Dan Liljenquist & FreedomWorks – birds of a feather…

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by Daryl Acumen

A few observations about the relationship between FreedomWorks and Dan Liljenquist:

–  In June 2011, as conservatives across the country geared up for the election a year and half away to oust President Barack Obama and his liberal allies from the U.S. Senate, Washington, DC-based FreedomWorks announced a costly campign to try and defeat conservative Republican Orrin Hatch. To date, Freedomworks has spent and incredible $800,000 attacking Hatch, and a mere $180,000 COMBINED to defeat President Obama and his big-government allies in the Senate.

  • News organizations reported at this time that then-State Senator Dan Liljenquist, just two years into his first term in office and the commitment he made to his constituents, was considering joining FreedomWork’s efforts challenging Hatch.[1]


–  Two months later, FreedomWorks announced it would protest Mitt Romney’s speech at a September 5, 2011 event sponsored by the Tea Party Express, a national Tea Party Organization.[2]


–  One weekafter Freedomwork’s protested Romney’s speech, Romney endorsed Sen. Hatch, calling Hatch “a committed public servant who always puts the people of Utah first.”[3]

  • Romney has since said that as President, he’ll “need Orrin Hatch as Senate Finance Chair to help… restore America as a land of opportunity and prosperity.”

–  FreedomWorks holds FIVE meetings across Utah to try and gain support for their campaign to oust Hatch. Liljenquist attended several of these meetings, along with FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe, who’s called Romney a “political opportunist.”


–  Despite FreedomWork’s repeated vehement opposition to Romney, Liljenquist met with the group in November to ask for their endorsement should he decide to enter the race against Hatch.

  • At this November meeting, FreedomWorks gave Liljenquist an award which even the Salt Lake Tribune said was “attempted to coax Utah State Sen. Dan Liljenquist into the race.”[4]

–  Two days after Romney won the Illinois GOP primary in March 2012 and effectively sealed his nomination as the Republican to run against President Obama, a FreedomWorks official says “We’re not backing Romney for president at all.”[5]

  • A week before the Illinois primary, Romney recorded a TV ad for Hatch where he says “we can count on Sen. Orrin Hatch in the fight to lower taxes, to balance the budget and to repeal the federal government takeover of health care.”[6]


–  On April 26, 2012, Freedomworks agreed to give Lilenquist the endorsement he wanted and officially endorsed him, approximately one year after Liljenquist first met with the organization.

[1] CBS, “Tea Party group targets Orrin Hatch for defeat,” Madison, June 16, 2011. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20071665-503544.html

[2] Politico, “Freedomworks will protest Mitt Romney appearance,” Vogel, Aug. 31, 2011. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/62380.html

[3] Deseret News, “Mitt Romney endorses Orrin Hatch in re-election bid,” Riley Roche, Sept. 12, 2011. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/12/romney-endorses-hatch-as-both-are-tormented-from-right/

[4] Salt Lake Tribune, “Tea party group snuggles up to to Liljenquist,” November 18, 2011. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/blogsoutofcontext/52945573-64/hatch-liljenquist-freedomworks-party.html.csp

[5] ABC, “Tea Party Still Isn’t Ready for Romney,” Negrin, March 22, 2012. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/tea-party-ready-romney/story?id=15974197

[6] Orrin Hatch campaign website, “Mitt Romney: Keep Orrin Hatch Fighting for Utah,” accessed May 1, 2012. http://www.orrinhatch.com/_blog/blog/post/NEW_VIDEO_Mitt_Romney_Keep_Orrin_Hatch_Fighting_For_Utah/