August 9, 2018 Press Release

HHS Chief Alex Azar Continues Pandering to Right Wing Organizations with Stop At ALEC

Azar makes time for speaking engagement at NRA-backed ALEC as hundreds of children still separated from their families

08.09.18 – Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar today spoke at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative organization dedicated to advancing conservative priorities in states  through model legislation. At least 98% of ALEC’s budget comes from corporations, including Eli Lilly, where Azar was President for nearly a decade before joining HHS.

ALEC is responsible for distributing a variety of pieces of model legislation to conservative lawmakers in statehouses across the country; in fact, in 2012, Republican Florida state legislator Rep. Rachel Burgin submitted a bill calling for the federal government to cut corporate tax rates but forgot to remove ALEC’s boilerplate language from the legislation.  ALEC funders have included the National Rifle Association, which led the way to passage of the Stand Your Ground law in Florida and other states.

“Alex Azar is cut from the same cloth as every other Trump Cabinet head, pandering to the most extreme organizations in America. At a time when hundreds of children still remain separated from their families, Azar isn’t working to reunite the kids his agency is responsible for detaining. He’s instead continuing what he did in his time at Eli Lilly, cosying up to a conservative group that cares more about the gun, tobacco and petroleum lobbies than they do about the health and well being of Americans,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward.

Today’s stop at ALEC follows a similar speaking engagement by Azar at The Heritage Foundation — a right-wing think tank — less than a month ago. Azar failed to address the family separation crisis at the Heritage Foundation.

Equity Forward last month launched a seven-figure ad campaign to urge Congress to exercise its oversight responsibilities over HHS and its secretary, Alex Azar. The campaign is part of Equity Forward’s “HHS Watch,” a project to promote transparency and accountability at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.