The co-founders of the American Liberty Foundation were:
Perry Willis
Harry Browne

The TEAM:

With our thanks, these are the individuals who served in staff, team vendor, or board member capacities between January, 2001 & May, 2004, listed in order of seniority of service as of May, 2004.
Harry Browne
Jim Babka
Stephen Willis
Kristin Overn
Geoff Braun
Perry Willis
Art Matsko
Phil Smeiles
Kent White
Steve Dasbach
Jack Mullen
Laura Carno
David Ruprecht
Marc Montoni
David Bergland
Jack Williams
Jack Dean
Stephanie Yanik
Robert DeVoil
Elias Israel
Robert Brunner
Robert Flohr, RIP

We made a commitment to the individuals at the following links, who helped us build our organization, that we would post their names in perpetuity. We encourage you to visit the following links to learn who made us possible.

The Founders Committee
 
The Producers Committee

It's time to
Downsize DC!

On May 28, 2004, the American Liberty Foundation closed its doors and became the Downsize DC Foundation. We encourage you to visit our new site.

These pages are maintained as a memorial to nearly three-and-a-half years worth of work done by a team of people led first by founder Perry Willis, and then by Jim Babka.

The American Liberty Foundation, and its sister organization RealCampaignReform.org (RCR), raised about $300,000 per year (combined), between 2001 and 2003. It was a true bootstrap operation, but we accomplished incredible things even with these limited resources.

RCR took on what we consider the most important initiative in the libertarian movement since 1997 — a campaign to break the legal monopoly congressional incumbents and major parties have conferred upon themselves. The foundation of this legal monopoly are the campaign finance laws, which are really incumbent protection laws.

First, RCR fought the new McCain-Feingold incumbent protection law by generating 3,000 emails to members of Congress. When that law, formally known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) passed, RCR filed a lawsuit challenging both its constitutionality, and the constitutionality of the entire campaign finance regime. Our bold, principled approach made it to the Supreme Court for review. Our arguments attracted the attention of four of the Justices, but we were still defeated in both Title I and Title II of the law by counts of 6-3 and 5-4, respectively.

RCR also built the most comprehensive, pro-1st Amendment website on the Internet. A powerful alternative to the dozens of anti-free speech and anti-free press sites like Common Cause and the Brennan Center. On top of that, RCR broadcast radio ads and sponsored two amicus briefs to the Supreme Court in related cases. You can view the archived site by clicking on the RCR banner on the right side of this page.

Our Armed & Secure (A&S) project focused on the gun issue. It produced 3 Hollywood-style TV ads. These ads were broadcast on 5.2 million TV sets on CNN, FoxNews, Headline News, and the Outdoor Channel. The project also ran radio ads in more than a dozen cities around the country. You can see and hear the ads by clicking on the A&S banner on the right side of this page.

The A&S website also features a Debate Center, chronicling a fictional debate on the gun issue. A&S also produced a small book, “How to Persuade Your Friends & Family Guns Save Lives & Reduce Crime”, and an Audio Guide, featuring Harry Browne, “How You Can Make Your Community (Much) Safer.”

Our “TruthAboutWar” campaign was a spur-of-the-moment campaign, launched in response to the build-up to a pre-emptive, undeclared war in Iraq. The project was inspired by several articles by foundation co-founder Harry Browne, an article by Jude Wanniski, and a comment by supporter Bill Olson. Through extensive research, a handful of government outsiders – our team – saw what the mass media, the politicians, and the bureaucracy couldn’t see; that the war was being sold the American public through deceptive intelligence. The foundation's team leaped into action, producing a myth-busting website and a series of radio ads in a period of just a few days.

The TruthAboutWar website made a series of claims and predictions. The site was frozen on the day the war started, so these claims and predictions are preserved for all to see (you can go to the site by clicking on the TruthAboutWar banner on the right side of this page).

Claim #1 was easily the most controversial. It was also the subject of one of our radio ads, which were broadcast in nearly a dozen cities around the United States. We claimed that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, and as everyone now knows, we were right. Sadly, our other predictions have also turned out to be right.

Making bold claims and issuing predictions might seem like tricky work, but it's really not so hard when you rely on well established “rules of thumb” (around here we call them “heuristics”) about how politicians and governments operate. For example, if a politician's lips are moving, he's probably lying. And if big government politicians promise to accomplish something, the result will probably be the exact opposite. These principles, along with thorough research, guided the predictions we made about the war in Iraq.

Nearly everyone in America was fooled by the claims made for the war in Iraq, including Senators and Representatives with access to classified information. But we weren't fooled. We know from long experience that government intelligence is a contradiction in terms.

Finally, the American Liberty Foundation launched Downsize DC to show people how government uses our tax money to hurt people. We proposed a plan for ending the income tax and replacing it with nothing. More importantly, we showed that the real problem isn't how much money government takes from us, but rather, the amount government spends, and the negative impact that spending has on all of our lives.

“Our team wasn’t here to quibble about various tax plans, flat taxes versus value added taxes, or any of that kind of thing. And we see no point in putting down the tax-and-spend policies of the left, only to promote the borrow-and-spend policies of the right,” declared president Jim Babka. “We went right to the root of the problem. Government spending.”

The Downsize DC project also promoted a specific plan to cut government spending and end the income tax. And we answered objections about how to get from here to there – from big government to small government. In addition to the Downsize DC website we also produced supplemental material, such as a two-CD set of Harry Browne Audio Guides titled “The Fatal Flaws of Big Government Programs.”

Downsize DC also produced and aired radio ads in several cities. Those ads can still be heard on the Downsize DC memorial website – available by clicking the Downsize DC banner on the right side of the screen.

Now Downsize DC has become the heart of our efforts, and we're taking it in new directions. We’re excited about the new Downsize DC. Downsize DC isn’t merely a political position; it’s also a direction.

  • It’s new and forward looking.

  • It’s privately run, not collectively (politically) managed.

  • It’s focused on ideas, not personalities.

  • It loves the Constitution, but recognizes that the most powerful sales message is that “liberty works for you.”

The new Downsize DC is composed of two organizations.

  • The first, a public education organization called the Downsize DC Foundation, centers around a highly interactive e-zine (set to debut in November, 2004). This e-zine will make direct comparisons between the harm done by government, and the wonders created by business, charity, and science. The e-zine will also feature an interactive mechanism that will allow users to lobby the media to better cover stories of government harm along with the ever-growing successes of the private sector in solving age-old social problems that government has only made worse. We aim to change the media's coverage, improve the contents of the American mind, and alter the terms of the public debate in the direction of Downsizing DC.

  • The Foundation’s sister organization is DownsizeDC.org, Inc. – the successor to RCR. In an environment where political parties have had their power dramatically reduced by legislative fiat, and incumbents no longer have to compete with challengers to stay in office, we see the need for an alternative-mechanism for bringing about political change. DownsizeDC.org is that alternative mechanism. The organization is modeled after MoveOn, a left-wing organization that has great faith in big government. “MoveOn has demonstrated that a large standing army of activists can be built. This army of activists broadcasts ads and puts direct political pressure on politicians in Washington, DC using the Internet,” said president Jim Babka. “DC Downsizers can take advantage of our proprietary Electronic Lobbyist system to badger the politicians to Downsize DC.”

Our team gets thing done. Please check-out our new efforts at …

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The American Liberty Foundation
6718 Lenclair Street • Alexandria, VA 22306
202-521-1200 (voice) • 703-717-0462 (fax)
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The American Liberty Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit educational foundation. It does not participate in political campaigns, and does not support, endorse, or oppose candidates for public office.
OUR TEAM
PROJECTS
January 2001 - May 2004
Each site was frozen as a historical archive:

RealCampaignReform.org


Armed&Secure.org


TruthAboutWar.org



DownsizeDC.net