FreedomWorks was created in 2004 as a merger between Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and Empower America. While CSE was founded by the Koch brothers in 1984 as special interest group promoting deregulation and was originally affiliated with Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation (CSEF), Koch do not appear active in FreedomWorks itself. Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation (CSEF) later split off to become Americans for Prosperity. FreedomWorks's 2013 tax forms list Citizens for a Sound Economy as “Dormant,” with FreedomWorks retaining 100% ownership of the organization. 
According to their website, FreedomWorks was founded as Citizens for a Sound Economy in 1984 to “fight for liberty” and since then expanded “from a free-market think tank to a service center for the grassroots freedom movement across the whole country.” 
FreedomWorks is “one of the main political outfits of the conservative movement and an instrumental force within the tea party,” according to a 2012 article in Mother Jones. In 2009, the investigative magazine also rated FreedomWorks as one of their ”Dirty Dozen of Climate Change Denial.” , 
FreedomWorks has portrayed itself as a “grassroots” organization that fights for small government and lower taxes. FreedomWorks “recruits, educates, trains and mobilizes millions of volunteer activists to fight for less government, lower taxes, and more freedom.” In addition to the training, rallies, and other events it organizes, FreedomWorks’ website allows people to “take action” on a variety of conservative priorities by signing online petitions and contacting their member of Congress. 
In 2009 and 2010, FreedomWorks had a key role in promoting the Tea Party by training activists, leading rallies and promoting candidates. According to IRS filings (PDF), FreedomWorks spent $5.7 million of the $9 million it raised in 2010 on program expenses, with just under $600,000 going to “grassroots mobilization” and the larger portions spent on public affairs including media outreach and advertising, and on “research, education and advocacy on federal and state issues and policies.” , 
Stance on Climate Change
While FreedomWorks does not have an official statement on climate change, they regularly publish articles on their website questioning the existence of man-made climate change.
For example, an article in the FreedomWorks blog reads “as the data show, the planet hasn’t warmed since about 1998 and has cooled since 2002. Sea levels are barely rising…to the tiny extent they are rising, it is much slower than in prior history. Also, 'hurricane intensity is at its lowest since satellite monitoring began' and there is no evidence that droughts have been getting worse. In fact, in recent years, the planet has been getter greener, not dryer.” 
Stephen Kruiswer writes on the FreedomWorks blog: “Much of what has passed for established climate science in the past couple of decades has actually been based on projections and computer models, not on any empirically obtained data. In fact, it's been almost anti-science, with presumptions being treated as fact before being proven.” 
The closely-related Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) claim that climate scientists are skeptical of global warming. “In the end, it's the opinion of climatologists that matter in the global warming debate, and the polls clearly show that the experts are skeptical,” said CSE President Paul Beckner. This statement contradicts the 97% consensus reported by NASA and 18 scientific associations. , 
The below data is compiled from data compiled by the Conservative Transparency Project and publicly available 990 forms. Note that not all individual valus have been verified by Desmog. , , 
View the attached spreadsheet for additional information on FreedomWorks, FreedomWorks Foundation, and FreedomWorks for America PAC funding by year (.xlsx).
FreedomWorks for America PAC
Note: In 2011, FreedomWorks set up a PAC titled FreedomWorks for America which shared an office with the existing FreedomWorks 501(c)(4), FreedomWorks Foundation 501(c)(3), and FreedomWorks political action committee.
FreedomWorks is the single largest donor for their PAC, which allows them to flow millions of dollars from undisclosed donors to a group with few electioneering restrictions. OpenSecrets.org has also compiled expenditures for FreedomWorks for America (PAC, committee ID C00353227). Original reports are available at the Federal Election Committee. 
FreedomWorks & FreedomWork Foundation as Recipient
|Donor||CSE FreedomWorks||CSE FreedomWorks Foundation||FreedomWorks||FreedomWorks for America||FreedomWorks Foundation||Grand Total|
|Sarah Scaife Foundation||$2,090,000||$2,090,000|
|The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation||$100,000||$840,000||$940,000|
|DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative||$100,000||$755,000||$855,000|
|John Templeton Foundation||$816,589||$816,589|
|Dunn's Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking||$782,000||$782,000|
|Donors Capital Fund||$684,000||$684,000|
|Searle Freedom Trust||$345,000||$345,000|
|The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation||$193,063||$20,000||$213,063|
|Jewish Communal Fund||$195,536||$195,536|
|Diana Davis Spencer Foundation||$150,000||$150,000|
|American Petroleum Institute||$130,000||$130,000|
|Chase Foundation of Virginia||$90,000||$90,000|
|The Challenge Foundation||$80,000||$80,000|
|Philip M. McKenna Foundation||$80,000||$80,000|
|The Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation||$75,000||$75,000|
|The Rodney Fund||$5,000||$59,000||$64,000|
|Newton D. & Rochelle F. Becker Foundation||$50,000||$50,000|
|Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation||$50,000||$50,000|
|National Christian Charitable Foundation||$45,200||$45,200|
|Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust||$45,000||$45,000|
|Adolph Coors Foundation||$40,000||$40,000|
|Robert P. Rotella Foundation||$5,000||$20,000||$25,000|
|Castle Rock Foundation||$25,000||$25,000|
|The Rauner Family Foundation||$25,000||$25,000|
|The Randolph Foundation||$20,000||$20,000|
|Eric Javits Family Foundation||$16,500||$16,500|
|Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation||$15,000||$15,000|
|The McWethy Foundation||$9,000||$9,000|
|The Weiler Foundation||$5,000||$5,000|
|Charles and Anne Johnson Foundation||$4,000||$4,000|
|The Roe Foundation||$4,000||$4,000|
|Tepper Family Foundation||$2,200||$500||$2,700|
|Arthur N. Rupe Foundation||$2,000||$2,000|
|National Philanthropic Trust||$1,000||$1,000|
FreedomWorks as Donor
|Recipient||FreedomWorks||FreedomWorks Foundation||Grand Total|
|Indiana Right to Life||$30,000||$20,000||$50,000|
|United States Justice Foundation||$5,000||$5,000|
Tobacco Industry Funding
Other Funding and Expenditures
CSE/Freedomworks Koch Funding
*Original tax forms prior to 1997 are no longer available for verification. If you include these values, the grand total jumps to $12,331,712 in Koch funding from 1986 to 2002. 
|Year||Charles Koch Foundation||Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation||David H. Koch Charitable Foundation||Grand Total|
FreedomWorks 990 Forms
FreedomWorks Foundation 990 Forms
Board of Directors
As of August, 2015, the following Board Members were listed on the FreedomWorks website: 
- Robert T.E. Lansing — Chairman, FreedomWorks
- Mary E. Albaugh — Vice-Chairman, FreedomWorks
- Adam Brandon — President and CEO, FreedomWorks
- Ted Abram — American Institute for Full Employment
- Thomas Knudsen — Thomas Publishing Company
- Frank M. Sands, Sr. — Sands Capital Management
- Richard J Stephenson — Cancer Treatment Centers of America
FreedomWorks Foundation Board
- Joan Carter — Chairman, FreedomWorks Foundation
- Adam Brandon — President and CEO, FreedomWorks Foundation
- Ted Abram — American Institute for Full Employment
- Michael Darland
- Robert T.E. Lansing — The Westminster Funds
Board of Directors (2012)
- Dick Armey — Chairman.
- James G. Burnley
- Matt Kibbe — President and CEO.
- Thomas Knudsen
- Richard J. Stephenson
- Bill Jaeger (Emeritus)
FreedomWorks Foundation Board
- Dick Armey — Co-Chairman
- Ted Abram
- Steve Forbes — Vice-Chairman
- C. Boyden Gray — Co-Chairman
- Matt Kibbe
- Robert T.E. Lansing
- Frank M. Sands, Sr.
Dick Armey's Departure
It was later revealed that Armey was offered an $8 million “consulting” deal ($400,000 a year for the next 20 years) to leave the organization. The donor who supplied the $8 million was Richard J. Stephenson, a FreedomWorks board member and founder of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, who had been an ally of FreedomWorks president – and Armey's rival – tea partier Matt Kibbe, who had quietly been battling Armey for control of FreedomWorks. 
In a December 13, 2012 article in Nonprofit Quarterly, Armey initially maintained that he left FreedomWorks because he disliked the increasing lack of transparency involved in the donations the group was taking in from businesses. 
In a tell-all interview with Media Matters after he split with FreedomWorks, Armey told how he had become increasingly alienated from the group. According to Armey, FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe had conducted activities behind Armey's back and had started withholding key information from him about the group and its operations, including information about the payments made to Beck and Limbaugh for promoting FreedomWorks on the radio. 
May 9, 2019
“The American Energy Alliance has organized a coalition to proclaim in one unified voice that there should be no expansion of the misguided electric vehicle tax credit,” Thomas Pyle wrote in a statement, quoted at The Daily Caller. “There is no question that the electric vehicle tax credit distorts the auto market to no gain.” 
According to Pyle and others who signed the letter, electric vehicle tax credits “overwhelmingly benefit the rich.” DeSmog's Koch vs. Clean project has systematically debunked this, among other well-rehearsed talking points and misinformation put forward by industry about electric vehicles. 
July 18, 2018
“We oppose any carbon tax. We oppose a carbon tax because it would lead to less income and fewer jobs for American families,” the letter read. “We support the House Concurrent Resolution in opposition to a job-killing carbon tax and urge members to co-sponsor and support this effort.” 
The resolution would call a carbon tax “detrimental to the United States economy.”E&E News reported it was similar to a measure that passed the House in 2016. Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, co-chairman of the Climate Solutions Caucus, said he would not vote for the resolution. 
“Protecting our environment and economic growth are not mutually exclusive,” he said in a statement. “The resolution presents a false choice.”
The Washington Examiner reported FreedomWorks was behind an effort to defend EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt amidst his wide range of ethics controversies. FreedomWorks tweeted under the hashtag “#StandWithScottPruitt”: 
The radical left is running a smear campaign against @EPAScottPruitt in an attempt to force him out of the EPA. Call @realDonaldTrump at 202-849-7922 right now. Tell him you support Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator! #StandWithScottPruitt #ampFW pic.twitter.com/K3DGmRMQjP— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) April 14, 2018
“Scott Pruitt has worked hard to return the EPA to its core mission: protecting the environment as directed by Congress; instead of the rogue assault on the rule of law, freedom, and the economy that we saw in the prior administration,” said Freedomworks President Adam Brandon.
February 12, 2018
Signatories include: 
|Brent Wm. Gardner||Chief Government Affairs Officer||Amer|
|Michael A. Needham||CEO||Heritage Action for America|
|Grover Norquist||President||Americans for Tax Reform|
|David McIntosh||President||Club for Growth|
|Nathan Nascimento||Executive Vice President||Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce|
|Mark Scribner||Senior Fellow||Competitive Enterprise Institute|
|Jason Pye||Vice President of Legislative Affairs||FreedomWorks|
|Tom Schatz||President||Citizens Against Government Waste|
|Pete Sepp||President||National Taxpayers Union|
|Phil Kerpen||President||American Commitment|
|Mario H. Lopez||President||Hispanic Leadership Fund|
|Daniel Garza||President||The Libre Initiative|
|Carrie L. Lukas||President||Independent Women’s Forum|
|Heather R. Higgins||President and CEO||Independent Women’s Voice|
|Harry C. Alford||President and CEO||National Black Chamber of Commerce|
|Jeffrey Mazella||President||Center for Individual Freedom|
|Donald Bryson||President||Civitas Action|
|David Barnes||Policy Director||Generation Opportunity|
|Norm Singleton||President||Campaign for Liberty|
|Judson Phillips||Founder||Tea Party Nation|
|Seton Motley||President||Less Government|
|Kim Crockett, Esq.||Vice President, Senior Fellow and General Counsel||Center of the American Experiment|
|Tom Brinkman, Jr.||Chairman||Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST)|
|Matthew Kandrach||President||Consumer Action for a Strong Economy (CASE)|
|Katie McAulliffe||Executive Director||Digital Liberty|
|Brett Healy||President||John K. MacIver Institute|
|Sean Noble||President||American Encore|
|Annette Meeks||CEO||Freedom Foundation of Minnesota|
|Andrew F. Quinlan||President||Center for Freedom and Prosperity|
January 12, 2017
President Adam Brandon was a signatory to a January 12, 2017 official letter of support (PDF) for Scott Pruitt, in which numerous groups, including The Heartland Institute, American Energy Alliance (AEA), and others, declared that the Senate should “swiftly approve his nomination” for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Other signatories of the letter included: 
- Thomas Pyle, American Energy Alliance
- Michael Needham, Heritage Action for America
- Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
- Kent Lassman, Competitive Enterprise Institute
- David McIntosh, Club for Growth
- Phil Kerpen, American Commitment
- Craig Richardson, Energy and Environment Action Team
- David Williams, Taxpayers Protection Alliance
- Harry Alford, National Black Chamber of Commerce
- Jim Martin, 60 Plus
- Andrew Langer, Institute for Liberty
- Heather Higgins, Independent Women’s Voice
- Independence Institute
- Richard Martin, Americans for Limited Government
- Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST)
- Brett Healy, MacIver Institute
- Joseph Bast, Heartland Institute
- George Landrith, Frontiers of Freedom
- Randy Eminger, Energy Policy Network
- Paul Gessing, Rio Grande Foundation
- Mike Nasi, Balanced Energy for Texas
- Brent Mead, Montana Policy Institute
- Forest Thigpen, Mississippi Center for Public Policy
February 22 - 25, 2017
October 8, 2015
“Please contact your representative and ask that they support lifting the ban on crude oil exports, while demanding that the cost savings not be passed on to special interest lobbies and Big Labor,” FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon wrote. 
April 16, 2015
The PAC will provide resources to the Senate and House candidates it believes are “true defenders of freedom and are committed to the core FreedomWorks principles of limited government and more freedom,” FreedomWorks said in a statement.
October 10, 2014
“I see them as selling out black Americans,” Borelli said. “These are the elites, they can afford energy at any cost. They are harming those who can’t afford to pay for energy at any price.” 
“Under the 1705 loan program, taking up half of the funding form the Loan Guarantee Program, 2,378 permanent jobs were claimed to be created. If you do the math right, this works out to costing the taxpayer $6.7 million per job created. I don’t know about you, but if it takes the government $6.7 million to create one permanent job, something is wrong.“The combined amount of money given to alternative energy companies, through the 1705 and 1703 Loan Programs, totals around $19.2 billion. According to the US DOE, 3,498 jobs have been or will be created because of these loans. This comes out to almost $5.5 million in cost per one permanent job created.“Unfortunately, these projected permanent jobs created are an overestimation, if you take away the jobs lost due to six of these companies going bankrupt. Solar Millennium Inc., LSP Energy LP, Ener1 Inc., Beacon Power Corp, Abound Solar, and Solyndra LLC combined have received over $3.5 billion from the Logan Program yet have produced zero jobs and hurt the fragile U.S. economy.”
FreedomWorks launched a new website and advertising campaign suggesting that the Obama administration and the EPA are attempting to destroy American jobs. Their website, “EPAkillsjobs.com” supports the stance of climate change skeptic Senator James Inhofe who has created a “resolution of disapproval” in attempt to overturn the EPA's Utility MACT Rule which would reduce the emissions of mercury and other toxins from coal power plants.
The downloaded materials section summarizes FreedomWorks' stance on the EPA with a number of talking points:
1. New taxes that will impact thousands of businesses—large and small…By increasing complicated regulatory standards, the EPA is hitting American businesses with a brand new tax. Facilities ranging from factories to churches that can’t afford to upgrade their equipment would be forced to close!2. Massive new regulatory taxes on electricity…Expensive new standards targeting coal fired power plants—the source of most of the nation’s electricity—would raise costs for consumers and businesses. Billions in new costs would be passed on to energy consumers and the energy security of millions of Americans would be put in serious jeopardy!3. Costly new regulations on cement plants…Our nation’s cement plants are perhaps in the most precarious position due to the EPA’s aggressive new regulatory agenda. A recent Southern Methodist University study estimated in excess of 15% of plants would be forced to close, costing thousands of jobs, raising costs, and dramatically hurting investments in U.S. infrastructure.4. New restrictions effecting common household products and materials…The EPA wants to re-define coal ash as a hazardous material. In doing so, they will eliminate the use of this product in the making of many things we rely on including building materials like cement and drywall – in turn, driving up the cost of these products!5. New regulations on emissions that would force many communities to impose costly new restrictions on consumers and small businesses…New ozone standards would put many out of reach, triggering extensive new regulations that would have sweeping and devastating new economic consequences affecting virtually all consumers and businesses, with new standards for everything from car tailpipes to factory smokestacks—and everything in between.
FreedomWorks was a vocal opponent of proposals by U.S. President Barack Obama including the reformation of the U.S. healthcare system, the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill to address global warming, and of state proposals to raise taxes.
Their website featured a “take action” page looking to recruit grassroots volunteers to “Fight the Left,” and also offered options for volunteers to contact congress to oppose tax increases on everything from internet gambling to cigarette taxes. 
“Adam Brandon, Max Pappas, and Tabitha Hale of FreedomWorks have been instrumental in helping organize and unite a broad-based coalition of grassroots organizations, new media outlets, and public policy experts behind the Contract from America, as have Adam Radman with Americans for Tax Reform, Andrew Moylan with National Taxpayers’ Union, Ginni Thomas with Liberty Central, Adam Waldeck with American Solutions, and Lori Roman with Regular Folks United.” 
FreedomWorks was responsible for organizing the original “Tea Party protests” in April of 2009. While the later anti-healthcare, anti-government, anti-tax tea party rallies that occurred in April of 2009 were supposedly orchestrated by the group named the Tea Party Patriots (TPP), internal TPP correspondence revealed that FreedomWorks was directing this group's activities as well. 
TPP described its mission as to “restore America’s founding principles of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets.” According to their website, the TPP are “100% grassroots, 100% of the time.” 
- Freedom Works staffers coordinate conference calls among protesters, contacting conservative activists to give them “sign ideas, sample press releases, and a map of events around the country.”
- Freedom Works staffers apparently moved to “take over” the planning of local events in Florida.
- Freedom Works provides how-to guides for delivering a “clear message” to the public and media.
- Freedom Works has several domain addresses — some of them made to look like they were set up by amateurs — to promote the protests.
- Americans for Prosperity is writing press releases and planning the events in New Jersey, Arizona, New Hampshire, Missouri, Kansas, and several other states.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) pointed out that while Armey was portraying himself as a representative of the tenant class, as of May, 2008 he “earned $100,833 a year for four hours a week working for FreedomWorks Inc., the organization's advocacy arm, and an additional $403,333 for 32 hours a week working for FreedomWorks Foundation, its tax-deductible, educational wing, according to federal tax filings. Mr. Armey also owns a house on 78.5 acres in Denton County, Texas, north of Dallas. In response to a public-information request, local authorities revealed that the land and house are worth a combined $1.7 million.”
The Washington Post revealed a scheme in which people signing up for high-deductible health insurance plans were told they could also get get tax-free medical savings accounts if they signed a separate, nondescript application form. 
Related Organizations & Initiatives
- Americans for Prosperity (AFP)
- Citizens for a Sound Economy
- FreedomWorks Foundation
- Tea Party Patriots (TPP)
- FreedomWorks for America
- FreedomWorks political action committee
- Contract from America
Freedomworks Contact & Location
400 North Capitol Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
FreedomWorks. (2013) Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (OMB No 154500047). Retrieved from Scribd.
“About FreedomWorks,” FreedomWorks. Archived August 21, 2015.
“About FreedomWorks: Board of Directors,” FreedomWorks. Archived January 5, 2011.
David Corn and Andy Kroll. “Exclusive: Dick Armey Quits Tea Party Group in Split Over Direction (UPDATED),” Mother Jones, December 3, 2012. Archived August 21, 2015.
Josh Harkinson. “The Dirty Dozen of Climate Change Denial: No. 9: Freedomworks,” Mother Jones, December 4, 2009. Archived August 21, 2015.
“About FreedomWorks,” FreedomWorks website. Archived October 4, 2012.
“The Tea Party Movement: Who's In Charge?”, The Atlantic, April 13, 2009.
Kate Zernike. “Shaping Tea Party Passion Into Campaign Force,” The New York Times, August 25, 2010.
“GLOBAL WARMING: IF YOU DON'T HAVE GOOD SCIENCE, LOSE THE SCIENCE YOU HAVE,” FreedomWorks (blog), September 29, 2009. Archived November 5, 2009.
Stephen Kruiser. “Unsettling The Settled Climate Science,” FreedomWorks (blog), September 23, 2013. Archived August 21, 2015.
“No Consensus View on Climate Change Science: AGU Statement on Global Warming Disputed,” Freedomworks, February 1, 1999. Archived August 21, 2015.
“Scientific consensus: Earth's climate is warming,” climate.nasa.gov.
“FreedomWorks,” Conservative Transparency. April 27, 2018.
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“Republicans steal Barack Obama's internet campaigning tricks,” The Guardian, September 18, 2009. Archived August 22, 2015.
Anne Landman. “FreedomWorks Continues Dick Armey's Defense of Big Tobacco,” DeSmogBlog, January 25, 2013.
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“FREEDOMWORKS INC,” GuideStar profile. Accessed August, 2015.
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Jonathan Easley. “FreedomWorks launches PAC ahead of 2016,” The Hill, April 16, 2015. Archived August 22, 2015.
Michael Bastasch. “Report: EPA’s Clean Power Plan To Hit African-American Families Hardest,” The Daily Caller, October 7, 2014. Archived August 22, 2015.
“Free Markets, or Government Knows Best?” FreedomWorks. Archived August 22, 2015.
Farron Cousins. “FreedomWorks Fails Basic Math And Economics To Smear Renewable Energy Investments,” DeSmogBlog, July 6, 2012.
Farron Cousins. “FreedomWorks Creates Error-Filled Site To Accuse EPA Of 'Killing Jobs',” DeSmogBlog, May 15, 2012.
“TAKE ACTION,” freedomworks.org. Archived February 4, 2009.
“About Us,” Contract from America. Archived August 22, 2015.
Tim Dickinson. “The Lie Machine,” Rolling Stone, September 23, 2009. Archived Oct 10, 2009.
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Michael M. Phillips. “Mortgage Bailout Infuriates Tenants (And Steve Forbes),” The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2008. Archived August 22, 2015.
Jonathan Weisman. “With Insurance Policy Comes Membership,” The Washington Post, July 23, 2006.
“FreedomWorks Supports Lifting the Oil Export Ban without Handouts,” FreedomWorks, October 8, 2015. Archived October 12, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6cESn2tAW
Adam Brandon. “Tell Your Representative: Support Rep. Gosar's Resolution to Impeach EPA Director Gina McCarthy,” FreedomWorks, September 11, 2015. Archived October 12, 2015. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6cETg8VSN
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“41 Conservative Groups Support Scalise/McKinley Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution,” Americans for Tax Reform, July 18, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog
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“Dear Senator Grassley, Senator Wyden, Representative Neal and Representative Brady:” May 9, 2019. Retrieved from The Daily Caller.
Christ White. “CONSERVATIVES WARN LAWMAKERS: TESLA’S TAX CREDITS ‘OVERWHELMINGLY BENEFIT THE RICH’,”The Daily Caller, May 9, 2019. Archived May 9, 2019. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/qzvF3