In the letter from Jill Yomnick published in the Whidbey News-Times on Sept. 26 (‘Voters’ guide was partisan’), it was stated that the Freedom Foundation’s Voters’ Guide was a “paid advertisement.” After carefully searching several times, neither my wife nor I was able to find those words printed on the voters’ guide. Nor was the Freedom Foundation named in the advertising supplements listed on the editorial page of the paper. But the guide was identified as a “Publication of the Freedom Foundation.” So perhaps they paid the Whidbey News-Times to distribute the voters’ guide. However, that does not make it either a partisan publication or paid advertising.
As a member and supporter of the Freedom Foundation for several years, I agree that it is a conservative organization. But it is clearly stated that their mission is to promote transparency and accountability in state government; fiscal responsibility by the legislature; free enterprise and individual liberty. Those are not bad things; nor are they partisan. The Freedom Foundation does not declare support or opposition for any candidate or ballot measure in the voters’ guide. They endeavor to provide factual information so that we voters can make informed decisions on election day (or whenever we fill out the mail-in ballots.)
The Freedom Foundation is funded primarily by members’ donations and annual membership dues. The implication that they are financed by the Koch brothers is unsubstantiated. Then imagining “guilt by association” to accuse the Freedom Foundation of profiting from fossil fuel development and climate change denial is rumor mongering. Two organizational realities are used as pejoratives in the letter. Every public service organization must have goals (or agendas) and financial resources to survive, succeed and make a difference in the public discourse. That should not be used as a basis for casting aspersions on the efforts of people who are helping us to monitor the performance of our government.
James K. Johnston