Idaho Freedom Foundation

Political Organization

About Idaho Freedom Foundation

The Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) has solidified its reputation as a polarizing force in Idaho’s political landscape, notorious for its ruthless tactics and far-right agenda. Recently, the IFF came under fire for enlisting Dave Reilly, an alt-right propagandist known for his association with white nationalist groups, to refine its messaging. This controversial hire has exacerbated concerns about the foundation’s extremist leanings and willingness to embrace divisive figures to further its goals.

IFF’s strategy is characterized by aggressive efforts to undermine and discredit anyone who opposes its ideology. The organization’s leadership, deeply embedded in the Idaho Republican Party, acts as a powerful bloc, orchestrating campaigns to promote their loyalists and attack mainstream conservatives. These efforts are often coordinated through affiliated groups like Stop Idaho RINOs, which uses smear tactics, including AI-generated images and fake endorsements, to malign opposition candidates.

A particularly troubling aspect of the IFF’s influence is its campaign against local school districts. The foundation has consistently opposed bond measures and levies intended to fund school improvements, framing these initiatives as unnecessary government overreach. This stance has placed the IFF at odds with educators and community leaders, who argue that such opposition jeopardizes the quality of education and the safety of school facilities in Idaho.

The fallout from hiring Dave Reilly has been significant, prompting the ousting of the IFF’s president amid widespread backlash. Reilly’s involvement with the IFF has highlighted the foundation’s alignment with extreme elements of the far-right, raising alarms about its true ideological direction. Critics argue that this partnership underscores a broader strategy to inject radical views into Idaho’s political discourse, further polarizing the state’s conservative base.

Insiders and former associates have painted a grim picture of the IFF’s internal dynamics, describing a culture increasingly dominated by radical libertarian ideologies. These reports suggest a concerted effort to dismantle established governmental systems in favor of a more anarchic framework, a vision that starkly contrasts with traditional conservative principles.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation’s aggressive tactics and extremist affiliations have made it a formidable yet contentious entity in Idaho politics. Its relentless pursuit of a far-right agenda, coupled with efforts to destroy the reputations of its adversaries, continues to stir significant debate and concern within the state’s conservative circles. As the IFF’s influence persists, its controversial methods and alliances remain a focal point of scrutiny and opposition.

News Stories

Editorial • Trent Clark, Idaho State Journal • May 11, 2024

But I also knew something undisclosed by the IFF. The Vice-Chair of their board was one of Idaho’s most famous and aggressive medical debt collectors. And that made the score about as “self-serving” as the most corrupt lobbying I’d ever seen.

Therefore, I was a little skeptical the next year when IFF played a major role in killing SJR 101, an amendment implementing the “temperance language” of Idaho’s constitution when it came to legalizing drugs in Idaho. IFF managed to kill the measure in the House.

That summer, when I published my own column on why “legal marijuana is not ‘temperance,” an interesting reaction appeared on social media. The Treasurer of Kind Idaho, the organization promoting medical marijuana sales in Idaho, threw a fit. He assumed I was speaking for the IFF, and called them “turncoats,” because he had done previous “coalition building” with them.

News • Daniel Walters, Investigage West • December 11, 2024

In the months leading to the infamous 2017 Unite the Right tiki-torch rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, then-talk radio host Dave Reilly had some messaging-strategy tips for the attendees from the alt-right, the internet-savvy collection of racist and antisemitic groups that arose during the Trump era.

Using the screen name Davy Crockett, Reilly was part of a private invitation-only online group involved with brainstorming, planning and promoting the rally, courtroom testimony and leaked chat messages subsequently revealed.

Dave Reilly watches a 2022 press conference for the North Idaho Republicans, a group of moderate Republicans attempting to counter the rightward turn in the party. (Duane Rasmussen photo)
He chided members for posting a Nazi meme publicly on Facebook where the left could use it against them. He advised alt-right gays to “stay in the f—ing closet.” He livestreamed a Charlottesville KKK rally a month before the event, and the top organizer of the upcoming alt-right rally shared it as motivation for his followers to recruit more attendees.

Six years later, Reilly, now a political operative in Idaho, has landed a new messaging gig: helping to shape the communications strategy for the conservative Idaho Freedom Foundation, arguably the most powerful political activist group in the state.

News • Becca Savransky / Idaho Statesman, East Idaho News • April 16, 2024

A conservative anti-tax tilt has long defined Idaho, well before the Freedom Foundation launched in 2009. Since then, it has become the leading voice against public education in Idaho. Its lobbying arm, Idaho Freedom Action, was the top spender on Facebook ads before the last statewide primary election in 2022.

“They monitor every single vote, and then they really go after people that don’t vote in alignment with them. And I can tell you just from being around the Legislature that a lot of legislators are afraid of them,” said Rod Gramer, the president and CEO of Idaho Business for Education, a group of business leaders focused on improving public schools. “They’ve made it very clear that they want to defund education and privatize education.” (The Statesman is a member of Idaho Business for Education.)

Superintendents, school board trustees and community members in at least half a dozen school districts said in interviews that the Freedom Foundation’s arguments have spread across the state, with local advocates frequently parroting its talking points during board and bond elections.

News • Daniel Walters, Idaho Capital Sun • January 8, 2023

After InvestigateWest revealed last month that the Idaho Freedom Foundation, an influential right-wing think tank, was contracting with an alt-right propagandist with a long record of anti-Jewish rhetoric, Foundation President Wayne Hoffman doubled-down.

On Dec. 12, at 4 a.m. the day after InvestigateWest reported on the group’s ties to Dave Reilly — who promoted the deadly 2017 Unite the Right Charlottesville rally as an alt-right propagandist — a bleary-eyed Hoffman livestreamed a 40-minute video arguing his choice to hire Reilly was as a kind of act of grace.

Later, Hoffman, a Jewish person himself, told supporters in a statement that Reilly was an “excellent writer and videographer” who wanted to “free people from the ravages of socialism and Marxism.” Hoffman said he’d made the hard decision “to embrace this young man, warts and all, and give him a chance to apply his creativity at IFF.”

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