10 and Counting — Corporations Flee ALEC and its Harmful Agenda
As of today, ten major corporations and organizations have publicly quit the American Legislative Exchange Council, the low-profile corporate front group better known as ALEC. ALEC is responsible for pushing harmful laws like Stand Your Ground and disenfranchising voter ID requirements in states across the country. And it’s funded almost entirely by corporations. But public pressure has compelled some of these corporations to stand by their shareholders, employees, and customers, and quit the group. Here’s how they did it:
Coca Cola, April:
“The Coca-Cola Company has elected to discontinue its membership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Our involvement with ALEC was focused on efforts to oppose discriminatory food and beverage taxes, not on issues that have no direct bearing on our business. We have a long-standing policy of only taking positions on issues that impact our Company and industry.”
PepsiCo, April 5:
(From a Jan. 25, 2012 email to Color of Change; made public April 5)
As we discussed, PepsiCo has been a member of the bipartisan group of state legislators ALEC, for the last decade, where we largely focused on issues raised by discriminatory taxes. We were not involved in the discussion on voter registration, nor do we serve on the Task Force, which reviewed the proposals. In addition, PepsiCo pays the minimal, standard membership fee to ALEC and thus does not have influence over issues in which we do not actively engage. … Please note, at this point in time, PepsiCo is not a member of ALEC, as of 2012, as our membership expires each year.
Kraft, April 5:
“We belong to many external groups, including ALEC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes growth and fiscal responsibility.
“ALEC covers numerous issues but our involvement has been strictly limited to discussions about economic growth and development, transportation and tax policy. We did not participate in meetings or conversations related to other issues. “Our membership in ALEC expires this spring and for a number of reasons, including limited resources, we have made the decision not to renew.”
Intuit, April 6:
“Intuit’s McKay explained to [the Center for Media and Democracy] that the company doesn’t “usually issue statements about membership in any organization” and declined to comment further.”
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, April 9:
“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation today became the latest backer to withdraw financial support for the American Legislative Exchange Council. A foundation spokesman told Roll Call that it does not plan to make future grants to the conservative nonprofit, which has come under fire from progressive activists for its support of voter identification laws and other contentious measures.”
McDonald’s, April 10:
“While [we] were a member of ALEC in 2011, we evaluate all professional memberships annually and made the business decision not to renew in 2012.”
Wendy’s, April 11:
“Wendy’s is not a member of ALEC. Last year, we made the decision not to renew for 2012,” wrote a spokesman for Wendy’s in an email to Mother Jones.
The company sent out a tweet [April 11] from its official account, saying that their withdrawal from ALEC had been anticipated for several months. “We decided late 2011 and never renewed this year. It didn’t fit our business needs,” read the message.
Mars, April 12:
“Earlier this year, Mars, Incorporated reviewed all of its trade associations and sponsorships and decided not to renew the ALEC membership in 2012.”
Arizona Public Service, April 12:
Arizona Public Service lobbyist Jessica Pacheco said the company would not renew its membership in ALEC, a conservative state lawmakers’ organization known for drafting model legislation for members to sponsor in their respective states. The company’s membership expires this summer, she said.
Reed Elsevier, April 13:
“We made the decision after considering the broad range of criticism being leveled at ALEC.”
American Traffic Solutions, April 13:
“Our decision was based on how best to allocate our resources.”