Corporate Foundations Bankroll Anti-Alito Coalition

Wal-Mart, Ford Motor Co., AT&T, and Fannie Mae are among the major U.S. corporations whose foundations fund the liberal groups now waging war against Samuel Alito.

The left-wing Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary has launched a series of advertisements aimed at defeating Alito. The group describes itself as “a national coalition of public interest organizations,” and includes NARAL Pro-Choice America, the NAACP, the National Organization for Women, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State among others. The Alliance for Justice, People For the American Way, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights head the coalition.

Many of these groups are very well-funded, getting most of their money from foundations. Among the foundations bankrolling them are the philanthropic arms of many of America’s largest corporations.

The AT&T Foundation, for example, has contributed about $1 million since 2000 to groups that are now actively opposing Alito’s confirmation. AT&T Foundation has given $675,000 to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and $120,000 to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). AT&T Foundation has also given around $200,000 to the NAACP or its affiliates.

The Congressional Black Caucus has announced it is opposing Alito’s confirmation. CBC Chairman Mel Watt told the Associated Press, “The members of the CBC are concerned about Judge Alito’s opinions, many in dissent, in race cases where his decisions have disproportionately affected African-Americans.” Similarly, MALDEF and the NAACP are members of the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary, according to the coalition’s website,

The AT&T Foundation has also funded other Coalition members, including American Association of People with Disabilities and the Human Rights Campaign.

AT&T spokeswoman Claudia Jones told HUMAN EVENTS that the money the foundation gave to these groups was earmarked for specific programs and it was “not for political advocacy.” As an example of an earmark, AT&T said its $20,000 to the Human Rights Campaign, a member of the anti-Alito coalition, was earmarked for FamilyNet, which HRC describes as “A ‘Virtual Village’ where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families can visit neighborhoods … to learn about parenting, finance or partnership agreement. … Picture a place online where GLBT families can connect with each other and talk to experts on adoption, relationships and the law.”

The Fannie Mae Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the secondary mortgage giant Fannie Mae — officially a Government-Sponsored Enterprise — also prolifically funds anti-Alito groups. The Fannie Mae Foundation funds the CBC Foundation and NAACP. In the past, the foundation has also funded the Alliance for Justice and MALDEF.

A Fannie Mae spokesman responded by e-mail to HUMAN EVENTS’ queries, writing, “Support for these and other grantees is never for the purpose of engaging in political activity of any kind.”

While Wal-Mart is under attack from the left, some of its philanthropic money is bankrolling the left’s attacks on Alito. Wal-Mart’s foundation gave the CBC Foundation $25,000 in 2003. In January of 2003, the CBC came out against Miguel Estrada’s nomination to a federal appeals court. Wal-Mart’s foundation has also funded the NAACP.

The Ford Motor Co. Fund, meanwhile, has funded the NAACP, the American Association of University Women and MALDEF, all members of the coalition.

The three groups leading the anti-Alito coalition are among the most unabashedly and broadly liberal members of the coalition. The Leadership Council on Civil Rights receives millions from the Ford Foundation (which is not affiliated with Ford Motor Co. or the Ford Motor Co. Fund) and over half a million from George Soros’ Open Society Institute, but also generous gifts from the UPS Foundation, and the Time Warner Foundation.

People For the American Way has led the battle against conservative justices since its victory in the battle over Robert Bork. The Eastman Kodak Charitable Trust has given more than half a million dollars to PFAW since 2000. (Click here to read Kodak’s response.)

While these foundations are separate entities from the corporations, they are controlled by and funded by the corporations.