Freedom Foundation a finalist for national award

Freedom Foundation a finalist for national award

Freedom Foundation a finalist for national award

The Freedom Foundation’s research exposing how hundreds of labor unions received tens of millions of dollars in federal COVID relief funds they weren’t eligible for has been selected as a finalist for the State Policy Network’s (SPN) annual Bob Williams Awards for Outstanding Policy Achievement.

Based in Virginia, SPN works to support the 50-state network of independent, freedom-oriented state think tanks. It has more than 60 affiliates.

SPN created the Bob Williams Awards for Outstanding Policy Achievement in 2017 to:

“…celebrate state think tanks doing exceptional work to develop and disseminate credible policy research and ideas that can help states implement free-market solutions that will have national impact. The awards were named in honor of our Network’s most iconic policy maven and a friend to many, Bob Williams, and are presented yearly at SPN’s Annual Meeting.”

Bob Williams, who recently passed away at the age of 80 after a long and storied career in the liberty movement, founded the Freedom Foundation in 1991 following his unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign.

The awards consist of four categories: (1) Best Issue Campaign; (2) Most Influential Research; (3) Biggest Home State Win; and, (4) Biggest Win for Freedom.

A committee of SPN staff selected the Freedom Foundation’s February report, “Profiting from a Pandemic: How Ineligible Unions Collected Millions in Federal COVID Relief Funds,” as one of the three finalists for this year’s “Most Influential Research.”

The report documented for the first time how, between creation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by Congress in March 2020 and passage of the American Rescue Plan in March 2021, as many as 223 forgivable loans totaling $36.1 million were provided to labor unions and related organizations that were statutorily ineligible for the funds.

The Freedom Foundation’s findings have been widely covered in the media and prompted an ongoing congressional investigation into the Small Business Administration’s handling of the PPP.

This year’s winners of the Bob Williams Awards will be determined by vote of the employees of SPN member organizations attending SPN’s 2022 Annual Meeting in Savannah, Ga., in mid-September.

The Freedom Foundation previously received Bob Williams Awards in 2017 and 2019.

Director of Research and Government Affairs
As the Freedom Foundation’s Director of Research and Government Affairs, Maxford Nelsen leads the team working to advance the Freedom Foundation’s mission through strategic research, public policy advocacy, and labor relations. Max regularly testifies on labor issues before legislative bodies and his research has formed the basis of several briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court. Max’s work has been published in local newspapers around the country and in national outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Hill, National Review, and the American Spectator. His work on labor policy issues has been featured in media outlets like the New York Times, Fox News, and PBS News Hour. He is a frequent guest on local radio stations like 770 KTTH and 570 KVI. From 2019-21, Max was a presidential appointee to the Federal Service Impasses Panel within the Federal Labor Relations Authority, which resolves contract negotiation disputes between federal agencies and labor unions. Prior to joining the Freedom Foundation in 2013, Max worked for and the Washington Policy Center and interned with the Heritage Foundation. Max holds a labor relations certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated magna cum laude from Whitworth University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. A Washington native, he lives in Olympia with his wife and sons.