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New Ms. Features Exposé on Ward Connerly and His Deceptively Worded "Civil Rights Initiatives"

The winter issue of Ms. magazine-on newsstands now- features an in-depth investigation of Ward Connerly, the chief proponent of the deceptively named "civil rights initiatives" designed to eliminate state affirmative action programs for women and minorities in public contracting, employment, and education. As he gears up to target five states with ballot measures this November (AZ, CO, MO, NE, OK), Ms. 's investigation explores Connerly's:

•  Extensive ties to the network of large public works contractors and industry organizations that stand to benefit from eliminating affirmative action in public contracting. Hundreds of billions of our tax dollars are doled out to businesses annually by federal, state and local governments in order to procure goods and services, including the building of roads and freeways, schools, universities, airports and prisons for example. Affirmative action programs help ensure that women and minority-owned firms get a fair shake in bidding for the contracts. Ms. magazine examines Connerly's longtime role as a lobbyist and consultant for this network of big contractors that were among the largest contributors to Prop 209 in California and have long fought against affirmative action requirements nationwide.

•  Eye-popping compensation package. Since 1998, Connerly and his firm have taken in $8.3 million in compensation from the two nonprofits he established to run his anti-affirmative action campaigns. Over the same period, his compensation totaled nearly half of the two organizations' total revenue. Last year, his compensation topped $1.6 million, amounting to a whopping 66% of his non profits' total revenue-possibly in violation of federal tax laws that prohibit individuals from using charitable organizations to enrich themselves.

•  Deceptive campaign tactics. Renowned legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw exposes Connerly and his supporters' deliberate attempts to mislead voters into believing their initiatives are pro-civil rights and pro-women. She examines the disputes over proposed ballot language, revealing how vitally important it is to the initiatives proponents' strategy to preserve the deceptive ballot language.

Note to editors: Executive Editor Katherine Spillar and author Kimberle Crenshaw are available for interviews. If you want to request a copy of the article or inquire about reprint opportunities please contact Jessica Stites ( jstites@msmagazine.com ; 310-556-2515).