Non-profit

Free State Foundation

Website:

freestatefoundation.org

Location:

Potomac, MD

Tax ID:

74-3160646

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2018):

Revenue: $1,242,772
Expenses: $954,431
Assets: $2,815,039

Formation:

2007

Type:

Non-profit

President:

Randolph May

President's Salary:

$295,120[36]

The Free State Foundation (FSF) is a nonpartisan, right-of-center public policy think tank that advocates for laws and policies promoting free enterprise, limited government, and the rule of law. FSF’s primary focus is on eliminating what it deems to be unnecessary and counterproductive regulations affecting the technology and communications industries. [1]

The Free State Foundation is an associate member of the State Policy Network, a coalition of free-market policy organizations that work on policy issues at the state level. [2]

Activity

Free State Foundation advocates for free enterprise especially regarding broadband operations like 5G wireless networks and claims that government competition against private providers infringes on free-market competition. FSF argues that policy related to commercial communications services is based on free market enterprise and that entry into the 5G market by federal agencies like the Department of Defense is inconsistent with this policy. FSF further claims that government involvement with broadband systems impedes private sector competition and risks taxpayer money. [3]

FSF has argued that government regulatory controls have too much power over communications, especially as it concerns telecommunication carrier regulations and content mandates for broadcasters. FSF has gone so far as to claim that that certain regulations violate constitutional protections around  freedom of speech, freedom of contract, private property protection, and private enterprise. [4]

FSF supports the repeal of so-called “net neutrality” restrictions and argues that communication technologies and internet service providers should receive First Amendment free speech protections. FSF claims that regulations dictating content to broadcast and cable services violate those providers’ editorial speech rights. FSF has argued that while the United States Constitution does not formally require a specific economic system, its support of private property rights encourages free enterprise. [5]

FSF further advocates for updating the Communications Act of 1996, signed under former President Bill Clinton, especially as it concerns the regulation of internet service providers. FSF claims that while Congress stated that the law’s purpose was “to promote competition and reduce regulation,” it instead paved the way for net neutrality policy that has hindered competition. FSF has argued that the Communications Act should be amended by deregulating communications providers and applying a competition-based standard to communications enterprises. [6]

In addition to the Communications Act, FSF has claimed that copyright law must be modernized by Congress through a new statute, especially as it relates to new technologies. FSF claims that merely reinstating existing copyright law would misstate the law, instead of clarifying it, and risks glossing the existing statute with left-of-center issue advocacy supported by groups like the American Law Institute (ALI). FSF has pointed to allegations that members of ALI use the organization’s prestige to shift legal doctrines to fit their preferences as an argument against following ALI recommendations to reinstate copyright protections without amendment. [7]

Funding

The Free State Foundation is funded by donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations primarily in the communications, entertainment, and information service fields. [8] While FSF does not disclose its donors, tax filings show notable donations from the Internet and Television Association (formerly the National Cable and Telecommunications Association), which contributed over between 2009 and 2018, [9] and the Motion Picture Association, which contributed between 2014 and 2017. [10]

People

Staff

Randolph J. May is the founder and president of the Free State Foundation. May formerly worked as director of communications policy studies at the Progress and Freedom Foundation and as Associate General Counsel at the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). May formerly sat as chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice and as a public member of the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS). May is a fellow at the National Academy of Public Administration and a senior fellow at ACUS. [11]

Seth Cooper is the director of policy studies and a senior fellow at FSF. Cooper formerly worked as the director of the telecommunications and information technology task force at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and is a former fellow at the right-of-center Claremont Institute. [12]

Richard Epstein is a distinguished adjunct senior scholar at FSF. Epstein is a former senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a former senior fellow at the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago Medical School. [13]

Donna Coleman Gregg is an adjunct senior fellow at FSF. Gregg formerly served as a Senior Policy Advisor to the White House Office of Science and Technology, as Chief of the FCC’s Media Bureau, and as vice president of legal and regulatory affairs at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Gregg currently serves as co-chair of the Federal Communications Bar Association’s Law Journal Committee. [14]

Andrew Long is a senior fellow at FSF. Long formerly worked as vice president and assistant chief regulatory counsel at Time Warner Cable and as Associate Chief of the FCC’s Media Bureau. [15]

Kate Manuel is an adjunct senior fellow at FSF. Manuel formerly worked as an associate legal advisor  for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and as a legislative attorney at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress. [16]

Laurie May is an adjunct senior fellow and secretary-treasurer of FSF. May formerly worked as a project director at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America and the National Academy of Public Administration. May also worked as Direct of Organizational Management and Integrity Staff at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). [17]

Board of Academic Advisors

Jonathan Adler is a senior fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center and sits on the academic advisory board of the Cato Institute Supreme Court Review, the board of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, and the press advisory board at the Environmental Law Institute (ELI). Adler formerly worked as director of environmental studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and received the Paul M. Bator Award from the Federalist Society for Law and Policy Studies in 2004. [18]

Enrique Armijo sits as an elected member of the American Law Institute. [19]

Theodore Bolema sits on the board of scholars at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Bolema formerly worked as the director for policy research editing at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, as a trial attorney with the antitrust division of the Department of Justice, and as a policy advisor to the Office of Policy, Planning, and Analysis at the Department of Energy. [20]

Donald Boudreaux is a senior fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research and the Mercatus Center, where he sits on the board. [21] Boudreaux formerly worked as the president of the Foundation for Economic Education. [22]

Tim Brennan is a senior fellow at Resources for the Future. Brennan formerly worked as Chief Economist at the FCC, Staff Economist for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, and Senior Economist for Industrial Organization and Regulation with the White House Council of Economic Advisers. [23]

Michelle Connolly formerly worked as Chief Economist at the FCC and as an economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. [24]

Robert Crandall is a non-resident senior fellow in the economic studies program at the left-of-center Brookings Institution and at the Technology Policy Institute. Crandall formerly worked as the assistant director of the Council on Wage and Price Stability. [25]

Diane M. Disney sits on the board of the National Academy of Public Administration. Disney formerly served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. [26]

Justin (Gus) Hurwitz is the director for law and economics programing at the International Center for Law and Economics. Hurwitz formerly worked as a trial attorney for the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice in the telecommunications and media enforcement section. [27]

Stan Liebowitz is a research fellow at the Independent Institute and the director of the Center for the Analysis of Property Rights and Innovation. [28]

Adam Mossoff is a senior fellow and chair of the Forum for Intellectual Property at the Hudson Institute, a visiting intellectual property fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and a board member at the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding. [29]

Bruce Owen formerly worked as the director of the Stanford Public Policy Program, as Chief Economist of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, and as Chief Economist in the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy. [30]

Richard J. Pierce, Jr. sits as a member of the Administrative Conference of the United States. [31]

James Prieger formerly worked as a senior economist for the FCC. [32]

Glen Robinson formerly worked as FCC Commissioner and as a communications consultant to the U.S. Department of State. [33]

Christopher Walker formerly worked for the civil appellate staff at the Department of Justice and as an academic fellow on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Walker currently serves as a public member of the Administrative Conference of the United States and on the governing council for the American Bar Association’s Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice. [34]

Joshua Wright is the executive director of the Global Antitrust Institute. Wright formerly served as a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). [35]

References

  1. “Our Mission.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/our-mission-2/. ^
  2. “The Network: Maryland.” State Policy Network, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://spn.org/directory/#MD. ^
  3. May, Randolph J., Cooper, Seth L., and Long, Andrew. “A Primer: Communications Policy Priorities for 2021 Do’s and Don’ts for Policymakers.” Free State Foundation, January 6, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/A-PRIMER-%E2%80%93-COMMUNICATIONS-POLICY-PRIORITIES-FOR-2021-Dos-and-Donts-for-Policymakers-010621.pdf. ^
  4. May, Randolph J. and Cooper, Seth L. “The Constitutional Foundations of Communications Law and Policy.” Free State Foundation, March 3, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/The-Constitutional-Foundations-of-Communications-Law-and-Policy-030321.pdf. ^
  5. May, Randolph J. and Cooper, Seth L. “The Constitutional Foundations of Communications Law and Policy.” Free State Foundation, March 3, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/The-Constitutional-Foundations-of-Communications-Law-and-Policy-030321.pdf. ^
  6. May, Randolph J. “On Its Silver Anniversary, Let’s Modernize the Telecom Act of 1996.” Free State Foundation, February 8, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021.  https://freestatefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/On-Its-Silver-Anniversary-Lets-Modernize-the-Telecom-Act-of-1996-020821-1.pdf. ^
  7. Cooper, Seth L. “Copyright Law Needs a Modernization, Not a Restatement.” Free State Foundation, March 5, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Copyright-Law-Needs-a-Modernization-Not-a-Restatement-030521.pdf. ^
  8. “Donate.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/donate/. ^
  9. NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2009-2018, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  10. Motion Picture Association Inc., Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2014-2017, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  11. “Senior Fellows and Staff.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/senior-fellows-and-staff/. ^
  12. “Senior Fellows and Staff.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/senior-fellows-and-staff/. ^
  13. “Senior Fellows and Staff.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/senior-fellows-and-staff/. ^
  14. “Senior Fellows and Staff.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/senior-fellows-and-staff/. ^
  15. “Senior Fellows and Staff.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/senior-fellows-and-staff/. ^
  16. “Senior Fellows and Staff.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/senior-fellows-and-staff/. ^
  17. “Senior Fellows and Staff.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/senior-fellows-and-staff/. ^
  18. “About.” Jonathan H. Adler. Accessed March 7, 2021. http://www.jhadler.net/. ^
  19. “Professor Enrique Armijo.” The American Law Institute, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://www.ali.org/members/member/446778/. ^
  20. “Dr. Theodore Bolema.” Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://www.mackinac.org/bio.aspx?ID=387. ^
  21. “Donald J. Boudreaux.” American Institute for Economic Research, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://www.aier.org/staffs/donald-j-boudreaux/. ^
  22. “Board of Academic Advisors.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/board-of-academic-advisors/. ^
  23. “Board of Academic Advisors.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/board-of-academic-advisors/. ^
  24. “Board of Academic Advisors.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/board-of-academic-advisors/. ^
  25. “Board of Academic Advisors.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/board-of-academic-advisors/. ^
  26. “Diane M. Disney.” LinkedIn, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/diane-m-disney-5a0aaba/. ^
  27. “Justin (Gus) Hurwitz.” University of Nebraska – Lincoln, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://law.unl.edu/justin-gus-hurwitz/. ^
  28. “Stan J. Liebowitz.” Independent Institute, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=533. ^
  29. “Adam Mossoff.” George Mason University. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://www.law.gmu.edu/faculty/directory/fulltime/mossoff_adam. ^
  30. “Bruce Owen.” Stanford University. Accessed March 7, 2021. https://publicpolicy.stanford.edu/people/bruce-owen. ^
  31. “Board of Academic Advisors.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/board-of-academic-advisors/. ^
  32. “Board of Academic Advisors.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/board-of-academic-advisors/. ^
  33. “Board of Academic Advisors.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/board-of-academic-advisors/. ^
  34. “Board of Academic Advisors.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/board-of-academic-advisors/. ^
  35. “Board of Academic Advisors.” The Free State Foundation, 2021. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://freestatefoundation.org/board-of-academic-advisors/. ^
  36. Free State Foundation, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Part VII, Section A, Line 1a. ^

Coalition Memberships

  1. State Policy Network (SPN)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 2007

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2018 Dec Form 990 $1,242,772 $954,431 $2,815,039 $0 N $1,199,282 $0 $43,411 $368,136 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $1,041,133 $918,185 $2,542,329 $0 N $1,020,515 $0 $20,596 $348,560 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $943,367 $764,049 $2,379,970 $15,250 N $923,158 $0 $19,116 $327,628
    2015 Dec Form 990 $961,718 $702,241 $2,168,904 $0 N $949,790 $0 $11,640 $312,449 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $859,362 $602,492 $1,914,994 $0 N $853,315 $0 $5,884 $294,657 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $964,682 $589,185 $1,647,693 $0 N $960,290 $0 $3,703 $273,189 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $802,208 $547,335 $1,262,298 $0 N $797,500 $0 $4,708 $250,333 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $666,039 $491,034 $1,007,425 $0 N $659,725 $0 $6,171 $232,000 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Free State Foundation

    10701 STAPLEFORD HALL DR
    Potomac, MD 20854-4448