Color of Change, a left wing attack group founded by former White House Green Jobs Czar Van Jones, is on a mission to smear the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a 30 year-old non-partisan membership association for “conservative state lawmakers who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.” As a result of the organization’s successful assistance to lawmakers in state legislatures it has made them the target of liberal smear campaigns.
Left wing groups are attacking ALEC by intimidating ALEC’s corporate donors who have benefited from the conservative organization’s work over the years. A number of these long time donors have fled ALEC after Color of Change and their allies falsely accused ALEC of racism. Below is a radio ad being played in New Jersey that scared away Johnson & Johnson from ALEC’s corporate donor list: Listen to ad (transcription below)
Woman:You know Johnson & Johnson?
Man: Uh..yeah. Why?
Woman: They’re funding an organization called ALEC…the American Legislative Exchange Council? It’s attacking the rights of black folks, latinos, and workers in states across the country. It spread the shoot first law that protected Trayvon Martin’s killer and laws that suppress the black vote.
Man: And Johnson & Johnson gives money to that?
Announcer: Tell Johnson & Johnson to stop funding ALEC.
The ad practically blames ALEC for Trayvon Martin’s death and for “voter suppression” because the organization supports voter ID laws. The ad is similar to the notorious 2000 NAACP anti-George W. Bush radio ad.
[Background sound: deep, eerie metallic; later fade in low clanking] Renee Mullins (voice over): I’m Renee Mullins, James Byrd’s daughter.On June 7, 1998 in Texas my father was killed. He was beaten, chained, and then dragged 3 miles to his death, all because he was black.
So when Governor George W. Bush refused to support hate-crime legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again.
Call Governor George W. Bush and tell him to support hate-crime legislation.
We won’t be dragged away from our future.
Color of Change sent a press release about their ad accusing ALEC of racism and explained Color of Change’s intimidation’s tactics against ALEC’s now former donors: (bolding is mine)
“With these ads, we are spreading the news about Johnson & Johnson’s ties to ALEC even more aggressively,” said ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson. “Our goal is to help consumers understand that Johnson & Johnson helps fund a secretive and undemocratic organization that has passed laws that restrict access to the polls for Black folks, Latinos, low-income voters and other marginalized groups. The stakes are too high, and Americans deserve to know when their spending habits promote polices that are at odds with their values.
”The ads will air this week on radio stations targeting African Americans in Chicago, DC and New Brunswick, NJ, where Johnson & Johnson headquarters are located. The ads will also air in Sanford, FL, where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed in February. The unarmed teenager’s killer, George Zimmerman, evaded arrest for more than a month as his defenders pointed to Florida’s “stand your ground” as justification for his actions. The NRA and ALEC exported this law to more than 20 states across the country, jeopardizing the safety of Americans nationwide.
ColorOfChange began contacting Johnson & Johnson in November of last year in an effort to educate the company about ALEC’s role in voter suppression. The ColorOfChange community and members of allied organizations began calling the company’s leadership in April to amplify the demand to drop ALEC. Johnson & Johnson has refused to do so, even as competitor Procter & Gamble announced in April that it would end its membership in the right-wing policy group.
Since ColorOfChange launched its campaign, 18 companies have announced that they will end their memberships. These companies include Wal-Mart, Amazon, Procter & Gamble, Yum! Brands, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Mars Inc., Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Intuit, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Reed Elsevier (owner of LexisNexis and publisher of science and health information), Kaplan, Scantron, Medtronic, American Traffic Solutions and Arizona Public Service.
This tactic has been used by other groups before very recently. A previous Water Cooler post shows a blue print from a Media Matters document as to how liberal groups strategize to cut the legs out from conservative media. Media Matters intimidated Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers to try and destroy his radio show and the attempt failed. Donors who gave to Mitt Romney’s presidential super pac are facing intimidation by the president’s allies. Left wing groups went after donors who give to the right of center Heartland organization. It should be noted Heartland’s once confidential donor list was acquired by a liberal activist through deceitful means.
Niger Innis of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) sent a statement in response to the Color of Change ad:
“I am offended by the race mongering tactics of those engaged in a cynical politically motivated attack against ALEC. The fact that they use flagrantly ethnic stereotype voice overs in their racist ad campaign is disgusting. But what is most troubling to me personally is that this crass race mongering intimidation will be successful with cowards within corporate America. The patients are now truly ruling the asylum.”