October 10, 2016
Official Statement: CALA Misleading Voters on Candidate Contributions
Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Association for Justice issued the following statement in response to the West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse’s ongoing effort to mislead West Virginia voters on contributions to legislative candidates:
“The CALA election playbook is clear--take a few facts, and then twist and spin them to scare West Virginia voters into giving up their constitutional rights. While the candidates included on CALA's list did receive contributions from trial lawyers, CALA doesn’t bother to tell voters that those donations represent just a fraction of what each candidate raised. That's like pointing out 50 people at Milan Puskar Stadium in the visiting team's colors and claiming that everyone there was rooting against the Mountaineers. It's not just wrong, it's ridiculous,” said Jane Peak, president of the West Virginia Association for Justice.
"West Virginia voters deserve complete and accurate information about who is donating to legislative candidates, but they aren't going to get it from CALA. While CALA cites the contributions lawyers have given to candidates and independent expenditures, CALA fails to disclose that the amount is just a fraction of the more than $17 million that candidates have raised. More than 94 percent of the contributions came from other industries, individuals and interests. CALA also doesn't bother to mention the millions more being spent by out-of-state, big-money special interests hiding behind front groups like West Virginians for Prosperity, Mountaineers Are Always Free and Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse."
"It's also hypocritical for CALA to decide which candidates to attack after reviewing public campaign finance reports. CALA knows who the donors are because they're listed on those reports. At the same time, CALA has refused for more than 20 years to tell West Virginia voters who its donors are."
While CALA claims to be a “citizens” organization, it is actually a front group created by the Washington D. C. PR firm APCO Worldwide. According to the Center for Justice and Democracy, CALAs “represent major corporations and industries seeking to escape liability for the harm they cause consumers. They are funded by “large corporate donors, including tobacco, insurance, oil and gas, chemical and pharmaceutical companies, medical associations and automobile manufacturers.” Since its inception in 1994, WVCALA has refused to answer all questions regarding its funding.
"The candidates being attacked by CALA have vowed to protect our constitutional right to trial by jury. They have said that they will do what's best for West Virginia businesses, workers and consumers—not for the CEOs and corporations corporate interests hiding behind the CALA name. Since the Bill of Rights became law, our civil courts have been the one place where each one of us is equal to the most powerful CEOs, the big corporations, and even the government itself. CALA wants to destroy that--and it's willing to mislead and lie to state voters to do that. West Virginians should demand that it stops now."
WVAJ AFFINITY PARTNERS