American Stewards of Liberty

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American Stewards of Liberty is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that purports to "protect private property rights and the liberties they secure". The organization was born out of the merger of the American Land Foundation and Stewards of Range in 2009. On their website they self report, "we challenge the policies that seek to undermine American's ability to produce the food, fiber, energy, and minerals our nation needs. We confront the radical environmental movement, which believes the administrative state, not individuals, should determine how people use their land."[1]

While ASL generally focuses on local and county issues, it is a major actor in the opposition to President Biden's "America the Beautiful" initiative, commonly referred to as "30x30", which promotes the goal of conserving 30-percent of American lands and waters by 2030. ASL provides model legislation for counties wanting to oppose any 30x30 efforts, and as of July 2022, the legislation has been adopted in 139 different counties.[2]

ASL is also heavily involved in a "delisting" movement in opposition to the Endangered Species Act. Their website hosts a page dedicated to their past and present delisting projects.

News and Controversies

Call for IRS Investigation against ASL

Accountable.US renewed its request May 2022 that the IRS investigate ASL for violating its tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It cites extensive lobbying efforts, supporting Congressional bills, providing platforms for politicians, and working closely with Nebraska Gov. Ricketts on legislation as reasons for the recall. They say in their original request that ASL has "a primary objective that may be attained only by legislation or defeat of proposed legislation".[3]

ASL Co-Hosts Workshop Investigated for 'Open Meeting Law' Violations

Idaho county commissioners co-hosted a land use workshop May 2022 with ASL that was investigated by Custer County prosecutor Justin Oleson for violating Idaho's 'Open Meetings Law', which requires all meetings of governing bodies be open and accessible to the public.[4] Oleson determined no violation, as the workshop did not qualify as a meeting.[5]

ASL Hosts 'Stop 30x30' Event

American Stewards of Liberty hosted a daylong summit on Earth Day to educate attendees on "how to protect America and our property rights from the 30x30 radical environmental agenda".[6] The event's sponsors were strong actors in the climate change denial movement, including the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, The Heritage Foundation, and The Heartland Institute.[7]

Keynote speakers:

  • Pete Ricketts, Nebraska Governor
  • David Bernhardt, former Secretary of the Department of the Interior
  • Lauren Boebert, Colorado Representative
  • Becky Norton Dunlop, Heritage Foundation Fellow
  • Kevin Cramer, North Dakota Senator

At the summit, Governor Ricketts discussed the Biden administration program "America the Beautiful" which aims to preserve 30-percent U.S. lands and waters by 2030. Ricketts said, "They're not going to come and seize the land. Even they know they don't have the authority to do that. It's going to be far more nefarious."[8] Ricketts issued a "Stop 30x30" executive order June 2021, making him the first governor to express opposition to the "American the Beautiful" program.[9] ASL has called the "America the Beautiful" initiative "a massive land grab" and a transfer of power "to a movement that has been working to abolish private property for decades".[10]

ASL Compares Conservationist Movement to Genocide

Nebraska radio show host Trent Loos, who is a part of the anti-30x30 campaign claimed the ecology movement is rooted in Hitler's Nazi Germany, an opinion not refuted by Byfield when she was asked directly for a response.[11] At a South Dakota training session, one of the attendees voiced an opinion that 30x30 was reminiscent of the famine in Ukraine under genocidist Josef Stalin's rule of the Soviet Union. The Huffpost reports that Bifield responded, "I agree. That's what I see coming if we don't stop it." Loos then said, "I can draw those parallels to the Ukraine. I can draw those parallels to Hitler from '33 to '39. And history does repeat itself."[12]

Climate Change Denial

American Stewards of Liberty provides a guide on fighting the 30x30 initiative. The Huffington Post reports the guide says, "there is no credible scientific reasoning or facts that support the need to preserve any specific amount of land to 'cure' climate change."[7]

Strong ally of ASL, Nebraska Gov. Ricketts was quoted saying that the 30x30 initiative is "not based on any science or data".[7]

Executive Director Margaret Byfield

ASL Executive Director Margaret Byfield is the daughter of E. Wayne Hage and Jean N. Hage, who entered into a legal battle with the United States after a series of grazing and maintenance permit violations.[13] Her parents were also involved in the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1990s,[14] which was a violent epoch in the Sagebrush Rebellion that resulted in multiple bombings.[15]

Ties to ALEC

ASL has denied any working relationship with the American Legislative Exchange Council in the past,[16] but Executive Director Margaret Byfield sat on an ALEC panel about 30x30 in 2021 alongside former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and ALEC board member Rep. Dan Laursen (R-WY).[17]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's, and check out breaking news on our site.

Ties to the Koch Network

A bulk of American Stewards's funding comes from Donors Capital Fund and DonorsTrust, which receive millions from the Koch network each year.

Koch Wiki

Charles Koch is the right-wing billionaire owner of Koch Industries. As one of the richest people in the world, he is a key funder of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on Charles Koch and his late brother David include: Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, Stand Together, Koch Family Foundations, Koch Universities, and I360.


American Stewards of Liberty is not required to disclose its funders. Its major foundation funders, however, can be found through a search of IRS filings. Here are the know funders of American Stewards of Liberty:

  • Donors Capital Fund: $170,000 (2015-2019)
  • DonorsTrust: $2,000 (2017)
  • National Christian Charitable Foundation: $4,900 (2014-2017)
  • Patton Foundation: $10,000 (2012)
  • Richard M. Connor Sr. & Florence B. Connor Memorial Foundation: $400 (2017-2019)

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $203,565
  • Total Expenses: $294,175
  • Net Assets: -$16,181



As of July 2022:[19]

  • Dan Byfield, CEO

Board of Directors

As of July 2022:[19]

  • Mike Dail, Chairman
  • Margaret Byfield, Executive Director
  • Porter J. Martin
  • Philip Martin

Former Directors

  • Carolyn Carey, Vice Chairman

Contact Information

Employer Identification Number (EIN): 74-2726757
American Stewards of Liberty, Inc.
P.O Box 801
Georgetown, TX 78627

Articles and Resources

IRS Filings


Annual Reports




  1. American Stewards of Liberty, American Stewards of Liberty About, "ASL", accessed July 18, 2022.
  2. American Stewards of Liberty", Passed Resolutions, "ASL", accessed July 19 2022.
  3. Accountable.US, Citing Additional Evidence, Watchdog Renews Call for IRS to Investigate Lobbying by American Stewards of Liberty, "Accountable.US", May 16, 2022.
  4. Idaho Legislature, Open Meetings Law, "Idaho Legislature", 2015.
  5. Nicole Blanchard, Idaho prosecutor: No open meeting law violation at county land use workshop, "Idaho Statesman", July 11, 2022.
  6. American Stewards of Liberty, 2022 National Conference, "ASL", April 22, 2022
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Chris D'Angelo, How Nebraska's Governor Became a General in a Right-Wing War Against Biden's Conservation Goal, "Huffpost", April 22, 2022.
  8. Jennifer Yachin, Opponents of 30x30 seize on conservation law to block easements, "Greenwire", May 2, 2022.
  9. David Armiak, Republicans, Climate Deniers, and Ranchers Gather on Earth Day to Stop 30x30, "Exposed by CMD", April 19, 2022.
  10. American Stewards of Liberty, 30x30 Launched in Climate Crisis EO, "Liberty Matters News Service", February 3, 2021.
  11. Nancy Lofholm, Opposing Biden's vision for public lands, hard-right group makes inroads in Colorado, "The Journal", May 11, 2021.
  12. Chris D'Angelo, Burger Bans and Land Grabs: The Right's Deceptive War Against Biden's Climate Goals, "Huffpost", May 6, 2021.
  13. Justia, The Estate of E. Wayne Hage and The Estate of Jean N. Hage v United States, "Justia", July 26, 2012.
  14. Hannah Grover, A small Texas-based group urges New Mexico counties to oppose 30x30, "The NM Political Report", March 7, 2022.
  15. Mayhem in the Desert, Embers of the Sagebrush Rebellion, "Mayhem in the Desert", June 27, 2021.
  16. John Stroud, Group Denies ALEC Association, "PostIndependent", July 18, 2012.
  17. Carly Good, Unanswered Questions on President Biden's '30 by 30' Plan, "American Legislative Exchange Council", May 12, 2021.
  18. American Stewards of Liberty, IRS 990 2020, "ASL", November 12, 2021.
  19. 19.0 19.1 American Stewards of Liberty, ASL Directors, "ASL", accessed July 18, 2022.