Alice Huffman was paid millions by corporate ballot measure campaigns that her historic civil rights organization endorsed, while many Black leaders took opposing positions.
Political consultant Alice Huffman has resigned as president of the California NAACP after a turbulent election season in which several Black leaders criticized her for endorsing ballot measures they saw as bad for African-American communities — while she was paid $1.7 million to work on the proposition campaigns.
Huffman, who has led the California-Hawaii chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for 20 years, sent a letter to the organization’s executive committee on Nov. 12, saying she will step down for health reasons on Dec. 1. She issued a similar press release today and did not respond to CalMatters’ requests for comment.
“With the victory at the top of the ticket securing the election of President-Elect Joe Biden, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, as well as securing the reelection of our African American leaders in the California State Legislature, I can say ‘mission accomplished’ and now take a well deserved rest,” Huffman’s statement says.
Her resignation from the historic civil rights group follows an unusually busy election season for Huffman, who was paid a total of $1.7 million by five corporate-backed campaigns that framed their positions with messages of racial justice, as CalMatters reported in September. It brings her payments by ballot measure campaigns beyond $4 million over the last two decades.
This year, campaigns funded by commercial landlords, ride-hailing apps, dialysis companies and bail bonds businesses paid Huffman while touting her NAACP affiliation in their ads. She was especially prominent in commercials against Proposition 15, which sought to raise commercial property taxes to increase funding for schools, and against Proposition 25, which would have eliminated the use of cash bail.
“Over the years, Alice basically went against everything that was in the best interest of Black people. And she used the NAACP to do that,” said Taisha Brown, chair of the California Democratic Party’s Black caucus.
“To use a historically Black organization that is meant for the betterment of Black people was just appalling.”
Some local NAACP branches found themselves campaigning against the leadership of their statewide organization this fall. Darrell Goode, president of the NAACP’s Santa Monica-Venice branch, asked voters not to heed the California NAACP’s endorsements. “They do not represent the interests of people of color within our state,” he wrote in an October press release that cited CalMatters’ report detailing Huffman’s paid campaign work.
“It made a conflict in the community,” Goode said. “People see ‘NAACP’ and they think it can’t be that bad. We believe it’s cost us a lot.”