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SCOTUS - March 2017

SCOTUS - March 2017

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In Brief
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In Brief

BUSH TAPS HOFFA: President Bush, facing a lawsuit filed by the AFL-CIO, has announced he will appoint Teamsters Union president James Hoffa to serve on a key, high-level trade committee that gives advice on objectives and bargaining positions before entering into trade negotiations. Paul Norman Beckner, president and chief executive officer of Citizens for a Sound Economy, was also named to the Committee on Trade Policy & Negotiations. "There's a possibility the suit will be withdrawn since the announcement [that] Hoffa will be appointed," an AFL-CIO spokeswoman said. The Bush administration omitted labor, environmental and conservation representatives in an initial list of 32 appointees it released in late December. In response to the omissions, the AFL-CIO filed a lawsuit against Bush and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick in federal court last month, requesting a court order to direct the USTR and White House to include representatives. One textile and three apparel executives have also been named. THIRD TIME'S A CHARM: Cradle Holdings, a budding miniconglomerate which earlier acquired the Erno Lazlo and Penhaligon's beauty brands, has purchased l'Artisan Parfumeur, a Paris-based fragrance house founded by Jean Laporte and now led by directeur general Marie Dupont. L'Artisan markets about 30 fragrance brands and environmental scents with distribution centered in France and the U.K. with five freestanding stores. The products are merchandised in select locations in 20 countries, generating a global volume estimated by industry sources at roughly $ 20 million. Although the purchase price was not disclosed, sources speculate that the deal was worth $ 10 million to $ 15 million. CONE MILLS CREDITWATCH: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Friday placed Cone Mills Corp. on its CreditWatch list with negative implications. As a result, S&P now rates both the Greensboro, N.C.-based mill's long-term corporate credit and its senior secured debt at "CCC-plus" with a negative outlook. Previously, long-term credit was rated "CCC-plus/developing," and senior debt "CCC-plus." As of Sept. 29, Cone Mills had about $ 155.2 million in outstanding debt. S&P said the move reflects Cone Mills' plan to initiate an offer exchanging an equal principal amount of its new notes for any and all of its $ 100 million notes due March 15, 2005. The bondholders will be asked to extend maturities and make other modifications to their agreements. Although the proposed terms were not publicly disclosed, S&P expects that Cone Mills may not be able to meet all of its obligations, as originally promised under the note issue, and fund its Mexican expansion strategy at the same time.

01/27/2003
Pitches Propel Measure 28
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Pitches Propel Measure 28

BY Jeff Mapes and Dave Hogan

Summary: With volunteers, some media exposure and a state warning, the measure might defy Oregon's tradition of defeating tax hikes No TV ads. No big campaign spending. And opponents who thought Measure 28 had no chance of passing. Yet, night after night, the volunteers cramming into a union-owned phone bank in a nondescript Southeast Portland basement could be pulling off one of the biggest upsets in Oregon history. Their mission: Deliver a one-on-one pitch selling the statewide income-tax increase on Tuesday's ballot to a carefully culled list of voters. They are the vanguard of an unusual volunteer army formed with the financial and strategic backing of the state's major public-employee unions. If the measure prevails, Oregon voters would be the first in the country to raise their own income tax rates in this current economic downturn. It would break with Oregon voters' tradition of rejecting almost any tax increase put before them. They've defeated a sales tax nine times and haven't approved any increase in income taxes since establishing the current system in 1930. Opponents now say they wish they had campaigned harder against a measure they thought was dead on arrival but was even in a poll released last Monday. "By the time people woke up . . . there just wasn't the time to put the money together for a campaign" against the measure, said Russ Walker of Citizens for a Sound Economy, one of the main opposition groups. The public-employee unions that put up most of the money for the pro-Measure 28 campaign made what now appears to be a smart strategic decision: They let volunteers such as Luther Henson do most of the speaking for it. "I have stayed out of politics for 20 years because I didn't think this stuff would affect me," said Henson, 49, as he got ready to learn how to use the computerized phone bank owned by the Oregon AFL-CIO. "But now here I am. This could hurt me." Over the course of an evening, Henson, who is disabled with Parkinson's disease and several other ailments, spoke mostly to answering machines and voters who said they had already sent in their ballot. But he also had the chance to tell one undecided woman in Douglas County about how he's in danger of losing the part-time care that will allow him to move out of an assisted-living center. "I could end up back in a nursing home," he told her. The Yes on 28 campaign skipped running expensive television ads -- and the lack of TV lulled opponents who thought Oregonians would never go for a tax increase while they were still paying bills from Christmas and facing the nation's highest unemployment rate. The absence of television advertising by either side turned out to be crucial. Supporters and neutral analysts said it might have been easy for opponents to raise doubts about any tax increase. "I'm really delighted they sat on their thumbs in this campaign because it's very easy to fashion a 30-second ad that says no," said Tricia Smith, a lobbyist for the Oregon School Employees Association. "Our side is more complicated." Union lobbyists fought hard against referring the measure to the ballot, hoping the Legislature would instead just pass a tax increase to fill the budget shortfall. But once the measure was on the ballot, the unions decided they had no choice but to get behind it. In the end, five public-employee unions raised almost all of the $490,000 given to the pro-Measure 28 campaign. While that dwarfs the less than $30,000 that opponents reported spending, it's a relatively small amount for a statewide ballot measure -- where spending can sometimes exceed $5 million. "We didn't believe that spending a lot of money was the right thing to do," said Smith, explaining that unions had spent down their war chests during the 2002 election. The campaign has spent about $280,000 on carefully targeted radio advertising aimed at voters likely to support the measure. That means advertising on stations like KINK FM that appeal to liberal baby boomers and avoiding stations like KXL AM and its conservative talk-show hosts. Mobilizing a united front Most importantly, the unions made a common cause with a long list of other groups worried about cutbacks in state programs. "The grass-roots aspect of the complete statewide mobilization of citizens has been what has made this so invigorating for us political types," said Heather Beaman, volunteer coordinator for the Measure 28 campaign. She estimated that more people have worked on the campaign. Her phone bankers have ranged from PTA groups and supporters of the Oregon Food Bank to employees of senior care units run by the Providence Health System. The number of volunteers exploded after the state last month sent more than 63,000 notices to social-service recipients and care providers warning of benefit reductions starting Feb. 1. The notices also sparked numerous news stories around the state about people who would be hurt if Measure 28 failed. "The fact the media led with these stories made it less hype and more real," said Lisa Grove, a Portland pollster who has worked with the unions. She said the campaign now reminds her more of a local property-tax election revolving around specific services. That's left opponents frustrated. They say the state won't really follow through on those cuts, which they charge were made for their maximum political impact. State officials deny that, saying the large number of cuts for schools and services are necessary because the budget shortfall is so concentrated at the end of the budget cycle. Opponents distracted at times "The dynamics of this campaign have truly been one-of-a-kind," said J.L. Wilson, who heads the Oregon chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business. "I've never seen anything that was written off so widely come back and have legs," he said. "Nobody thought it had a chance." Wilson said he saw no reason for his group to get involved in the campaign, even though a survey of his members showed 85 percent opposed to the measure. Some groups expected to be high-profile opponents were caught sleeping. For example, the Oregon Republican Party, preoccupied with an internal fight over the party leadership, never took a formal stand on the measure. The party's new chairman, Kevin Mannix, has been sending out recorded phone calls to Republicans urging them to vote and saying there are alternatives to the cuts if Measure 28 fails. Opponents were "the lastest with the leastest instead of the firstest with the mostest," said Mannix, who argued against Measure 28 during his campaign for governor. At this point, the Libertarian Party and the Taxpayer Association of Oregon have started their own radio advertising, but at a much lower level than the proponents. A recent poll showing the race was a dead heat has helped wake up opponents, said Richard Burke, executive director of the Libertarian Party of Oregon. "I think it will fail," said Burke. "Having said that, I won't be in the least surprised if it passes. It will be close." Supporters said passage of Measure 28 may push legislators and Gov. Ted Kulongoski to move more quickly on finding a more stable tax system for the state. Kulongoski said he wants to first work to make government more efficient before trying to make major tax changes or seek more revenue. "What I hope comes out of this is the sense on the part of 90 legislators and the governor that this is the time for tax reform," said Ellen Lowe, a social-services lobbyist.

01/26/2003
Big Technology Firms Take on Hollywood Over Piracy
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Big Technology Firms Take on Hollywood Over Piracy

BY Rob Lever

Some of the biggest US technology firms joined Thursday with consumer organizations and others to fight Hollywood's demands for mandatory technology to prevent piracy of films and other digital entertainment. The new group, the Alliance for Digital Progress (ADP), includes Microsoft, Cisco, Intel and Apple, as well as several consumer groups, think tanks, taxpayer organizations and businesses.

01/23/2003
Big Technology Firms Take on Hollywood Over Piracy
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Big Technology Firms Take on Hollywood Over Piracy

BY Rob Lever

Big US tech firms joined Thursday with consumer groups and others to fight Hollywood's demands for mandatory technology to prevent piracy of films and other digital entertainment. The new coalition, the Alliance for Digital Progress (ADP), includes Microsoft, Cisco, Intel and Apple, as well as several consumer groups, think tanks, taxpayer organizations and other organizations. The alliance will lobby to dissuade Congress from passing laws requiring anti-piracy technology in computers, DVD players and other electronic devices. Alliance members say that they do not advocate distributing illegal copies, but that mandatory technology aimed at stopping piracy would be a solution worse than the problem. "Piracy of digital content is a serious, complex problem that concerns all of us," said Fred McClure, president of the alliance. "But government-designed and mandated technology that swaps the diversity of marketplace solutions for a 'one size fits all' approach is not the answer. Mandates are a mistake. A mandate will raise the price of everything from CD players and DVD players to personal computers. It will make the devices consumers own today obsolete. And it will stifle the innovation at the heart of digital progress." Consumers and technology groups have been concerned about possible legislation that could require technology that makes it hard to copy films or music or make it impossible to play DVDs on more than one device. "We are greatly concerned that Hollywood is trying to pressure Congress into forcing technology mandates onto American consumers," McClure said. "Hollywood should be working with others in the private sector to develop solutions to the piracy problem that will succeed in the marketplace and benefit consumers." Although the music industry said recently it would stop lobbying efforts for such mandates, Hollywood's main lobby group, the Motion Picture Association of America, has maintained its policy. "Hollywood leaders like Jack Valenti (of the MPAA) would have organized the monks to burn down Gutenberg's printing press if they were alive during that period of rapid change and innovation," said Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America, a high-tech group that is part of the alliance. "Legislators have heard Hollywood's pleas to stifle innovation, but more education will help them make informed decisions. We look forward to working with ADP to make sure all sides are heard when it comes to digital rights management." The MPAA had no comment on the new alliance, but last week Valenti argued that Hollywood may split with the music industry on the issue. even though they have been united against swapping services like Napster. "The film and music industries are separate, unique enterprises with different strategies for addressing the outstanding issues concerning digital copy protection," Valenti said last week. "We are not prepared to abandon the option of seeking technical protection measures via the Congress or appropriate regulatory agency, when necessary." Valenti and other Hollywood executives have claimed piracy is one of the biggest threats to the industry, potentially costing billions of dollars and depriving creative artists of royalties. Digital rights advocates say Hollywood has cried wolf before, having sought special protection against videotapes when VHS technology arrived, but noted that the industry's 2002 revenues set a record for the third year running. The alliance includes several other tech firms including IBM, Dell Computer, Motorola and Hewlett Packard; and a hodgepodge of organizations including Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens Against Government Waste, Citizens for a Sound Economy, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers.

01/23/2003
Opinion - Pay heed to the doings in Olympia
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Opinion - Pay heed to the doings in Olympia

BY TOM KOENNINGER

OLYMPIA -- This place, the state capital, is the center of the universe for 105 days, at least for Washington residents. It is the location of an incredible convergence of energy, vitality, intellect, conflict and debate. It is a place where our lives are guided by laws enacted by this state's Legislature. Lawmakers swarmed here Jan. 13 to begin the 58th session of the Legislature. They will remain for at least 105 days of the regular session and likely move into special session after that. Lobbyists swarmed here at the same time. The public, or at least a special interest group of the public -- 22,000 to 25,000 members of the Washington Education Association -- swarmed through the capital city the second day of the session. The Olympian newspaper reported that the WEA rally was the largest demonstration in the capital city's history. The rally horde marched up Capitol Way, virtually paralyzing downtown Olympia by their numbers. Their show of force was intended to support increased spending on education and oppose a temporary suspension of voter initiatives that would add money to teacher salaries and reduce class sizes. An anti-tax rally was conducted on the same day around the Tivoli Fountain, closer to the Capitol building. Sponsors of the rally, which attracted about 100 people, were Citizens for a Sound Economy and the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. Foundation president Bob Williams, a former Woodland area resident who made a run for governor several years ago, told The Olympian he was unsure of the effect his rally would have on lawmakers. He said he didn't see the governor and legislature "going for a tax increase right now." Some 200 members of an anti-war rally swarmed onto the Capitol campus the third day of the session. The noisy entourage appeared outside the windows of a hearing room in the John L. O'Brien building, delaying the start of a workshop on higher-education funding. They were moved away by police and the Capitol security forces. If this first week is an indication, the capital will be a place of extraordinary excitement now through April. Special interest groups will be very visible as various organizations, public and private, strive to prevent the budget ax from falling on education programs and social and health services, among the obvious. However, something has to give in a budget year with the revenue shortfall ranging from $ 2.4 billion to $ 3 billion. Gov. Gary Locke, a Democrat, has proposed what he considers a realistic but severe budget with no new taxes. One Republican legislator said Locke sounded like a Republican in his State of the State message. Public access difficult Watching the process unfold this year will be difficult, at least in person. Thanks in part to the Nisqually earthquake of February 2001, the Legislature is not nearly as accessible as in previous sessions. The Capitol building, housing both the House and Senate chambers, is under renovation and earthquake repair, and not open to the public. House members are meeting in temporary quarters, and the Senate is meetings in the Joel Pritchard Building. Neither has a public gallery, so viewing is through closed-circuit television. Public tours of the Capitol Campus, continue, though. Hearings will still be open to the public, if people can get into the usually packed Senate and House hearing rooms. Security is tighter than ever, and Washington State Patrol troopers, among other legislative guardians, were much in evidence last week. Still, it's stimulating just to walk on the open Capitol grounds and stroll through the open space between the Senate and House office buildings. The message is clear for all: Pay attention this year, more than ever before, and react to your legislators. Attend local town hall meetings hosted by legislators. The course set in Olympia will be the course that affects your life.

01/22/2003
Measure 28 momentum shifts
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Measure 28 momentum shifts

Supporters have raised more money than opponents. Measure 28 would raise income and corporate taxes for 2002, 2003 and 2004 to avert cuts to schools and state services over the next 2A years. New polls show that it is running neck and neck with voters. Ballots must arrive in county elections offices by Tuesday evening. BY STEVE LAW Statesman Journal Polls show that the temporary income tax increase on Oregon's Jan. 28 ballot has become surprisingly close, but you wouldn't know it from money trickling into the campaigns last week. The main Measure 28 opposition committee, Taxpayers Association of Oregon, reported raising $2,000 last week, enough for modest radio ads on two Portland stations. Supporters in the Yes on 28 Committee scored $26,200 for a phone campaign, plus more for polling, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday. With only one week to go in the election, momentum clearly has shifted to supporters, who have raised far more dollars and mobilized countless more volunteers. Opponents apparently were caught flat-footed by the sudden surge of voter support after most political analysts dismissed the measure's chances of passage. Jason Williams, executive director of the taxpayers association, said the recession crimped fund raising for his committee. His group has raised about $8,200 during the campaign so far and reported about $2,000 cash on hand last week. "I think there are some people on our side that called this thing wrong," said opponent Russ Walker, Northwest director of Citizens for a Sound Economy. "We're having difficulty raising money on it," Walker said. "Most people didn't think it had a chance of passing." By contrast, the Yes on 28 campaign has raised more than $400,000, mostly from labor unions. Supporters aren't going to be complacent about the opposition's weak fund raising, insisted Patty Wentz, Yes on 28 spokeswoman. She expects opponents could get a quick money injection from conservative Aloha businessman Loren Parks or the national Citizens for a Sound Economy. "We've always known that they have access to as much money as they need," she said. Still, fully 29 percent of registered voters already had cast ballots by Friday, and Measure 28 supporters have a better grass-roots effort to mobilize their voters. "I do worry about the get-out-the-vote machine the other side has," Walker said. "The truth about politics is, whoever can get the most people to show up wins." Steve Law can be reached at (503) 399-6615 or slaw@ StatesmanJournal.com

01/22/2003
Pro-Tax Increase Forces Appear To Have Momentum
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Pro-Tax Increase Forces Appear To Have Momentum

The Salem Statesman Journal (1/22, Law) reports, "With only one week to go in the election, momentum clearly has shifted to supporters, who have raised far more dollars and mobilized countless more volunteers." The Statesman Journal continues, "Opponents apparently were caught flat-footed by the sudden surge of voter support after most political analysts dismissed the measure's chances of passage. . Supporters aren't going to be complacent about the opposition's weak fund raising, insisted Patty Wentz, Yes on 28 spokeswoman. She expects opponents could get a quick money injection from conservative Aloha businessman Loren Parks or the national Citizens for a Sound Economy."

01/22/2003
Pay Heed to the Doings in Olympia
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Pay Heed to the Doings in Olympia

BY Tom Koenninger

OLYMPIA -- This place, the state capital, is the center of the universe for 105 days, at least for Washington residents. It is the location of an incredible convergence of energy, vitality, intellect, conflict and debate. It is a place where our lives are guided by laws enacted by this state's Legislature. Lawmakers swarmed here Jan. 13 to begin the 58th session of the Legislature. They will remain for at least 105 days of the regular session and likely move into special session after that. Lobbyists swarmed here at the same time. The public, or at least a special interest group of the public -- 22,000 to 25,000 members of the Washington Education Association -- swarmed through the capital city the second day of the session. The Olympian newspaper reported that the WEA rally was the largest demonstration in the capital city's history. The rally horde marched up Capitol Way, virtually paralyzing downtown Olympia by their numbers. Their show of force was intended to support increased spending on education and oppose a temporary suspension of voter initiatives that would add money to teacher salaries and reduce class sizes. An anti-tax rally was conducted on the same day around the Tivoli Fountain, closer to the Capitol building. Sponsors of the rally, which attracted about 100 people, were Citizens for a Sound Economy and the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. Foundation president Bob Williams, a former Woodland area resident who made a run for governor several years ago, told The Olympian he was unsure of the effect his rally would have on lawmakers. He said he didn't see the governor and legislature "going for a tax increase right now." Some 200 members of an anti-war rally swarmed onto the Capitol campus the third day of the session. The noisy entourage appeared outside the windows of a hearing room in the John L. O'Brien building, delaying the start of a workshop on higher-education funding. They were moved away by police and the Capitol security forces. If this first week is an indication, the capital will be a place of extraordinary excitement now through April. Special interest groups will be very visible as various organizations, public and private, strive to prevent the budget ax from falling on education programs and social and health services, among the obvious. However, something has to give in a budget year with the revenue shortfall ranging from $ 2.4 billion to $ 3 billion. Gov. Gary Locke, a Democrat, has proposed what he considers a realistic but severe budget with no new taxes. One Republican legislator said Locke sounded like a Republican in his State of the State message. Public access difficult Watching the process unfold this year will be difficult, at least in person. Thanks in part to the Nisqually earthquake of February 2001, the Legislature is not nearly as accessible as in previous sessions. The Capitol building, housing both the House and Senate chambers, is under renovation and earthquake repair, and not open to the public. House members are meeting in temporary quarters, and the Senate is meetings in the Joel Pritchard Building. Neither has a public gallery, so viewing is through closed-circuit television. Public tours of the Capitol Campus, continue, though. Hearings will still be open to the public, if people can get into the usually packed Senate and House hearing rooms. Security is tighter than ever, and Washington State Patrol troopers, among other legislative guardians, were much in evidence last week. Still, it's stimulating just to walk on the open Capitol grounds and stroll through the open space between the Senate and House office buildings. The message is clear for all: Pay attention this year, more than ever before, and react to your legislators. Attend local town hall meetings hosted by legislators. The course set in Olympia will be the course that affects your life.

01/22/2003
Commission split on tax increase pledge
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Press Release

Commission split on tax increase pledge

From the Lincoln Times-News By ALICE SMITH, LTN Staff Writer January 22, 2003 - Two members on the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners have pledged that they won’t raise taxes this year. Commissioner Carrol Mitchem has signed a pledge from the watchdog group Citizens for Sound Economy, and Commissioner James “Buddy” Funderburk has indicated that he will also sign. Other commissioners said that while no elected official wants to raise taxes, it’s too early in the game to make such a decision.

01/22/2003
Dividend and Conquer
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Press Release

Dividend and Conquer

The big dog of the legislative calendar this year is President Bush’s new economic growth and jobs package. And, at the center of this tax relief plan is the repeal of the dividend tax, which will return over $300 billion to Americans over the next ten years. It’s big, and it’s bold, and news that President Bush wants to completely repeal the tax on dividend income came as something of a shock. People asked, what the heck is the dividend tax anyway?

01/22/2003

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