Remember the name of Foster Friess. The Wyoming born-again billionaire mutual fund manager has been lauded by the Koch brothers at their 2011 secret shindig for giving more than $1M to Koch-friendly causes. Never heard of him? That's the way he's wanted it. After Rick Santorum's huge pop in Iowa, though, a flashlight into the cockroach-infested giving of the SuperPACs to Santorum's campaign flushed him out of the shadows.
Working on my weekly piece for Truth-2-Power, I was fascinated by how Rick Santorum won Iowa. I'm going with Rachel Maddow's story on Friday that there was a miscount:
As I note in my piece, Santorum Rises Armed with Super PAC Nukes, not Populist Wave, two of these new post-Citizens United Super PACs, which can drop unlimited money into the campaign, sprang up in October and December. The James Dobson-associated Leaders for Families Super PAC, Inc and an Alexandria, Virginia based Super Pac called the Red White and Blue Fund popped up in December and October of 2011, respectively.
Before Leaders for Families could even file a source document with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), it opened and closed, having spend hundreds of thousands on Santorum in radio ads and robo-calls.
It's the Red White and Blue Fund, though, that looks like it will be pushing Santorum through the leading edge primaries. That fund is mostly the cash of Foster Friess.
So who is Foster Friess? I did some digging for the article and for Sourcewatch.org, to which I contribute information when I come across it, to help others researching these shadow groups and millions donated by billionaires trying to use the electorate to their advantage.
Friess is a member of the Council for National Policy a sort of United Nations of the Christian and Libertarian far Right, where the web of astroturf grass roots groups, think tanks, PACs and Super PACs, as well as their bilDead Billionaires' Clubhe Dead Billionaires' Club (DBC) meet to coordinate and discuss policy. He was acknowledged at the privately held Koch seminar in June 2011 in Vail, Colorado for donating at least $1 million to Koch-related causes.
Friess gives to conservative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, and to education groups that advocate for school voucher programs, including the Alliance for School Choice. In the near future, Friess expects to make grants to advocate for the FairTax — which would replace the current federal system of taxation with a tax on retail sales.
He has been an active patron contributing millions to a number of religious and conservative causes including:
- He was a big supporter of George W. Bush and now backs Santorum.
- Private Sector Solutions, a network of leaders developing private sector solutions to augment, preempt or replace government services
- LibForAll and other groups building a global counter-extremism network
- Opposition to national health reform through patient-driven health care activist group Free Market Cure and other groups
- Breaking down public education through contributions to the Alliance for School Choice, All Children Matter and others
- Friess was instrumental in pouring money into the political campaign of presidential hopeful Rick Santorum in 2012 by way of a Super PAC called the "Red White and Blue Fund" he told NBC News. He also funded $250,000 in support for Santorum's failed re-election bid in 2006.
- He has made large donations to the Republican Governors' Association
- Freiss reportedly has put more than $3M into conservative commentator Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller website.
Friess has deep pockets and we can expect that he will be active in the rise of Super PACs now and in future.