The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has joined with Common Cause and 71 other labor, civil rights, public interest, and religious groups to send letters to corporate funders of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) urging them to cut ties with the pay-to-play operation due to its lobbying effort to ignore the advice of public health officials and reopen the states before the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.
“Recently, ALEC teamed up with a coalition of far-right lobbying groups to launch the ‘Save Our Country’ campaign protesting the public health quarantine orders put in place to reduce the health risks of COVID-19,” the groups’ letter states. “Make no mistake, your continued financial support of ALEC is an active endorsement of this dangerous effort. The money your company is contributing to ALEC is helping fund this campaign–one which is direct contravention of public health guidelines.”
The letter was sent to more than 30 major corporate supporters of ALEC, including Koch Industries, FedEx, UPS, Anheuser-Busch, State Farm, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, and Pfizer.
On April 30, CMD revealed that ALEC was playing a leading role in a right-wing movement to prematurely force people back to work at great risk to their health, was circulating a sign-on letter to “Empower the States to Reopen the Economy,” and that it had arranged calls between its members and Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on reopening.
ALEC’s CEO Lisa Nelson serves on the national leadership council of the “Save Our Country Coalition (SOCC),” a right-wing effort to push for the rollback of state social distancing orders. SOCC is chaired by ALEC’s favorite economist, Art Laffer. Minnesota state senator Mary Kiffmeyer, an ALEC state chair, and Linda Upmeyer, a member of ALEC’s board of directors, sit on SOCC’s steering committee.
CMD exposed last week that Nelson is also deeply involved in the Council for National Policy, whose affiliated CNP Action has promoted anti-lockdown protests and hosted weekly conference calls with prominent right-wing figures to coordinate coronavirus response tactics.
A late April poll found that 93 percent of Americans opposed immediately reopening the economy, and 83 percent support state social distancing requirements closing nonessential businesses.