ALEC Joins “Save our Country” Coalition Pushing to Lift Pandemic-Related Restrictions

Update: FreedomWorks issued a press release on April 27, 2020 formalizing the coalition. The coalition’s website outlined members of its National Leadership Council, including ALEC CEO Lisa Nelson, Trump Advisor Stephen Moore, and the Council for National Policy Vice President Bill Walton.

The website also lists dozens of “steering committee members,” including former head of President Donald Trump’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency, Myron Ebell, State Policy Network President and CEO Tracy Sharp, and conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, who is wife of the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

The corporate-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has joined forces with FreedomWorks, Tea Party Patriots, and Trump Advisor Stephen Moore, in a coalition called “Save Our Country.” The coalition is advising the White House on reopening the economy and formed to push for lifting restrictions related to the pandemic. 

According to the New York Times:

“The administration recently formed an advisory group for reopening the economy that included Stephen Moore, the conservative economics commentator. Mr. Moore had been coordinating with FreedomWorks, the Tea Party Patriots and the American Legislative Exchange Council in a coalition called ‘Save Our Country,’ which was formed to push for a quicker easing of restrictions.” 

FreedomWorks recently created a campaign called “Reopen America”, which has embraced protests that counter President Donald Trump’s own public health officials’ advice on social distancing measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. With a disclaimer stating “these are not FreedomWorks events”, a list of events protesting state restrictions related to the pandemic can be found on FreedomWorks’ website along with a “planning guide” for organizing an event and download-ready images of rally signs.

Polling shows most Americans want to wait to see what happens with the coronavirus before resuming normal activities. 

Alongside this campaign, FreedomWorks created the so-called “Task Force on Economic Revival,” which is led by Stephen Moore who also serves on ALEC’s “Private Enterprise Advisory Council.” ALEC held a recent conference call with Moore to discuss “best practices to reopening the American economy post COVID-19.” On the same day, Moore participated in another call where he compared social-distancing protestors to Rosa Parks.

ALEC held a separate conference call on April 22 with Vice President Mike Pence to “discuss COVID-19, the federal response and getting America back to work.” After the call, Pence thanked ALEC in a tweet for “the shared focus on reopening America.”

Since March, ALEC has been boasting to its members about its close relationship to the White House. “ALEC continues to serve as a vital communication channel for state legislators seeking official information from the White House, federal agencies, the CDC and private sector,” ALEC stated in a newsletter on March 17, one of a number obtained by Documented through a state public record request.

“On a White House coordinating call this afternoon, national organizations were asked to share official resources as broadly as possible and encourage you, state and local leaders, to do the same using all communications channels available,” ALEC stated in another newsletter sent on March 19.

Photograph by Greg Skidmore. Used under Creative Commons license.

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