Multi-billion-dollar, Wall Street traded national retail chains named in Question 1 ads, hidden in campaign finance disclosures

BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 8, 2020 – The $200 billion retail auto parts industry is the main proponent of Massachusetts Question 1, according to an updated disclosure on television advertising. The updated TV spot notes that $35 billion Missouri-based O’Reilly Automotive and $27 billion Tennessee-based Autozone are the primary funders of Question 1, along with three national trade organizations led by auto-parts suppliers. Yet the group’s most recent filing with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) reported no donations from either of these companies, continuing Question 1’s campaign of misleading the public.

“For more than a year, Question 1 proponents have hidden their names and agenda and used local repair shops as cover for a misleading propaganda campaign,” said Conor Yunits, spokesperson for the No on 1 campaign and the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data. “It’s time to be honest: Question 1 has never been about repair, and it has never been about local repair shops. Question 1 is about national retail auto-parts suppliers who want your data so they can increase their profits for Wall Street investors.”

The OCPF report, filed on September 4, reports more than $4.7 million in receipts from just two national trade groups, the Auto Care Association (ACA) and the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE). The receipts account for 99.9 percent of funds collected in support of Question 1. Both ACA and CARE are led and funded by the retail auto parts industry and aftermarket parts manufacturers. ACA’s Chairman is the CEO of a private equity-owned auto parts supplier, and CARE’s Chairman and President are the CEO of NAPA Auto Parts and the VP of Government Relations for AutoZone, respectively. However, despite being listed as “top contributors” in the most recent television ads in support of Question 1, neither O’Reilly nor Autozone are listed in the group’s OCPF report.

“This report should have finally revealed to Massachusetts voters who is actually behind this data grab effort. Instead, Question 1 proponents continue to hide their funding source and mislead the public,” said Yunits. “On the flip side, there has never been a question about where our funding comes from. In fact, we are going above and beyond to disclose every major contributor to the No effort.” said Yunits. “Every statement we have made in this campaign has been supported by facts, testimony and the truth – we challenge the billion-dollar retail auto parts companies to abide by that same level of transparency.” 

The No on 1 Campaign will continue its efforts to inform voters about the true purpose and many dangers behind Question 1 – a proposal that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said, “would raise substantial safety risks for American families.” (Full NHTSA letter linked here).