Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Responding to the NAACP

Reasonable people are free to differ on the merits of whether voters ought to be required to present valid identification at the ballot box. Improving the American people’s faith in the integrity of the electoral system is a worthy objective.

Although we haven’t taken part in that public discussion, we are obliged to speak out about recent, misguided attacks on Koch by the NAACP National Office that have crossed the line into hyperbole and misinformation.

No one doubts the passion the NAACP brings to their work. Koch has long respected NAACP’s principled stands on many important issues over the years, but the organization’s recent statements about Koch are misleading and simply at odds with the facts. The reality is that, for many years, Koch has created initiatives to increase voter registration, supported a long list of civic organizations that do the same, worked with a wide variety of minority groups to build civic engagement and foster entrepreneurship, and held an unwavering belief that all citizens should exercise the right to vote and hold government accountable.

The NAACP’s stated objection is to the efforts of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on the voter ID issue. ALEC is a non-partisan membership association for state legislators who share a common belief in limited government, free markets, and individual liberty — ideals that Koch has long supported. Many hundreds of other individuals, organizations, and companies also support ALEC. This includes about 2,000 public sector members, Democrats and Republicans alike, representing all of the various demographic groups the NAACP cites in their statement.

Nevertheless, Koch has no formal position and has undertaken no advocacy or lobbying on the voter ID issue. To suggest otherwise, as NAACP has done, is flatly untrue.

Yet, according to recent public missives from NAACP, Koch is an “enemy” that wants to “trick” Americans, using a “vast fortune” to “take away the right to vote” from “the elderly and working families of all colors.”

Ironically, the NAACP cites the fees imposed by the government itself to obtain a valid ID as the impediment to voting. Koch, obviously, has nothing to do with those government fees — instead they are levied and collected by the government.

It’s understandable that groups affiliated with the far Left would target Koch as a way to increase the visibility of their particular cause. We have chronicled those efforts at length on the KochFacts website — including the various media outlets that have irresponsibly given those groups a publicity platform, no matter how contorted their reasoning. It is troubling that the NAACP would participate in this cynical approach to public discourse and it ought to be regarded with skepticism.

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