Have you heard of West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA)? It claims to be a grassroots organization led and funded by ordinary West Virginians. It’s not.
As Republican U. S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated in 2013, “To evaluate speech intelligently, it’s good to know where the speech is coming from.” Stop WV CALA educates West Virginians about:
- Who CALA is
- Who’s behind the effort
- What the real motives are.
- It also provides accurate information about West Virginia’s economy and our courts.
Here’s the Truth About WV CALA:
Some of our country’s largest and wealthiest corporations are funding efforts to take away the constitutional rights of citizens and our local business owners. For nearly 30 years, this effort has been helped by “front groups” created by the PR firm APCO Worldwide. APCO created Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse and began setting up “chapters” around the country. While these groups claim that their members are local “citizens” who fund the effort, that’s wrong.
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.” The groups are “part of a national corporate-backed network of ground groups that receive substantial assistance from [the American Tort Reform Association – another front group], APCO and some of America’s biggest corporations.” (The CALA Files, Center for Justice and Democracy)
A 1993 budget document from tobacco giant Phillip Morris states that “APCO has been setting up . . . Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse chapters . . . I would argue that it is important to continue because grass roots agitation for tort reform helps us to protect [our interests.]” (Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, Sourcewatch, www.sourcewatch.org)
West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse began operating in 1994. From Day 1, the group has refused to answer questions about who is funding the effort. At the news conference announcing its formation, then spokesperson Jack Klim “would not say who is funding the group and its campaign” (Associated Press, printed in Charleston Gazette Aug. 31, 1994).
There are no membership fees or annual dues. So who is funding WV CALA? The organization still refuses to disclose where it gets its money. If there’s nothing to hide, then why won’t CALA disclose its funders?
Stop WV CALA is a blog and public education program of the West Virginia Association for Justice.