Head of Hollywood's Secretive Republican Group: No Plans to Dissolve
Jeremy Boreing, the head of the private conservative group known as Friends of Abe, tells THR that there are no plans to put an end to the group despite reports that it is disbanding ahead of the presidential election.
Reports that Hollywood’s private group of conservatives known as Friends of Abe has dissolved came as a shock Friday to Jeremy Boreing, the head of the organization told The Hollywood Reporter.
Boreing said FOA will continue as it had for about 11 years, only that it was abandoning its 501c3 IRS designation that it had fought three years for, because it’s difficult for an organization “that doesn’t do anything to raise money.”
“Think about it. We ask a donor for $800,000 and they say, ‘What do you guys do? Well, we get together and drink beer. Who’s a part of it? Oh, you’d be impressed, but I can’t tell you.’ Obviously, that’s a silly thing for us to pursue," he said.
Boreing said he was blindsided by a report in The Guardian suggesting FOA was throwing in the towel because Donald Trump supporters couldn’t get along with Ted Cruz supporters, because the assertion is untrue.
“It’s no secret that FOA has disenchanted members who were asked to leave the group, and they think it’s funny to speak for us,” he said. “They’ve said all kinds of things that aren’t true. I suspect The Guardian got bad information. We’re dissolving our 501c3, not our fellowship, and that was clear in the correspondence I sent out.”
FOA was founded by Gary Sinise, Lionel Chetwynd, Kelsey Grammer, the late Andrew Breitbart and others more than a decade ago as a place for conservatives to discuss their views privately, as rank-and-file entertainment workers complained of retribution for not toeing Hollywood’s liberal line.
“There were a few outside friends who helped, and we were looking for a way to give them appropriate tax breaks for supporting us," said Boreing. "But by the time we got our 501c3, the explosive growth was behind us, so it was unnecessary.”
Boreing wouldn’t say how much money FOA will save, only that it’s “a lot. We maintained lawyers and accountants to maintain our IRS structure. Frankly, it’s unnecessary now.”
He also said there’s a philosophical reason for ditching the IRS status.
“The left loves to build institutions and maintain them long after their original mandate is accomplished. We don’t believe in that sort of mission creep. Our mandate is fulfilled, so there’s no need to keep a big structure alive,” said Boreing.
He added that, going forward, there likely won't be as many guest speakers as members have become accustomed to, but the main thing FOA offers is simple fellowship, and that won't change.
"There have been marriages and children born from relationships in FOA, and some production companies created," he said. "It's a group that has evolved many times. There's 2,300 members now, and people self-organize. The by-products are enormous. We don't believe in top-down organization."
Boreing said he'll continue to run the group as an unpaid volunteer, as has been the case for several years.
"We'll have everything we've had along the way, only a little less," he said.