You have a right to know who might come knocking on your door.

Meet the Freedom Foundation’s Canvassers

The anti-worker Freedom Foundation, which is also operating under the unregistered name “Opt Out Today,” has collected the personal information of thousands of public workers throughout the Northwest. Now they’re giving this information to the few operatives they have, with no regard for your personal privacy or safety. Freedom Foundation staff have been known to show up unannounced at workers’ doors in various canvass efforts. We’ve already heard reports of these canvassers lying to and being overly aggressive toward union members.

The Freedom Foundation has demonstrated disregard for public workers’ safety. It’s in the public interest that these canvassers and staff who canvass are made known.

Some Freedom Foundation staff members have openly made racist, homophobic, and misogynistic statements, including blaming immigrant parents for their children being taken away and mocking survivors of domestic abuse. The Freedom Foundation even hired a convicted violent felon who once joked about bringing a gun to the homes of union members. Some of the canvassers are college students with no previous experience in labor, no real knowledge of the movement, and no understanding of the repercussions their actions can have on the livelihoods of working people.

This website will be updated as we learn more. You can help us expose the Freedom Foundation by reporting canvassers when you see them.

Oregon

Aaron Withe

Director, Freedom Foundation Oregon

Hired:

Previous Experience: No previous organizing experience, Basketball player at Corban University

Birthdate:

Address: 859 Crouchen St. NW, Salem, OR 97304

Last Seen: July 2, 2018, Salem, OR

Additional Information:

  • Good friends with CEO Tom McCabe's son

Rebekah Millard

Oregon Litigation Counsel

Hired:

Previous Experience: Former attorney for the Life Legal Defense Foundation, a staunchly anti-choice group. LLDF has represented David Daleiden, who is currently charged with 15 counts of felony invasion of privacy after posing as a fake fetal tissue procurement company in an attempt to smear Planned Parenthood health clinics.

Birthdate: July 10, 1985

Address: 522 Brookdale Ave., Springfield, OR 97477

Last Seen:

Jason Dudash

Assistant Oregon Director

Hired:

Previous Experience: Worked in the Oregon Senate Republican office and was a campaign manager on an Oregon House race. Graduated from Corban University, a headquarters of hatred and bigotry in the Northwest, with its extreme anti-LGBTQ policies and professors including those that actively promote the highly destructive and abusive practice of “gay conversion therapy.” The Corban student handbook mandates that students who identify with the LGBTQ community must remain celibate and refrain from dating.

Birthdate: Aug. 17, 1996

Address: 225 Kashmir Ct SE Salem, OR 97306

Last Seen:

Additional Information:

Boaz Dillon

Policy Analyst

Hired: Aug. 2018

Previous Experience: Graduated in 2018 from Corban University, a headquarters of hatred and bigotry in the Northwest, with its extreme anti-LGBTQ policies and professors including those that actively promote the highly destructive and abusive practice of “gay conversion therapy.” The Corban student handbook mandates that students who identify with the LGBTQ community must remain celibate and refrain from dating.

Birthdate: April 12, 1996

Address: 4663 Campbell Dr SE, Apt 257, Salem, OR 97317

Last Seen:

Additional Information:

Mike Nearman

Oregon Director

Hired: Aug. 2019

Previous Experience: Former vice president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, an anti-immigrant hate group with ties to eugenicist John Tanton, who has pushed white nationalist politics through a series of anti-immigrant organizations. Nearman once called developmentally disabled workers "subsidized workers," has opposed expanding healthcare to low-income Oregonians referring to it as "candy," and even opposed making insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions. He has openly defended racist Arizona sheriff, Joe Arpaio, and has called for the privatization of education. His key political donors are a veritable who’s who of extreme right-wing organizations including the anti-LGBTQ Oregon Family Council.

Birthdate: March 14, 1964

Address: 2570 Greenwood Rd S, Independence, OR 97351

Last Seen:

Additional Information:

Rebecca Taylor

Outreach Associate

Hired: Summer 2018

Previous Experience: Currently a senior at Concordia University, where she is a member of the basketball team. Concordia University is a private, Christian university in Portland, OR. Taylor is from Birmingham, England.

Birthdate:

Address:

Last Seen: July 2, 2018, Salem, OR

Hannah Cooksey

Paralegal, Freedom Foundation

Hired: June 2017

Previous Experience: Interned for Life Legal Defense Foundation, a staunchly anti-choice group. LLDF has represented David Daleiden, who is currently charged with 15 counts of felony invasion of privacy after posing as a fake fetal tissue procurement company in an attempt to smear Planned Parenthood health clinics. Cooksey was homeschooled through high school, graduated in 2016, and went on to complete the paralegal program at Oak Brook College of Law, an unaccredited "Christian Correspondence Law School."

Birthdate: April 30, 1996

Address: 2709 NE McDonald Lane, McMinnville, OR 97128

Last Seen: July 2, 2018, Salem, OR

Grace Helland

Paralegal,

Hired: June 2017

Previous Experience: Homeschooled, then completed the paralegal program at Oak Brook College of Law, an unaccredited "Christian Correspondence Law School"

Birthdate: January 1, 2000

Address: 39074 Mountain Home Dr Lebanon, OR 97355

Last Seen:

Elmer Callahan

Hired:

Previous Experience:

Birthdate:

Address:

Last Seen: September 20, 2018 Lane County, OR

Tony Walker

Hired:

Previous Experience:

Birthdate:

Address:

Last Seen: Sept. 20, 2018, Lane County, OR

Unknown

Hired:

Previous Experience:

Birthdate:

Address:

Last Seen: July 2, 2018, Salem, OR

Unknown

Hired:

Previous Experience:

Birthdate:

Address:

Last Seen: July 2, 2018, Salem, OR

Unknown

Hired:

Previous Experience:

Birthdate:

Address:

Last Seen: July 2, 2018, Salem, OR

Unknown

Hired:

Previous Experience:

Birthdate:

Address:

Last Seen: July 2, 2018, Salem, OR

Unknown

Hired:

Previous Experience:

Birthdate:

Address:

Last Seen: July 2, 2018, Salem, OR

Unknown

Hired:

Previous Experience:

Birthdate:

Address:

Last Seen: July 2, 2018, Salem, OR

Washington

Meghan Rhodes

Administrative Assistant

Hired:

Previous Experience: Daughter of Freedom Foundation's managing editor, Jeff Rhodes

Birthdate: Sept. 22, 1989

Address: 3124 Rustlewood Ln SE Port Orchard, WA 98366

Last Seen:

James Abernathy

Senior Litigation Counsel

Hired: Dec. 2014

Previous Experience: Was a "Blackstone Legal Fellow" trained by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative and virulently anti-LGBTQ legal group designated a “Hate Group” by the well-respected SPLC in its 2017 annual report. The Southern Policy Law Center said of ADF, “Leaders of the legal advocacy organization and its affiliated lawyers have regularly demonized LGBT people, falsely linking them to pedophilia, calling them ‘evil’ and a threat to children and society, and blaming them for the ‘persecution of devout Christians.' The group also has supported the criminalization of homosexuality in several countries.” Abernathy interned with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a group that works specifically to undercut the collective power of American workers. He also interned with Americans United for Life, an extremist group that advocates against contraception, stem cell research, and euthanasia.

Birthdate: Oct. 31, 1979

Address: 119 Hudson Lane SE, Apt K102, Olympia, WA 98513

Last Seen:

Jennifer Matheson

Paralegal

Hired: Dec. 2017

Previous Experience: Was a law enforcement official before joining the Freedom Foundation

Birthdate: Feb. 25, 1970

Address: 2101 18th Ave. SE, Olympia, WA 98501

Last Seen:

Sydney Philips

Litigation Counsel

Hired: Nov. 2018

Previous Experience: Graduated from Liberty University School of Law in 2018. Liberty is an Evangelical Christian school.

Birthdate: Sept. 3, 1993

Address: Olympia, WA

Last Seen:

Eric Stahlfeld

Chief Litigation Counsel

Hired:

Previous Experience: Attorney, previously served in the Reagan administration

Birthdate: March 12, 1958

Address: 2310 SW 118th Court, Burien, WA 98146

Last Seen:

Gerrit Shilman

Director of Administration and Finance

Hired:

Previous Experience: Worked as an accountant and a finance director in the private sector before joining the Freedom Foundation. Shilman worked at Olympia Public Accounting, which specialized in non-profit organizations.

Birthdate: June 26, 1959

Address: 1324 Johnson Rd, Centralia, WA 98531

Last Seen:

Mark Dalan

VP of Development

Hired: March 2017

Previous Experience: Dalan was a Christian pastor prior to joining Freedom Foundation. Dalan received his Bachelor's degree from Northwest University, a Christian college in Washington.

Birthdate: Sept. 19, 1957

Address: 3942 Amelia Ct NE Lacey, WA 98516

Last Seen:

Jeff Rhodes

Managing Editor

Hired: Aug. 2011

Previous Experience: Rhodes served in the Army and has spent the majority of his professional life working as a journalist in West Virginia and Washington. Rhodes was the editor of the Business Examiner newspaper in Tacoma, WA.

Birthdate:

Address:

Last Seen:

Jonathan Abel

Multimedia Designer

Hired: Nov. 2018

Previous Experience: Abel worked on multiple Republican state legislature races in Washington, including acting as the campaign manager for Dan Matthews.

Birthdate: March 25, 1988

Address: 4406 E 51st Ln Spokane, WA 99223

Last Seen:

Jami Lund

Senior Policy Analyst

Hired: Aug. 2011

Previous Experience: Lund developed policy for the Washington House Republican Caucus and worked on the Freedom Foundation's "Teachers Paycheck Protection" project, the organization's first Supreme Court case.

Birthdate: Nov. 17, 1965

Address: 160 Wakefield Dr Centralia, WA 98531

Last Seen:

Brian Minnich

Executive Vice President

Hired: December 2014

Previous Experience: Worked for CEO Tom McCabe at the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW). Under McCabe's leadership, the BIAW mutated into a rabid political machine funded by a scheme that siphoned money from Washington's workers' compensation program. McCabe said, “We want to do to government what government agencies have done to many of our members – shut them down. I personally yearn for the day when the mammoth state Department of Labor and Industries is closed down, windows shuttered, with weeds growing all over its sprawling campus.” On the hook for dropping $6 million of BIAW's money into Dino Rossi's failed gubernatorial campaign, McCabe agreed to leave the organization. Minnich rejoined McCabe at the Freedom Foundation. Minnich also worked as a legislative assistant to Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Birthdate: Jan. 9, 1963

Address: 1009 Surrey Trace SE, Tumwater, WA 98501

Last Seen:

Additional Information:

Mike Balascak

Multimedia Specialist

Hired: June 2018

Previous Experience: Prior to working at the Freedom Foundation, Balascak worked for his family's construction business.

Birthdate: Sept. 1, 1990

Address: 1110 130th St E Tacoma, WA 98445

Last Seen:

Meggan Goudy

Advancement Associate

Hired: Oct. 2014

Previous Experience: Goudy currently works part time at the Freedom Foundation. Prior to joining the Freedom Foundation she worked as a consultant for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Birthdate: May 15, 1980

Address: 494 Z St SE, Tumwater, WA 98501

Last Seen:

Jennifer Kelly

Development Manager

Hired: Jan. 2006

Previous Experience: Worked at a Christian retail store for eight years

Birthdate:

Address:

Last Seen:

Tamen

Hired:

Previous Experience:

Birthdate:

Address:

Last Seen: March 13, Olympia

Matthew Hayward

Outreach Director, Freedom Foundation

Hired: 2014

Previous Experience: Washington State Department of Agriculture, Washington 9/11 Investigators

Birthdate: Dec. 1981

Address: 8019 188th Ave. SW, Rochester, WA 98579

Last Seen: June 27, Tumwater, WA

Additional Information:

  • Convicted violent felon
  • Joked about bringing a gun to the homes of union members
  • Wrote that he would not comply with Washington State's new voter-approved gun laws

TJ Mohammed

Hired: Summer 2018

Previous Experience: Spokane Community College College Republicans

Birthdate:

Address:

Last Seen: Aug. 6, 2018 in Pierce County

Unknown

Hired:

Previous Experience:

Birthdate:

Address:

Last Seen: June 27, 2018, Tumwater, WA

Jac Cates

Hired:

Previous Experience:

Birthdate: April 1968

Address: 404 N. Western Ave., Wenatchee, WA 98801

Last Seen: June 27, Tumwater, WA

Additional Information:

Tom McCabe

CEO, Freedom Foundation

Hired: 2013

Previous Experience: Building Industry Association of Washington

Birthdate: June 21, 1957

Address: 1424 10th Ave SW, Olympia, WA 98502

Last Seen:

Additional Information:

Maxford Nelsen

Director of Labor Policy, Freedom Foundation

Hired: 2013

Previous Experience: Washington Policy Center, Heritage Foundation

Birthdate: Nov. 1990

Address: 1325 Wisteria Drive SE, Olympia, WA 98513

Last Seen:

DC

Tom Bako

Director of Foundation Development

Hired: Nov. 2017

Previous Experience: Former Director of Foundations & Investor Communications at the Harrisburg, PA-based Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives, a right-wing pressure group that is a part of the State Policy Network. The Commonwealth Foundation also has ties to another right-wing policy group, ALEC. Bako was also a Research Intern for the The Heritage Foundation, right-wing think tank.

Birthdate:

Address: 5901 Medora Rd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

Last Seen:

Additional Information:

Ashley Varner

VP of Communications & Federal Affairs

Hired: Nov. 2018

Previous Experience: Former media spokesperson for fringe right-wing groups including the National Rifle Association, whose CEO recently compared protests against Donald Trump to the Islamic State's desire for violence to bring about a worldwide caliphate. Their television station, "NRA TV," regularly promotes conspiracy theories and white nationalism, such as when NRA TV host Grant Stinchfield accused the Black Lives Matter movement of trying to start a race war, warning that if the group is successful in its goal of curtailing the epidemic of unarmed black men being shot by police, white families will be tortured and killed. The NRA has also been accused of neglecting to defend the Second Amendment rights of people of color, including when they failed to speak out in the case of Philando Castile, an African-American man with a firearm permit who was murdered by police in Minnesota. Varner was also a communications professional for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing, pro-corporate bill mill that has pushed legislation including the Stand Your Ground laws that allowed for the murderer of Travon Martin to face no jail time.

Birthdate: July 19, 1980

Address:500 Roosevelt Blvd., Apt 111, Falls Church, VA 22044

Last Seen:

Additional Information:

Kirby Hartley

Regional Development Associate

Hired: Jan. 2019

Previous Experience: Former teacher in Florida and Virginia; Director of Outreach at Classic Learning Initiatives, an education start-up that is focused on providing an alternative to standardized tests

Birthdate: Dec. 24, 1992

Address: 4517 Taney Ave Apt 301 Alexandria, VA 22304

Last Seen:

Board of Directors

Charlie Conner

Board Member

Hired:

Previous Experience: A multimillionaire King County land developer with a track record of environmental recklessness on his projects, including building family homes over land poisoned with arsenic. His company has been sued repeatedly for shoddy construction on new homes, with customers alleging “some or all of the units may be uninhabitable.” Conner has defaulted on enormous bank loans, letting half-finished developments slip into foreclosure. Also a major supporter of Pacific Legal Foundation, a group pursuing re-segregation in American schools.

Birthdate: Dec. 1, 1955

Address: 3001 Mountain View Ave. N, Renton, WA 98056

Last Seen:

Charles Diesing

Board Member

Hired:

Previous Experience: A former real estate investor who contributed thousands of dollars to State Senator Hans Zeiger's campaign. Zeiger notoriously voted against a bill that would ban using the extremely dangerous practice of "conversion therapy" on LGBTQ Youth.

Birthdate: Jan. 18, 1941

Address: 23751 Rim Road, Graham, WA 98338

Last Seen:

Michael Appleby

Board Member

Hired:

Previous Experience: While admitting that he benefits from a union-earned pension himself, Appleby has been vocally critical of unions, reposting articles and videos on Facebook such as one claiming that the public sector labor movement has become “nothing but an ATM from which the radical left withdraws the savings of hard-working members…”

Birthdate: Sept. 30, 1962

Address: 16653 69th Way, Bellevue, WA 98006

Last Seen:

Laurie Lyford

Board Member

Hired:

Previous Experience: While president of the Washington Sensible Shorelines Association (WSSA), she lobbied the Bellevue City Council to alter the city’s Shoreline Master Program to reduce restrictions on waterfront property owners that were intended to protect Lake Sammamish and the surrounding environment. The Washington Department of Ecology refused to approve the plan, noting that the plan did not meet standards for preventing the “loss of ecological function.” Lyford has also shared articles opposing divestment from fossil fuels, opposing Governor Inslee’s environmental protection efforts, and an article titled, “Barack Obama is trying to make the US a more socialist state.”

Birthdate: Nov. 10, 1957

Address: 9529 Lake Washington Blvd. NE, Bellevue, WA 98004

Last Seen:

Hans Stoker

Board Member

Hired: prior to 2013

Previous Experience: Openly defended Trump's family separation policy that resulted in some immigrant children being taken from their parents and held in cages, saying, "This has been in effect for years, but is being promoted as a new policy inflicted by Mr. Trump. That is simply not true."

Birthdate: April 25, 1956

Address: 6945 76th Ave. NE, Olympia, WA 98516

Last Seen:

Jeff Cysewski

Board Member

Hired:

Previous Experience: Former owner of a for-profit medical billing corporation who wrote a letter to the editor railing against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying that the government "wishes to drive out of business privately-run enterprises," calling it a state-run monopoly, and claiming it would result in the loss of health care privacy.

Birthdate: Dec. 19, 1959

Address: 314 8th Ave., Kirkland, WA 98033

Last Seen:

Steve Neighbors

Board Member

Hired: 2005

Previous Experience: While chairman of the TERRA Staffing Group, a Washington temporary labor agency, he vocally opposed legislation that gives paid family and medical leave to workers, accusing it of constraining business. “It’s just another tax, another labor expense,” he said. He also argued against raising the minimum wage, saying, “I get really nervous when I see a bold, bold thing like this happening that could cause a real destabilization in our economy."

Birthdate: Sept. 14, 1950

Address: 4611 State Route 92 Lake Stevens, WA 98258

Last Seen:

Richard Rokes

Board Member

Hired:

Previous Experience: Donated repeatedly to failed politician Dino Rossi, who proposed cutting 45,000 children from health coverage through Washington Medicaid.

Birthdate: May 2, 1937

Address: 6023 Troon Lane SE, Olympia, WA 98501

Last Seen:

Tim McMahon

Board Member

Hired:

Previous Experience: Donated repeatedly to failed politician Dino Rossi, who proposed cutting 45,000 children from health coverage through Washington Medicaid

Birthdate: July 23, 1946

Address: 15550 Sandy Hook Rd NE, Poulsbo, WA 98370

Last Seen: