WashPost's Hamburger: ALEC Conservative Group with Koch Money; Liberal Critics Simply 'Advocacy Groups'

Using the Trayvon Martin tragedy as their hook, liberal lobby groups have set their sights on the conservative-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its corporate donors, blaming the Sanford, Fla., shooting on the Sunshine State's Stand Your Ground law. ALEC supports conservative legislative efforts at the state level such as Stand Your Ground, as well as pro-business legislative priorities of interest to many food and drink companies.

But in reporting on recent victories by liberal groups in pushing companies like PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and McDonalds to drop their support of ALEC, the Washington Post's Tom Hamburger failed to clue readers into the liberal allegiances of "advocacy groups" attacking ALEC and its corporate donors.


Hamburger's story was focused on how the "tension in corporate boardrooms over the case is the latest example of the pitfalls companies can sometimes face when they donate to political and lobbying groups, even those that seem safely below the radar of public consciousness."

Of course, that's where the liberal media come in, to raise the "public consciousness" and tag-team with liberal groups to attempt to make conservative-oriented lobby groups radioactive.

Deeper in the article, Hamburger noted that "companies that have supported the state legislative group... found themselves in the glare of a national protest organized by the government watchdog Common Cause, the civil rights organization Color of Change and other groups."

Common Cause is a a liberal group with a perpetual campaign for "campaign finance reform." And while they insist that corporations should "stick to business" and "not invest in political campaigns," they are more than happy to accept corporate money from companies that participate in "employer-match" donation programs.

Color of Change is a newer group and not a household name, but a visit to its website makes clear its liberal priorities. For example, Color of Change has had campaigns calling on Fox News to fire Eric Bolling and for MSNBC to give conservative pundit Pat Buchanan the boot. Color of Change also supports hiking taxes on the "richest Americans" and was one of many liberal groups that oppose Arizona's immigration enforcement law.

While Hamburger noted that ALEC was "founded in the 1970s by conservative activist Paul Weyrich" and today enjoys major financing from "organizations linked to billionaires David and Charles Koch, libertarians who have fought environmental and other government regulations," he failed to take any interest in who started and who finances Common Cause and Color of Change.

But there is a glimmer of hope for the Post. Hamburger's fellow Post colleague Anita Kumar, in a separate story today, acknowledged the liberal nature of the groups gunning for ALEC. From Kumar's April 12 Metro section front-pager, "Howell assails liberals for attack on conservative group" (emphasis mine):

RICHMOND — Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) on Thursday strongly defended a national conservative organization he used to lead, arguing that it has become a victim of intimidation and extortion.

Howell said the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that has lost some of its corporate members in the past week, has been subjected to a six-month attack by liberal groups, including the Occupy movement, Moveon.org and billionaire George Soros.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters