Progressive Insurance Chairman Peter Lewis Donates Millions to Liberal Causes – Truth! & Outdated!
Summary of eRumor:
Progressive Insurance Chairman Peter Lewis donates millions of dollars to the American Civil Liberties Union, MoveOn.org and other “leftist” causes.
Claims in this eRumor are both true and outdated.
The eRumor first surfaced in a forwarded email that was circulated in 2006. Peter Lewis is no longer the chairman of Progressive Insurance. He held the post until he died in 2013 at the age of 80. Lewis also served as the CEO of Progressive Insurance for 35 years before he stepped down in 2000.
At the time of this death, Forbes estimates that Peter Lewis’s net worth was $1.3 billion. During his life, Lewis used his wealth to support progressive causes, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Moveon.org, as the eRumor claims.
In 2003, the ACLU announced that Peter Lewis had donated $8 million to the group to “fight Bush Administration policies that trample on civil liberties.” The donation was split between the ACLU’s general fund ($2 million) and its endowment, the Trust for the Bill of Rights ($6 million). Lewis also donated $7 million to the ACLU’s general fund in 2001, so the claim that Lewis donated $15 million to ACLU from 2001 to 2003 is true.
The claim that Peter Lewis and George Soros supported Moven.org is also true. The group was first launched to help persuade Congress to drop impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton. Later, it shifted its attention to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then, in 2003, Peter Lewis and George Soros dedicated up to $5 million to help the group’s efforts to defeat President Bush, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Peter Lewis was also a supporter of efforts to legalize marijuana for medical use. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws estimated in 2012 that Lewis had spent between $40 and $60 million funding the cause since the 1980s.
Last updated 1/22/15