Wayne Hoffman
208-258-2280 ext. 211

Wayne Hoffman is one of Idaho’s leading experts on public policy, the Idaho Legislature and the practice of journalism.

Hoffman has spent 25 years writing about government and politicians. He writes a weekly column, found in newspapers and on websites throughout Idaho, and is often invited to speak on complex issues including taxation, health care, free markets and education.

Throughout his years in the news business, Wayne won numerous awards for investigative and political journalism. During his years of covering the state legislature, governor’s office and state agencies, Wayne often exposed government waste, failed government programs and politicians whose voting records were inconsistent with their rhetoric.

After leaving the news business in 2005, Wayne became the special assistant to the director of the state Department of Agriculture. In 2006, he managed the communications efforts of several successful political campaigns and became the communications director for Congressman Bill Sali. Wayne lives in Nampa with his two children.

Wayne has been at the helm of Idaho Freedom Foundation since the organization launched in January 2009.

Email: [email protected]

Fred Birnbaum
Vice President
208-258-2280 ext. 218

Fred Birnbaum joined the Idaho Freedom Foundation as vice president and chief operating officer after working 25 years in the paper and packaging industry.

Most recently he served as director of business and financial analysis for Packaging Corporation of America (formerly Boise Inc.) and has lived in Boise since 2000. His experience in industry includes roles in finance, operations, project management and factory management.

Fred served in the U.S. Army as a communication staff officer and platoon leader and worked briefly for US Senator John Glenn, as a Military Affairs Fellow, following his Army career

He received his master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Email: [email protected]


Dustin Hurst
Communication Director
208-258-2280 ext. 213

Dustin Hurst serves as the Communication Director for the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

He attended college at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene and Boise State University in Boise. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication, with a minor in Political Science.

Before joining IdahoReporter.com, Dustin worked as a social media coordinator and reporter for Watchdog.org, a nationally recognized good journalism organization. His work there has been featured or recognized by Fox News, Human Events, Reason.com, TownHall.com, Public Sector Inc. HotAir and The Daily Caller, among others.

Former presidential candidate Steve Forbes also tweeted one of Dustin’s stories.

Dustin lives in Middleton with his beautiful wife, Julia, and two wonderful kids.

Email: [email protected]

Matthew Keenan
208-258-2280 ext. 217

Matt Keenan grew up and was educated in Boise, Idaho, including studying political science at Boise State University. He has assisted with several different political races throughout the state including two congressional campaigns.

Matt has an interest and background in video production. He has assisted nonprofits with video needs from small to large scale events. He has two sessions of video experience at the Idaho Legislature representing IdahoReporter.com and now assists with IFF’s communication department.

Matt resides in Boise and enjoys hunting, hiking and fishing. He won’t complain if he ends up on a lake for the day on a boat.

Email: [email protected]

Phil Haunschild

Policy researcher

208-258-2280 ext. 214

Phil Haunschild began working with the Idaho Freedom Foundation in the New Year as an analyst for the Freedom Index.

He is graduating from Northwest Nazarene University this May with a degree in International Studies and Financial Economics.

Phil was born in Alaska, however, he spent his childhood in the Philippines where he developed his interest in politics, international relations, and the functions of government. In his pursuit of a greater understanding of government and policy, Phil has just recently returned from a four month trip to the Middle East where he spent much of his time researching the impact that the local government as well as international governments have had on the Syrian refugee crisis.

Phil loves to spend his time off enjoying the outdoor opportunities that the state of Idaho has to offer whether it is skiing, mountain biking, backpacking, along with others.

Tiffany Stevens
Data Analyst

Tiffany serves as data analyst for the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

She attended Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics. She is now working on her Master’s in Applied Economics.

Prior to joining the Idaho Freedom Foundation, Tiffany was an intern in Arlington, Virginia.

Tiffany loves animals, especially dogs and rock climbing.

Kurt Weber

During his career, Kurt Weber has worked with a number of state, national and international liberty-promoting organizations. His more than 80 published commentaries have appeared in, among others, the Houston Post, Oregonian and Orange County Register (Calif.). He has written more than 150 radio commentaries.

Kurt earned dual degrees and honors in finance and public administration from Western Michigan University. He holds a masters degree in international relations from Thomas Jefferson’s university, the University of Virginia. During his college days he was a student activist, a newspaper columnist and ran for city council.

A vagabond at heart, Kurt has traveled in all 50 states and more than 40 countries. He has lived in New York City, Washington, DC, Germany, Buenos Aires and Guatemala. A motorcycle and roller coaster enthusiast, he jumps from planes time to time.

Mark Lisheron
Editor, staff writer

Mark Lisheron is the founding Austin bureau chief and former deputy editor of Watchdog.org.

During a 30-year career in newspapers, he was nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize and was the winner of several Associated Press first place awards, the Stanley Walker Award and the First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists in Texas.

Lisheron anchored the Austin American-Statesman’s first modern investigative journalism team and served with distinction on the paper’s editorial board.

For nearly 20 years, he was a senior writer for American Journalism Review, contributing more than two dozen cover and major pieces of media analysis to one of the nation’s foremost media magazines.

He has for 10 years been a guest lecturer on journalism for both the School of Journalism and the School of Law at the University of Texas and has taught investigative reporting for Watchdog through the University of California-Irvine.

Policy advisers

Dr. John M. Livingston
Special Adviser on Medical Policy

Dr. John M. Livingston serves as the Special Adviser on Medical Policy to the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

Livingston, a Boise resident, performed general and trauma surgery for more than 35 years, including 12 in the U.S. Navy and 25 Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. 

He attended medical school at Ohio State University and interned at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. He performed trauma surgery at Norfolk General Hospital and pediatric trauma surgery at the University of Florida. He also performed trauma surgery at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, and served as a staff surgeon at a naval hospital in Kelfavic, Iceland.

Gov. Butch Otter appointed Dr. Livingston to the Your Health Idaho oversight board in April 2013.

Board of Directors

Brent Regan

Brent Regan is the founder and president of Regan Designs, specializing in designing electromechanical products for medical, aerospace, defense, marine and automotive industries. He holds 11 U.S. patents for medical devices.

An advocate of the free market, Regan has testified in favor of free market health care. He also initiated the North Idaho Conservative Resolution against the federally mandated health insurance exchanges.

He has successfully assisted in organizing and opposing Local Improvement Districts in Kootenai County; sponsored legal efforts to protect neighbors’ property from illegal commercial land use; conceived, sponsored and was the master of ceremonies for the Conservative Candidate Forum prior to the 2012 primary; and developed a caucus sign-in procedure and volunteer training for the Kootenai County Republican Caucus.

“Leisure” activities have included building and competing in automobile endurance road racing including 24 hours of Daytona (first in class (GTU), third in class (GTP)); six hours of Riverside (third in class); four-hour Sears Point Endurance Race (overall winner, twice); 24 hours of Nelson Ledges (third overall); and three seasons of campaigning 3 fighting robots in the Battlebots series aired nationally on Comedy Central.

Regan has lived in Idaho since 1999. He is married with three children.

Bob Rathbone

Bob is an investment advisor at Rathbone Warwick Investment Management, an RIA firm formed in 2014 with his partner, Ryan Warwick. Bob got his start in 1981 when he entered E.F. Hutton & Company’s account executive training program in Boise, Idaho.

Bob holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Colorado (1981). In 1994, Bob earned the Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) designation, which is awarded by the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA), in conjunction with the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania.

In February 2014, Bob was selected as one of America’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors and the #1 Advisor in Idaho by The Dow Jones & Company publication “Barron’s.” Bob was also honored with the Barron’s recognition in February 2009.

A native Idahoan raised on a farm in Marsing, Idaho, Bob and his wife, Cristina, have three grown children. He and Cristina counsel and teach financial stewardship at Calvary Chapel Boise.

Heather Lauer

Heather Lauer has an extensive background in issue advocacy and grassroots organizations. She is currently the owner of Villageous LLC, a consultancy specializing in digital campaign management.

Previously, Heather was a Partner at DCI Group, a strategic public affairs and global issues management firm based in Washington, DC. Over the years, she has worked on a variety of issue campaigns in the areas of telecommunications, energy, technology, health care, and homeland security.

Her first experience working on public policy issues was in the Washington office of Idaho Senator Dirk Kempthorne in 1995. Heather holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business Administration from Georgetown University. She was born and raised in Nampa.

Dr. Loel Fenwick

Dr. Loel Fenwick invented the family-centered birthing room system and the birthing bed that are now standard in America and throughout the world.

He founded The Borning Corporation. Borning was the leading provider of facility planning, operational training, equipment and services for contemporary maternity care until the company was acquired by the Hill-Rom company.

Loel founded The Cybele Society, a professional education organization of obstetricians, nurse managers and health care administrators that led the nationwide change to family-centered, single-room maternity programs.

Loel is the chairman of Phillips+Fenwick, a maternity care operation and consulting company that has designed and implemented maternity care programs in with more 400 hospital in the US, Canada, Europe and China.

Dar Symms

Dar Symms is the president and a co-owner of Symms Fruit Ranch, one of Idaho’s oldest and longest-operating fruit growers.He joined the family operation in 1994.

Prior to that, he graduated from the University of Idaho’s law school in 1991, and worked at a Boise law firm.

He is a member of the Idaho Bar Association.

At Symms Fruit Ranch, Dar manages and oversees all packing, marketing to Latin America, human resources and finances.

He is married and has two children. In his spare time, Dar enjoys, travel, golf, hunting, hiking, skiing and fishing.

He joined the Idaho Freedom Foundation board to hold policy makers accountable, and to encourage the government to do less and not more.