David Horowitz Freedom Center
The David Horowitz Freedom Center (FC) is a project of ex-Marxist turned right-wing activist David Joel Horowitz and Peter Collier. The Freedom center was known as the Center for the Study of Popular Culture (CSPC) until July 2006. It is a 501 (c)3 non-profit. Horowitz founded the organization and is now its CEO. Horowitz dismisses labeling of FC as a "think-tank" and chooses to identify it as a "battle tank." Since the late 1980s, Horowitz has been a "driving force of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black movements" according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
FC is a "part of a loose nationwide network of like-minded charities linked together by ideology, personalities, conservative funders and websites" including Jihad Watch, Front Page Magazine, Stop University Support for Terrorists, Stop Jew Hatred on Campus, Discover the Networks.org, The Point, David Horowitz's Restoration Weekend, The Israel Security Project, The Truth Revolt, Brietbart and The Black Book of the American Left.
FC has received significant funding, nearly $9 million dollars, from the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, according to documents reviewed by CMD. Additional funders of his projects include the Scaife and Cathrage Foundations.
- 1 Projects of The Freedom Center
- 2 Ties to the Bradley Foundation
- 3 News and Controversies
- 4 Background
- 5 Personnel
- 6 Core Financials
- 7 Funding
- 8 Contact Information
- 9 Articles and Resources
- 10 References
Projects of The Freedom Center
Truth Revolt purported "to expose hypocrisies and bias in the media." It was founded by Ben Shaprio and David Horowitz in 2013 and has been called a right-wing counter to Media Matters. It announced its closure on March 7, 2018. Mark Tapson was the final editor of the site.
Jihad Watch is an anti-"Islamic jihadist" website edited by Robert Spencer who the Southern Poverty Law Center calls one of the "most prolific and vociferous anti-Muslim propagandists." According to the Center for American Progress, Spencer "is the primary driver in promoting the myth that peaceful Islam is nonexistent and that violent extremism is inherent within traditional Islam."
Frontpage magazine is the FC's "flagship" site. Horowitz is the editor-in-chief. Contributors have included Paul Gottfried, John Derbyshire, Ann Coulter, Mustafa Akyol, Jamie Glazov, Robert Spencer, Bruce Thornton, Raymond Ibrahim, Kenneth Timmerman, and now-senior adviser to President Trump, Stephen Miller.
Discover the Networks claims to be an encyclopedia of the left. It maintains profiles of what it considers left-wing groups.
Stop University Support for Terrorist claims that groups such as "Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Students Association, and Jewish Voice for Peace...take the money and marching orders" from organizations who "launch rockets at Israeli civilian targets or dig terror tunnels under Israeli kindergarten classrooms."
Ties to the Bradley Foundation
CMD's 2017 exposé on the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation revealed that the foundation has received $8,953,000 in grants from the Bradley Foundation. Among other reasons, Bradley funds FC for their "education events to combat indoctrination, anti-Americanism, and anti-Semitism."
From the exposé:
- Bradley has given $8,968,000 to the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which counters “the corrosive effects of leftist ideology” from its offices near Hollywood, California (David Horowitz Freedom Center, Grant Proposal Record, 11/10/15).
- Horowitz has been described as a “Trotskyist radical turned far-right entrepreneur.” He maintains a number of propagandistic websites including Jihadwatch.org, an anti-Muslim site. He touts himself as a mentor to many on the Trump team and hails Trump aide Steve Bannon, author of Trump’s failed Muslim ban, as a “civil rights hero.”
- Horowitz dedicates time and resources to tracking and tearing down prominent intellectuals, for instance publishing the book The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. “On campus, [the Freedom Center] helps student organize educational events to combat indoctrination, anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism,” writes Bradley.
- Bradley lauds Horowitz for his TruthRevolt.org site, which “names untruths disseminated by the left” and “uniquely exposes the politics of personal destruction, the signature practice of the left.”
- IRS rules give charities wide latitude, but they may not devote a “substantial part” of their resources or activities to lobbying or “carrying on propaganda.” And they “are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office,” according to the IRS.
- In his IRS application for tax-exempt status in August 1988, Horowitz wrote his center would be “entirely non-profit, non-partisan,” according to records obtained through a public records request. “It will not be organized to promote any particular political program.”
- Twenty years later, a brochure for one of the charity’s events would sharply contradict that claim: “In 1988, Horowitz created the Center for the Study of Popular Culture to institutionalize his campaigns against the Left and its anti-American agendas.”
In 2017, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), publishers of SourceWatch, launched a series of articles on the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, exposing the inner-workings of one of America's largest right-wing foundations. 56,000 previously undisclosed documents laid bare the Bradley Foundation's highly politicized agenda. CMD detailed Bradley's efforts to map and measure right wing infrastructure nationwide, including by dismantling and defunding unions to impact state elections; bankrolling discredited spin doctor Richard Berman and his many front groups; and more.
News and Controversies
Financial Benefits of Running an Anti-Immigrant Organization
Horowitz has made "a good living" according to the Washington Post as the CEO of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. In 2016, Horowitz was compensated $569,756. In 2015 he made even more, $583,000. Tax records show comparable income for every year since 2011, nearly a half million dollars. Horowitz's group is one of the 33 that the Council on American-Islamic Relations and University of California Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender reported on as having the purpose of promoting "prejudice against, or hatred of, Islam and Muslims." The report says that promoting Islamaphobia has become a multi-million dollar business.
Connections to the Trump Adminstration
Stephen Miller, the far-right senior advisor to President Trump, is a "his friend and protege" of Horowitz and a past contributor to FrontPage Mag. Miller is largely credited with leading the Trump administration to implement the policy of separating migrant children from their parents. That policy created a public uproar, forcing a full-fledged policy retreat. Miller helped pen Trump’s “American carnage” inaugural address and has spearheaded Trump’s anti-immigration policies suffering multiple setbacks in federal court.
The Washington Post documented how groups like Horowitz’s Freedom Center helped fuel Trump’s rise. “Long before Trump promised to build a wall, ban Muslims and abandon the Paris climate accord, Horowitz used his tax-exempt group to rail against illegal immigrants, the spread of Islam and global warming. Center officials described Hillary Clinton as evil, President Barack Obama as a secret communist and the Democratic Party as a front for enemies of the United States.”
From the report,
- Since its formation in 1988, the Freedom Center has helped cultivate a generation of political warriors seeking to upend the Washington establishment. These warriors include some of the most powerful and influential figures in the Trump administration: Attorney General Sessions, senior policy adviser Miller and White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon.
- Long before Trump promised to build a wall, ban Muslims and abandon the Paris climate accord, Horowitz used his tax-exempt group to rail against illegal immigrants, the spread of Islam and global warming. Center officials described Hillary Clinton as evil, President Barack Obama as a secret communist and the Democratic Party as a front for enemies of the United States.
- The Freedom Center has declared itself a “School for Political Warfare,” and it is part of a loose nationwide network of like-minded charities linked together by ideology, personalities, conservative funders and websites, including the for-profit Breitbart News.
- The Freedom Center was among a growing group of allied charities that received funding from large, conservative foundations such as Donors Capital Fund, Donors Trust, the Bradley Foundation and the Scaife family. For decades, those foundations and others had financed nonprofit organizations that promoted free enterprise and small government and opposed the environmental movement and other issues favored by progressives.
- In general, charities have been able to operate with little scrutiny by regulators. The number of enforcement officials at the IRS and the audits they conduct has dwindled over the past decade. The IRS became especially reluctant to enforce limitations on political activity, following a furious backlash from conservatives and Republicans in Congress in 2013 over allegations the agency was illegally targeting tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status. An IRS spokesman declined to comment.
- By late 2013, the Freedom Center barely resembled the charity the IRS had approved for tax exemption. When it began, he told the IRS that it planned to serve the “broad public community as an educational institution.”
- Now it was openly involved in fighting a political war with the left. “You can counter their attacks by turning their guns around,” Horowitz said in a speech at the time. “You can neutralize them by fighting fire with fire.”
Possible IRS Violation, Donating To Dutch Candidate
A 2017 Intercept report says that the David Horowitz Freedom Center "quietly played a prominent role in financing Dutch far-right nationalist Geert Wilders’s People’s Party for Freedom (PVV)." From the report,
- By providing grants to the PVV, the Freedom Center, which operates as aa 501(c)3 nonprofit, may have violated IRS tax rules that prohibit tax-exempt charitable groups from funding overt political campaign activity.
- Former IRS tax officials who spoke to The Intercept also note that the Freedom Center failed to disclose the grants to Wilders’s political party in its annual tax return, another potential violation of the law. Nonprofit groups’ tax returns are public documents.
- Records posted by the Dutch interior ministry show that in 2014 and 2015 the Freedom Center provided multiple donations totaling 126,354 euros — approximately $134,000 — to the “Stichting Vrienden van de PVV,” or the Friends of the PVV Foundation, the fundraising arm of the party.
- ... In 2014, the Friends of the PVV reported receiving 18,110.69 euros — or about $19,000 — from the Freedom Center. But in its 2014 tax return, the Freedom Center indicated that it had not provided any foreign grants of more than $5,000 that year. And in another section of the return, the center failed to disclose any foreign grants at all.
[. . .] The Freedom Center’s donation to a foreign political party “seems on its face to violate the law,” said Louisiana State University law professor Philip Hackney, who spent five years working for the IRS’s chief counsel. “A charity is not supposed to make a contribution to a political campaign.”
An announcement dated July 7, 2006, in FrontPageMag.com headlined: "A New Birth of Freedom" began: "The Board of Directors of The Center for the Study of Popular Culture announced on the Fourth of July that the organization has changed its name to The David Horowitz Freedom Center. The new center has hired Peter Collier, former publisher of Encounter Books, and Buzz Patterson, former presidential aide and author of Reckless Disregard, as vice president and chief operating officer. As part of its expansion, the Center has agreed to host the Liberty Film Festival, Hollywood’s only conservative annual awards event." link to article
- David Horowitz, CEO and Founder
- Peter Collier, Vice President of Programs
- Robert B. "Buzz" Patterson, Chief Operating Officer
- Michael Finch, President
- Elizabeth Ruiz, Assistant to the President
- Sharon Schuster, Operations Manager
- Amalia Hernandez
- Jess Morgan, Chairman of the Board of Directors
- Richard Spencer, Jihad Watch Director
- Caroline Glick, Israel Defense Force Director
Board of Directors
- Total Revenue: $5,976,459
- Total Expenses: $5,975,926
- Net Assets: $650,572
- Total Revenue: $3,348,348
- Total Expenses: $2,809,323
- Net Assets: $1,539,702
- Total Revenue: $6,260,535
- Total Expenses: $7,622,148
- Net Assets: $1,226,975
- Total Revenue: $7,095,015
- Total Expenses: $7,040,068
- Net Assets: $1,316,232
- Total Revenue: $7,280,576
- Total Expenses: $7,280,576
- Net Assets: $1,262,285
- Total Revenue: $6,413,176
- Total Expenses: $6,093,715
- Net Assets: $1,263,683
- Total Revenue: $5,182,732
- Total Expenses: $5,384,902
- Net Assets: $1,468,315
- Total Revenue: $4,481,166
- Total Expenses: $4,477,327
- Net Assets: $1,146,789
- Total Revenue: $5,466,103
- Total Expenses: $5,994,547
- Net Assets: $1,142,950
- Total Revenue: $6,294,490
- Total Expenses: $6,304,745
- Net Assets: $1,671,394
- Total Revenue: $4,564,245
- Total Expenses: $4,435,235
- Net Assets: $1,681,649
- Total Revenue: $4,905,713
- Total Expenses: $4,027,929
- Net Assets: $2,522,639
- Total Revenue: $3,715,102
- Total Expenses: $3,859,709
- Net Assets: $1,668,931
- Total Revenue: $3,625,468
- Total Expenses: $2,978,907
- Net Assets: $1,812,863
- Total Revenue: $2,950,014
- Total Expenses: $2,792,762
- Net Assets: $1,166,302
- Total Revenue: $3,103,234
- Total Expenses: $3,166,123
- Net Assets: $1,009,050
Media Transparency lists grants to the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.
- Media Transparency lists grants to CSPC here; top funders have been the Bradley Foundation ($6 million), Sarah Scaife Foundation ($5.5 million), and Olin Foundation ($2 million).
David Horowitz Freedom Center
14622 Ventura Blvd, No. 324
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Phone: (818) 849-3470
Articles and Resources
IRS Form 990 Filings
- "A New Birth of Freedom", FrontPage Magazine.com, July 7, 2006.
- Bill Berkowitz, "Foaming campus cleanser sputters at Temple: David Horowitz attacks liberal academics with so-called Academic Bill of Rights; also looking to rid college campuses of what he calls the anti-war academics who "hate America", Media Transparency, January 15, 2006.
- Bill Berkowitz, "Center for the Study of Popular Culture becomes David Horowitz Freedom Center: Leading Bush non-profit political ally changes name, plans expansion and new hires", Media Transparency, July 10, 2006.
- David Horowitz David Horowitz: Stephen Miller, a Second Thoughts Warrior Breitbart, Feb 27 2017
- Southern Poverty Law Center DAVID HOROWITZ Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed August 2018
- Mark Tapson  Truth Revolt, March 7 2018
- Extremist Watch Robert Spencer SPLC, accessed Aug 2018
- Stop University Support for Terrorist campaign Organizational webiste, accessed Aug 2018
- David Armiak, Foundation Funds Right Wing Media Machine, Exposed by CMD, May 31, 2017.
- Halima Kazem Funding Islamophobia: $206m went to promoting 'hatred' of American Muslims The Guardian June 20, 2016
- Michal Kranz and Ellen Cranley Meet Stephen Miller, the 32-year-old White House adviser who convinced Trump to start separating migrant children from their parents at the border Business InsiderJune 17, 2018
- Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg How a ‘shadow’ universe of charities joined with political warriors to fuel Trump’s rise Washington Post June 3 2017
- Lee Fang, California Nonprofit May Have Violated Tax Law By Donating to Anti-Muslim, Far-Right Dutch Candidate, The Intercept, March 3, 2017
- David Horowitz Freedom Center, 2016 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, September 20, 2017.
- David Horowitz Freedom Center, [https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4407812-Freedom-Foundation-2015-990.html#document/p1 2015 IRS Form 990], organizational tax filing, Nov 14, 2016.
- David Horowitz Freedom Center, [https://pp-990.s3.amazonaws.com/2016_02_EO/95-4194642_990_201412.pdf?X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Credential=AKIAI7C6X5GT42DHYZIA%2F20180814%2Fus-east-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20180814T191508Z&X-Amz-Expires=1800&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Signature=6f31d272d1f17028e05bcedd6a5fdc4612a81a01ab20436250355df85ed82926 2015 IRS Form 990], organizational tax filing, accessed Aug 2018
- David Horowitz Freedom Center, 2013 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed Aug 2018
- David Horowitz Freedom Center, 2012 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed Aug 2018
- David Horowitz Freedom Center, 2011 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed Aug 2018
- David Horowitz Freedom Center, 2010 IRS Form 990 avaiable for download, organizational tax filing, accessed Aug 2018
- David Horowitz Freedom Center, 2009 IRS Form 990 avaiable for download, organizational tax filing, accessed Aug 2018
- David Horowitz Freedom Center, 2008 IRS Form 990 avaiable for download, organizational tax filing, accessed Aug 2018
- David Horowitz Freedom Center, 2007 IRS Form 990 avaiable for download, organizational tax filing, accessed Aug 2018
- David Horowitz Freedom Center, 2006 IRS Form 990 avaiable for download, organizational tax filing, accessed Aug 2018
- David Horowitz Freedom Center, 2005 IRS Form 990 avaiable for download, organizational tax filing, accessed Aug 2018
- David Horowitz Freedom Center, 2004 IRS Form 990 avaiable for download, organizational tax filing, accessed Aug 2018
- David Horowitz Freedom Center, 2002 IRS Form 990 avaiable for download, organizational tax filing, accessed Aug 2018
- Center for Media and Democracy Contributions of the Bradley Foundation Sourcwatch, Accessed August 2018