- Views & Opinions
A coalition of civil rights and government watchdog groups has intensified its campaign to pressure corporations to withdraw from the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council.
ColorOfChange, Common Cause, People for the American Way, Progress Now, the Center for Media and Democracy and CREDO are calling on ALEC members to leave the organization immediately.
ALEC brings together state legislators, who pay $100 for a two-year membership, and corporations, which pay between $2,500 and $25,000 for an annual membership, according to AP. The legislators and corporate representatives draft templates of legislation that can be used by lawmakers and lobbyists as models for state or federal legislation.
The boycott gained momentum as more Americans learned of ALEC’s role in enacting Stand Your Ground laws such as the one cited as a defense in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida, as well as anti-immigrant legislation and the proliferation of voter ID laws.
“Major corporations like Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Kraft understand that supporting voter suppression efforts and dangerous Stand Your Ground legislation puts their brands at great risk in the black community,” said Rashad Robinson ColorOfChange.org.
The organization’s members this week were calling the headquarters of Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, AT&T and State Farm to urge the companies to withdraw from ALEC.
“It’s increasingly clear that ALEC applies the economic clout of some of our country’s largest corporations on behalf of public policies that limit voting rights, undermine our public schools, assault collective bargaining and weaken laws protecting our environment,” said Bob Edgar of Common Cause. “This is neither good business nor responsible corporate citizenship.”
This month, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mars, Kraft Foods, McDonalds, Wendy’s and the software maker Intuit confirmed that they have withdrawn from ALEC.
On April 9, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced it will no longer be making grants to ALEC.
Koch Industries, whose top executives Charles and David Koch are prominent supporters of far-right causes, remains one of the largest corporations supporting ALEC.
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