed June 19, 2014.
  50. Michael M. Phillips Mortgage Bailout Infuriates Tenants (And Steve Forbes):'Angry Renter' Web Site Has Grass-Roots Look, But This Turf Is Fake Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2008
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  53. Ed Pilkington Republicans steal Barack Obama's Internet Campaigning Tricks UK Guardian. September 18, 2009
  54. Freedomworks More government expansionin Kansas in the form of tobacco taxes Press release. January 4, 2010
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  56. CIA, "Appendices: The Contra Story, Report of Investigation Concerning Allegations of Connections Between CIA and The Contras in Cocaine Trafficking to the United States, January 29, 1998. Accessed June 19, 2014.
  57. Robert Maguire, "More than Kochs, Small Donors Fueled Heritage Action in 2012," Center for Responsive Politics, October 24, 2013. Accessed June 19, 2014.
  58. Andy Kroll, "Powerful Tea Party Group's Internal Docs Leak—Read Them Here," Mother Jones, January 4, 2013. Accessed June 24, 2014.
  59. Amy Gardner, "FreedomWorks tea party group nearly falls apart in fight between old and new guard," Washington Post, December 25, 2012. Accessed June 24, 2014.
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