FreedomWorks

In 2004, FreedomWorks split from the Koch brothers-sponsored group Citizens for a Sound Economy. Today, the nonprofit organization calls itself a “grassroots service center.”[1] It also has a spinoff Super PAC, FreedomWorks for America. The Super PAC spent over $22 million in 2012, but just $4.6 million in the 2014 cycle.[2] In 2012, FreedomWorks for America received $2.6 million from the FreedomWorks nonprofit, which is not required to disclose its donors.[3]

The FreedomWorks organizations have seen their funding dry up since an odd coup attempt by former chairman Dick Armey, who served as House Majority Leader under Newt Gingrich. In 2012, Armey and an armed assistant fired several employees and escorted them from the building; several days later, one of the group’s major benefactors mandated that the fired employees be reinstated and that Armey depart in exchange for a $8 million payoff.[4]

FreedomWorks’ finances rely heavily upon large donors – according to the Center for Public Integrity, nearly 60% of its 2012 budget was provided by four individuals.[5] One of those individuals, Richard “Dick” Stephenson, created two companies that shortly thereafter donated a total of $12 million to FreedomWorks. Two independent watchdog groups filed an FEC complaint and a request for the Department of Justice to investigate, asserting that the creation of such companies for the express purpose of filtering Stephenson’s political contributions without attaching his name violated federal law.[6][7]

[1]FreedomWorks.” accessed 9/24/15

[2]FreedomWorks for America – Spending by Cycle,” The Center for Responsive Politics, accessed 9/25/15

[3]Tea Party-aligned FreedomWorks fueled by elite donors.” Michael Beckel, The Center for Public Integrity, 10/24/13

[4]FreedomWorks tea party group nearly falls apart in fight between old and new guard.” Amy Gardner, The Washington Post, 12/25/12

[5]Tea Party-aligned FreedomWorks fueled by elite donors.” Michael Beckel, The Center for Public Integrity, 10/24/13

[6]Letter to Anthony Herman, Esq., General Counsel, Federal Election Commission.” The Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21, 1/3/13

[7]Letter to Hon. Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States,” The Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21, 12/20/12