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Freedom Foundation responds to VanderSloot, says group is defending liberty

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IDAHO FALLS — The president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation is responding to comments made by Frank VanderSloot about recent protests, a controversial Facebook post and allegations about the Boise-based advocacy group.

Wayne Hoffman has been leading the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) for over ten years. He says the 501c3 is a free-market public policy research organization aimed at defending constitutional liberty. The group does not endorse candidates, a statement mistakingly mentioned by EastIdahoNews.com in a video interview Monday with VanderSloot.

RELATED | VanderSloot expresses concerns about the Idaho Freedom Foundation, protests and ‘the club’

The Melaleuca CEO recently became concerned with the IFF after learning about protests the group was holding against Gov. Brad Little’s stay-home order. Last week, Sarah Brady was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing after Meridian Police asked her several times to leave a playground. The Idaho Freedom Foundation posted the name and photo of the police officer who took her into custody on its Facebook page with a message that said, “Let the Meridian Police Department know how you feel.” Dozens of protestors showed up at the officer’s house.

“What we told people was look, if you are upset with the way the government behaves then you should let the government know how you feel,” Hoffman tells EastIdahoNews.com. “What people then went on to do is they went to the officer’s house which is not something we condone.”

Hoffman says while he supports protests at city hall, courthouses, university campuses or the Capitol, homes are off-limits. IFF Communication Director Dustin Hurst admitted to posting the information about the officer, which Hoffman says was on Facebook for about an hour before being removed.

“We just felt it went a little bit too far – specifically identifying that particular officer at this particular time,” Hoffman says. “We’re all human. People make mistakes, we recognize that, and in recognizing that we can make better calls next time and that’s what I encourage everyone to do.”

The Idaho Freedom Foundation has been accused of being an extreme, ring-wing institution that punishes legislators who don’t vote in line with the group’s viewpoints. Hoffman disputes that characterization.

“We defend the rights of people to go out and earn a living, worship in the manner they believe they should and to educate their kids the way they want to,” he says, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If we’re extreme, then the Constitution is extreme and the Declaration of Independence is extreme.”

In the video interview above, Hoffman addresses VanderSloot’s claims about the IFF being associated with a group of Idaho politicians called “the club” and what he wants people to know about the foundation.

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