Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are only a few days left in our critical Mid-Year Campaign and we truly might not make it without your help.
Please join us. If you rely on independent media, support Common Dreams today. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Dale Eisman: 202 736-5788

Press Release

ALEC Tries to Silence Critics, Threatens Legal Action Against Common Cause

'Cease and Desist' Letter from Corporate Lobby is Meritless, Common Cause President Asserts
WASHINGTON -

Facing unprecedented public scrutiny and a parade of desertions by some of the nation’s largest corporations, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is threatening potential legal action in an attempt to silence one of its critics – Common Cause.

An attorney for the corporate lobby group has sent a “cease and desist” letter demanding that Common Cause retract statements that ALEC is denying climate change or else face possible legal action.

“ALEC’s demands and legal threats are an effort to shut down debate about its policies and matters of national importance. They seek to chill our right to advocate for the public interest,” said Miles Rapoport, President of Common Cause. “It won’t work.”

Attorneys at WilmerHale, representing Common Cause, responded that Common Cause’s statements are “legitimate assertions of opinion” that are “intended to foster greater national awareness and uninhibited, robust discussion around a critical public policy issue,” and that the organization stands by the fairness and accuracy of its statements.

ALEC’s letter claims that it does not deny climate change, and cites its 1998 model legislation acknowledging that “human activity has and will continue to alter the atmosphere of the planet,” which “may lead to demonstrable changes in climate.” (Emphasis added).

However, ALEC’s letter to Common Cause omits the next two sections of that model legislation, which go on to say:

(C) Such activity may lead to deleterious, neutral, or possibly beneficial climatic changes.

(D) Further, a great deal of scientific uncertainty surrounds the nature of these prospective changes, and the cost of regulation to inhibit such changes may lead to great economic dislocation. (Emphasis added).

In their response to ALEC, Common Cause’s attorneys point out that climate denial is well understood in the high-profile public debate to include those who “question or cast doubt on the scientific evidence regarding climate change or its impact.”

“We stand by our opinion, will continue to participate in these important national debates and will not be strong-armed into silence,” Rapoport said.

A Common Cause fact sheet on ALEC and climate change is available here.

###

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

Biden Urged to Take Emergency Action After 'Disastrous' Climate Ruling by Supreme Court

"The catastrophic impact of this decision cannot be understated," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, but "we cannot accept defeat."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Now We're Talking!' Says AOC as Biden Backs Filibuster Carveout for Abortion Rights

"Time for people to see a real, forceful push for it," said the New York Democrat. "Use the bully pulpit. We need more."

Jake Johnson ·


Supreme Court Says Biden Can End 'Shameful' Remain in Mexico Asylum Policy

"Now is the turn for Congress to get rid of Title 42, and provide a solution to the weakened asylum system in place, to provide a humane and fair alternative to vulnerable children, families, and individuals fleeing unsafe conditions and persecution."

Brett Wilkins ·


Democrats Lose Senate Majority as 82-Year-Old Leahy Heads for Hip Surgery

"It could be over for the Senate Dems now," said one policy expert in response. "This could mean they effectively lost their majority."

Jon Queally ·


Beijing Slams NATO for 'Maliciously... Smearing' China as a Security Threat

"Who's challenging global security and undermining world peace?" Chinese officials asked. "Are there any wars or conflicts over the years where NATO is not involved?"

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo