Dear Editor:

It seems hypocritical to me that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would accuse trial attorneys of trying to hide behind a new name when it funds The West Virginia Record and tries to pass it off as an unbiased newspaper.

Wouldn't it be more appropriate to call it the U.S. Chamber's West Virginia Newsletter? I do have to give The Record credit, however, for disclosing in some articles where the paper gets its funding.

The same can't be said for the so-called Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. It's ironic that Steve Cohen had the gall to comment on the West Virginia Trial Lawyers Association's name change to West Virginia Association for Justice by likening it to putting lipstick on a pig.

If that's the case, then what does that make CALA? A baboon in drag?

While CALA may try to pawn itself off as a grassroots organization of concerned citizens, the truth is that it's nothing more than a front for billion-dollar corporations who want total immunity when they produce dangerous products or put employees in dangerous working conditions.

National political columnist Molly Ivins called CALA "Astroturf"-phony grassroots organizations that are funded by big business.

The CALA Files, a report issued by Public Citizen and the Center for Justice and Democracy, found that "CALAs [are] part of a national corporate-backed network of front groups that receive substantial financial and strategic assistance from ATRA [American Tort Reform Association -- itself a front group], APCO [a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm] and some of America's biggest corporations."

If WV CALA is a real grassroots advocacy organization, then why has Cohen and his predecessors repeatedly refused to disclose who is funding the group?

If the group is legitimate, then why is it hiding? Cohen needs to release a comprehensive list of his funders now.

Mark D. Moreland L.C.
Charleston


Moreland is an Charleston attorney and a member of the WVAJ Board of Governors.

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