One of the latest names to burst on to the political scene is Foster Friess. He is the chief financial backer of Rick Santorum’s campaign. Although he has recently hit the radar screen he is by no means a newcomer to the political money game. He seems to be enjoying his fifteen minutes of fame. I want my readers to start making him pay the price for it.
Peeling back the layers of Friess’ “corporate onion” is less complicated than that of many of his peers’. Basically, (it is just a little more complicated), Friess Associates, LLC markets investments under the names: the Brandywine Fund, the Brandywine Blue Fund and the Brandywine Advisor Midcap Fund. Collectively they are known as the Brandywine Funds. What I am asking my readers to do is simply not invest in them. If you sit on a Board of Directors or Trustees vote against your organization investing in them. If you hold public office, vote against your municipality investing in them. These funds have an impressive performance record but there are other options.
According to Forbes, Friess is not a billionaire as has been widely and erroneously reported. His people freely admit that he is a very wealthy man and as such is free to donate his money as he pleases, however I do not think progressives should be giving him any of their money when we see where his donations have been going. The fact that he is the major donor to Rick Santorum’s Red, White and Blue Fund Super PAC is well known, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Friess has a history of contributing to radical right wing organizations.
He is part of the Koch brothers’ inner circle and has donated in excess of $1 million to their political endeavors. He has a history of backing Tea Party candidates and has donated to the Tea Party Express PAC. He is a financial supporter of the Republican Governors’ Association.
He has donated money to both Tea Party/Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich and Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry. He has already donated $100,000 to Tea Party/Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s effort to beat back a recall attempt. While many progressives dismiss Perry as simply an idiot, you would have to look long and hard to find a progressive who didn’t acknowledge the danger Kasich and Walker pose.
He is involved in the radical rights’ war on education. He was awarded the Adam Smith Award from Hillsdale College and an honorary degree from Pat Robertson’s Regent University. Those are not exactly mainstream schools and while I cannot document it I’m very skeptical that those honors came sans donations. Friess is pro charter schools; his main motivation appears to be that he is anti teachers’ unions.
Foster is a major funder of Islamophobic institutions including the Center for Security Policy and the Terrorism Awareness Project. These organizations are simply vehicles to disseminate hatred and disinformation.
Have you missed Tucker Carlson on television lately? He is running a website which Friess helped him get started to the tune of $3 million. Maybe freedom of the press isn’t so free on the extreme edge of the right wing.
My most interesting discovery was $32.8 million in donations by the Lynn and Foster Friess Family Foundation to the National Christian Foundation during the first decade of this century. On the surface this seems like religious donations. In reality it is a way to funnel money to a lot of extreme right wing people and causes. You have probably never heard of the National Christian Foundation and the extreme right likes it that way. Using 2008 numbers they are twice the size of the American Red Cross. Some better known past recipients are: James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins’ The Family Research Council, along with the enterprises of Chuck Colson, Gary Bauer, Ted Haggard, Jerry Falwell, Gary Demar, Doug Phillips and Mark Rushdoony.
Under current American law nothing Mr. Friess is doing is illegal or unethical I just don’t think progressives would knowingly help fund it. Therefore, invest the money under your control with some entity other than the Brandywine Funds.
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