The American Conservative Union, who bills themselves as “the nation’s oldest and largest conservative lobbying group,” has been busted by Politico for offering to sell their endorsement to FedEx for $2M – $3M. At the moment, FedEx is fighting Congress about changes that increase the power of their employees union.
The American Conservative Union asked FedEx for a check for $2 million to $3 million in return for the group’s support in a bitter legislative dispute, then the group’s chairman flipped and sided with UPS after FedEx refused to pay. For the $2 million plus, ACU offered a range of services that included: “Producing op-eds and articles written by ACU’s Chairman David Keene and/or other members of the ACU’s board of directors. (Note that Mr. Keene writes a weekly column that appears in The Hill.)” The conservative group’s remarkable demand — black-and-white proof of the longtime Washington practice known as “pay for play” — was contained in a private letter to FedEx , which was provided to POLITICO.
The letter exposes the practice by some political interest groups of taking stands not for reasons of pure principle, as their members and supporters might assume, but also in part because a sponsor is paying big money. In the three-page letter asking for money on June 30, the conservative group backed FedEx. After FedEx says it rejected the offer, Keene signed onto a two-page July 15 letter backing UPS. Keene did not return a message left on his cell phone. Maury Lane, FedEx’s director of corporate communications, said: “Clearly, the ACU shopped their beliefs and UPS bought.”
On Wednesday, after being rebuffed by FedEx and before this scandal broke, the ACU told Congress that FedEx was “misleading the public and legislators” about the union issue and took UPS’s side in the dispute.
RELATED: The ACU is perhaps best known for their annual CPAC Convention, a conclave of right-wing personalities and ultraconservatives during which Ann Coulter famously called John Edwards a “faggot” in 2007. Rush Limbaugh was the keynote speaker at CPAC earlier this year.