Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM)
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) is a 501(c)(3) organization that describes itself as “an independent, non-profit educational and research organization that actively advocates the principles of individual freedom, personal responsibility, economic freedom, and limited government.” 
The group was founded in 2006 by its current CEO Annette Meeks, the former Deputy Chief of Staff for House Speaker Newt Gingrich. 
Stance on Climate Change
“The climate change debate has been hopelessly politicized by organizations like Environment Minnesota that distort science in order to advance a narrow political agenda.” 
According to their website, “the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota does not accept any government grants or funding. Instead, we are proud to earn the trust and support of generous individuals, foundations, and corporations.” 
The following funding data comes from the Conservative Transparency project, which has compiled donations from publicly-available 990 tax forms. Note that not all values have been verified by DeSmog. 
See the attached spreadsheet for additional information on the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota’s funding by year (.xlsx).
|Donors Capital Fund||$75,000||$100,000||$245,000||$137,000||$175,000||$114,000||$62,350||$24,100||$5,000||$30,500||$967,950|
|State Policy Network||$80,000||$59,000||$40,000||$20,000||$20,000||$219,000|
|The Roe Foundation||$10,000||$15,000||$15,000||$15,000||$20,000||$75,000|
|Charles G Koch Charitable Foundation||$47,000||$47,000|
|American Petroleum Institute||$10,000||$10,000|
- Annette Meeks — CEO. 
- Jonathan Blake — Vice President.
- Christina Pajak — Development Director.
- Tom Steward — Investigative Director.
- Evan Paskach — Research Associate.
Board of Directors
As of October, 2015: 
- Jack Meeks
- Brian Sullivan
- Tony Trimble
- Steve Knuth
- Dirk Bak
- Annette Meeks
- Vin Weber
Past Board Members
As of April, 2012, additional board members included: 
- Chris Georgacas
- Kristin Ostrander
April 6, 2020
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, represented by Annette Meeks, was signatory to an American Energy Alliance letter to President Donald Trump supporting the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule which would scrap federal fuel economy mandates under the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program. 
Describing CAFE, the letter contends: “Those families and individuals who prefer or need trucks, SUVs, and crossovers pay more to subsidize those who buy smaller vehicles or electric vehicles under the existing mandate. This significant, needless, and unjust cost is a very real regressive tax on American families that has made our country worse off.” 
May 9, 2019
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, represented by Annette Meeks, signed on to an open letter organized by the American Energy Alliance designed to fight against an electric vehicle tax credit. 
“The American Energy Alliance has organized a coalition to proclaim in one unified voice that there should be no expansion of the misguided electric vehicle tax credit,” Thomas Pyle wrote in a statement, quoted at The Daily Caller. “There is no question that the electric vehicle tax credit distorts the auto market to no gain.” 
According to Pyle and others who signed the letter, electric vehicle tax credits “overwhelmingly benefit the rich.” DeSmog’s Koch vs. Clean project has systematically debunked this, among other well-rehearsed talking points and misinformation put forward by industry about electric vehicles.
The letter cites research by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a group that has received over $600,000 from ExxonMobil and millions from “dark money” groups DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund.
July 18, 2018
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, represented by Annette Meeks, was among signatories of a letter supporting an anti-carbon tax resolution from House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va. 
“We oppose any carbon tax. We oppose a carbon tax because it would lead to less income and fewer jobs for American families,” the letter read. “We support the House Concurrent Resolution in opposition to a job-killing carbon tax and urge members to co-sponsor and support this effort.” 
The resolution would call a carbon tax “detrimental to the United States economy.”E&E News reported it was similar to a measure that passed the House in 2016. Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, co-chairman of the Climate Solutions Caucus, said he would not vote for the resolution. 
“Protecting our environment and economic growth are not mutually exclusive,” he said in a statement. “The resolution presents a false choice.” 
The Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) issued a point-by-point rebuttal of the measure when it was first introduced. 
February 12, 2018
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota was one of several organizations to join Americans for Prosperity (AfP) in a coalition opposing a federal gas tax increase. 
“Raising the gas tax is a bad idea. It will make the burden of government on families and businesses heavier,” the coalition’s open letter read. 
Signatories include: 
|Brent Wm. Gardner||Chief Government Affairs Officer||Amer|
|Michael A. Needham||CEO||Heritage Action for America|
|Grover Norquist||President||Americans for Tax Reform|
|David McIntosh||President||Club for Growth|
|Nathan Nascimento||Executive Vice President||Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce|
|Mark Scribner||Senior Fellow||Competitive Enterprise Institute|
|Jason Pye||Vice President of Legislative Affairs||FreedomWorks|
|Tom Schatz||President||Citizens Against Government Waste|
|Pete Sepp||President||National Taxpayers Union|
|Phil Kerpen||President||American Commitment|
|Mario H. Lopez||President||Hispanic Leadership Fund|
|Daniel Garza||President||The Libre Initiative|
|Carrie L. Lukas||President||Independent Women’s Forum|
|Heather R. Higgins||President and CEO||Independent Women’s Voice|
|Harry C. Alford||President and CEO||National Black Chamber of Commerce|
|Jeffrey Mazella||President||Center for Individual Freedom|
|Donald Bryson||President||Civitas Action|
|David Barnes||Policy Director||Generation Opportunity|
|Norm Singleton||President||Campaign for Liberty|
|Judson Phillips||Founder||Tea Party Nation|
|Seton Motley||President||Less Government|
|Kim Crockett, Esq.||Vice President, Senior Fellow and General Counsel||Center of the American Experiment|
|Tom Brinkman, Jr.||Chairman||Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST)|
|Matthew Kandrach||President||Consumer Action for a Strong Economy (CASE)|
|Katie McAulliffe||Executive Director||Digital Liberty|
|Brett Healy||President||John K. MacIver Institute|
|Sean Noble||President||American Encore|
|Annette Meeks||CEO||Freedom Foundation of Minnesota|
|Andrew F. Quinlan||President||Center for Freedom and Prosperity|
March 21–23, 2012
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) was a co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute‘s Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7). 
DeSmogBlog found that co-sponsors of the conference had collectively received over $67 Million from ExxonMobil, Koch, and Scaife family foundations. 
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) released an “Accountability Alert” that attempts to discredit Minnesota environmental groups for opposing the Keystone oil pipeline. 
In 2011, MPR and Slate magazine reported that FFM had hidden its connection to Minnesotans for Fair Redistricting, a group trying to influence state redistricting to favor Republican candidates. Annette Meeks maintained that she had no involvement in Minnesotans for Fair Redistricting, but FFM board member Chris Georgacas headed the group while another board member, attorney Tony Trimble, worked closely with its law firm to develop redistricting plans. , , 
June 30–July 1, 2011
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota was a co-sponsor (PDF) of the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC6) in Washington, DC. 
DeSmogBlog concluded that 17 of the 43 sponsors of the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, including the Heartland Institute itself, had collectively received over $46 million from either Scaife Foundations, Koch Foundations, or ExxonMobil. 
May 16–18, 2010
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota was a co-sponsor (PDF) of the Heartland Institute’s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC4) in Chicago, Il. 
DeSmogBlog found that 19 of the 65 sponsors (including Heartland itself) had received a total of over $40 million in funding from ExxonMobil and right-wing foundations. 
October 18, 2009
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) hosted the Minnesota premiere of the film “Not Evil Just Wrong” which reported to reveal “true costs of global warming hysteria, and how extreme environmentalism threatens the livelihoods of hundreds of millions in the developed and developing world.” 
August 31, 2009
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) sponsored the “Minnesota Energy Citizens’ Rally,” which brought people together to discuss how “Climate change legislation being considered in Washington DC means economic pain for Minnesota.” 
June 2, 2009
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota was a co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute‘s Third International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC3) in Washington, DC. 
March 8–10, 2009
The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota was a co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute‘s 2009 International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC2). 
DeSmogBlog researched the conference’s sponsors and found that sponsor organizations had received over $47 million in funding from energy companies and right-wing foundations, with 78% of that total coming from Scaife Family foundations. 
Freedom Foundation of Minnesota Contact & Location
As of June 2016, the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota listed the following contact information on its website: 
Freedom Foundation of Minnesota
520 Nicollet Mall, Suite 510
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Email: [email protected]
- State Policy Network (SPN) — Member. 
- Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity — Listed as “Statehouse News Bureau.” 
- @FreedomMN on Twitter.
- “Mission,” Freedom Foundation of Minnesota. Archived October 25, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6cYCNlpYy
- “Alliance for a Better Minnesota, Who’s in Charge: How Nationalized Corporate-Run Think Tanks Influence Minnesota Politics,” organizational report, November 13, 2013. Accessed at Scribd.
- Jerry Stenger. “Report links severe weather to global warming,” Will Steger Foundation, September 13, 2010. Archived June 5, 2012.
- “Freedom Foundation of Minnesota,” Conservative Transparency. Data retrieved July 5, 2016.
- “Staff,” Freedom Foundation of Minnesota. Archived October 25, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6cYDGSkfq
- “Staff,” Freedom Foundation of Minnesota. Archived April 24, 2012.
- “Board,” Freedom Foundation of Minnesota. Archived October 25, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6cYDR1dHF
- “Board,” Freedom Foundation of Minnesota. Archived April 10, 2012.
- “Cosponsors,” 7th International Conference on Climate Change. Archived May 10, 2012.
- Michael Fisher. “A Closer Look at Heartland’s ICCC7 Denial-a-Palooza Speakers and Sponsors,” DeSmogBlog, May 23, 2012.
- “FFM Bulletin 3/30/12”, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota. Archived October 25, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6cYCkLVER
- Olga Pierce, Jeff Larson and Lois Beckett. “The Hidden Hands in Redistricting: Corporations and Other Powerful Interests,” ProPublica, September 23, 2011. Archived October 25, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6cYEyKnss
- Tom Check. “Former MN Republican Party Chair backs Ron Paul,” Minnesota Public Radio, February 3, 2012. Archived October 25, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6cYFFCwwN
- Sixth International Conference on Climate Change Conference Program (PDF), the Heartland Institute. Archived July 25, 2015.
- Brendan DeMelle. “Denial-a-Palooza 6: Heartland’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, Courtesy of Koch, Scaife & Exxon,” DeSmogBlog, June 30, 2011.
- 4th International Conference on Climate Change Conference Program (PDF), The Heartland Institute.
- Brendan DeMelle. “Denial-a-palooza Round 4: ‘International Conference on Climate Change’ Groups Funded by Exxon, Koch Industries,” DeSmogBlog, May 13, 2010.
- “FFM Bulletin 9/28/09”, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota. Archived October 25, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6cYCnVgwU
- “FFM Bulletin 8/25/09”, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota. Archived October 25, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6cYCs9UuE
- “Co-Sponsors,” Third International Conference on Climate Change. Archived July 14, 2010.
- “Co-sponsors,” The 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, February 10, 2009. Archived February 27, 2009.
- “Heartland Institute’s 2009 Climate Conference in New York: funding history of the sponsors,” DeSmogBlog.
- “Directory,” State Policy Network. Accessed October 25, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6cYCzqXG3
- “Statehouse News Bureaus,” Franklin Centre for Government & Public Integrity. On file at SourceWatch.
- “Contact Us,” Freedom Foundation of Minnesota. Archived June 13, 2016. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6iFMMsO5n
- “Americans For Prosperity Leads Coalition Against Gas Tax Hike,” Americans for Prosperity, February 12, 2018. Archived February 20, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/vNQMN
- “Dear Representative:” (PDF), Americans for Prosperity, February 12, 2018.
- “41 Conservative Groups Support Scalise/McKinley Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution,” Americans for Tax Reform, July 18, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
- Nick Sobczyk. “House voting on anti-carbon-tax measure: ‘Pass the popcorn’,” E&E News, July 16, 2018. Archived Aug 2, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/aTP8h
- “Teaching opportunities from House Concurrent Resolution 119 (H.Con.Res.119)” (PDF), Citizens’ Climate Lobby, April 30, 2018.
- “Dear Senator Grassley, Senator Wyden, Representative Neal and Representative Brady:” May 9, 2019. Retrieved from The Daily Caller.
- Christ White. “CONSERVATIVES WARN LAWMAKERS: TESLA’S TAX CREDITS ‘OVERWHELMINGLY BENEFIT THE RICH’,”The Daily Caller, May 9, 2019. Archived May 9, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/qzvF3
- CAFE-Coaliton-to-Trump-April-2020-9 (PDF), American Energy Alliance.
- “Freedom Foundation of Minnesota,” SourceWatch.