The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has threatened public interest group Common Cause with a lawsuit for pointing out what the public record has made clear: ALEC denies the scientific consensus on climate change.
As first reported by The Washington Post, ALEC‘s lawyers Alan Dye and Heidi Abegg wrote a cease-and-desist letter to Common Cause president Miles Rapoport. Dye and Abegg demanded that Common Cause stop calling ALEC a cog in the climate denial machine.
“We demand that you cease making inaccurate statements regarding ALEC, and immediately remove all false or misleading material from the Common Cause, and related, websites within five business days,” they wrote. “Should you not do so, and/or continue to publish any defamatory statements, we will consider any and all necessary legal action to protect ALEC.”
ALEC critics call the organization a “corporate bill mill.”
Dye and Abegg also demanded an immediate and public retraction of statements the Common Cause has made about ALEC with regards to climate denial.
Image Credit: Common Cause
Further, Dye and Abegg argued that ALEC — contrary to the vast amount of evidence collected by those who research the organization — does not deny climate change.
Common Cause Fires Back
Common Cause, through its legal counsel at the firm Wilmerhale, have hit back and stands by its initial claims.
“Common Cause rejects ALEC‘s allegations and stands by the fairness and accuracy of its statements and reporting,” wrote Wilmerhale attorney Vinita Ferrera in a March 25 letter. “Common Cause’s statements are legitimate assertions of opinion based on the public record and entirely consistent with how ALEC had discussed, characterized, and approached the issue of climate change.”
The organization also said it will not retract its statements, nor will it offer any public corrections, as requested by ALEC.
Image Credit: Common Cause
“Strong-Armed into Silence”
In a press release, Common Cause called ALEC‘s legal maneuvering “meritless.”
“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 Rapoport, “We stand by our opinion, will continue to participate in these important national debates and will not be strong-armed into silence.”
As The Washington Post reported, the legal threat by ALEC comes as the group feels the heat after numerous companies have dropped their ALEC memberships due to its climate change stance.
DeSmogBlog, the Center for Media and Democracy, Common Cause and many other organizations have launched the website ALECClimateChangeDenial.org, which documents ALEC‘s long history of climate denial.