General Electric Becomes 38th Company to Exit ALEC Since It Was Exposed As Right-Wing Front Group

Color of Change:

Five more major national and global corporate members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have told leading online civil rights group ColorOfChange that they have cut ties to the right-wing policy group, bringing the total of companies to drop ALEC to 38. They include: General Electric, The Western Union Company, Sprint Nextel Corporation, Symantec Corporation, and Reckitt Benckiser Group plc. The announcement of these major departures comes days before the Republican National Convention is scheduled to open in Tampa, FL.


Trayvon Martin Murder Case Shows State Legislatures are Letting Gun Extremists Call the Shots


Is it self-defense if you pick a fistfight and then, when you realize the other person is winning, shoot to kill?

Laws that protect and encourage gun violence are moving America closer to becoming a society based on the whims of thousands of tiny militias

That’s the question legal reporter Dan Abrams poses in a column that gets to the heart of the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman mess.

Abrams finds that Florida’s NRA/ALEC written “Stand Your Ground” law contains two exceptions that could mean the answer is yes and that Zimmerman will go free.


Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Shows One Group Was Right — the Welfare Recipients

Yes sir, I WILL need you to pee in the cup.

What do you do when the facts don’t support your actions, which were based on extremist rhetoric and false notions? If you’re Gov. Rick Scott (GOP/Tea – Fla.) you simply change the mission.

The results are in, and drug testing of welfare recipients as a means to deny them assistance costs more than it saves and fails to shrink the welfare rolls. On the plus side, it shows that drug use is lower among welfare recipients than in the general population.

The idea that people on public assistance are lazy, fatcat, dishonest, drug using cheaters of the system who eat steak and drive Cadillacs is so deeply held on the right that it can’t be shaken — no matter how much the facts pee all over it.

The facts have Gov. Scott and the Florida legislators who introduced the bill — which is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) even as it is under consideration in 25 other states — pivoting. They say their idea wasn’t so much to save taxpayer dollars, which is precisely what they claimed at the time, but to cut illegal drug use and…um…give me a second here…what sounds good? Something about children? Maybe?

“It’s not about money, it’s about the drug issue,” said Rep. Jimmie Smith, R-Lecanto, who sponsored the legislation. “It’s about using every tool we have in the toolbox to fight drugs.”

Jackie Schutz, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, said the governor agreed: The drug welfare law is about protecting children and getting parents back to work.

So along with saving taxpayers money, fighting drugs, protecting children, and getting parents back to work, that brings the total number of things the new law isn’t accomplishing to four.


Owner of Hollywood Trade Magazine ‘Variety’ Exits Right-Wing Push Group ALEC

Now ten companies have left:

Reed Elsevier — a personal information provider (of services such as Lexis-Nexis) — and American Traffic Solutions — a provider of traffic technology solutions — have become the 9th and 10th companies to drop ALEC.

Reed Elsevier stated that the campaign to highlight ALEC’s promotion of measures that disempower and disenfranchise minorities played a role in its decision. “We made the decision after considering the broad range of criticism being leveled at ALEC,” said a Reed Elsevier spokesman.

American Traffic Solutions spokesman Charles Territo said his group’s decision not to renew its membership with ALEC “was based on how best to allocate our resources.”

To recap, here is the list of companies that have dropped ALEC so far:


Intuit Becomes Fourth Company to Quit Right-Wing Push Group, ALEC

sceenshot-intuit-turbotaxJust in time for tax season:

A stampede seems to be on the way as more and more groups break ties and dump ALEC. Intuit, Inc. (maker of Quicken and QuickBooks accounting software) told the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) that Intuit also decided not to renew its membership after it expired in 2011. That comment came from Bernie McKay, Vice President of Government Affairs. He gave this response when CMD identified that Intuit was no longer listed on the board and contacted the company. CMD began its effort to spotlight Intuit and other corporate funders and tie these corporations to the ALEC agenda when it launched in July 2011.

Kraft Foods also announced that it won’t renew its membership in ALEC when it expires this spring, according to an email from Kraft Corporate Affairs Director Susan Davison. These announcements follow on the news that Coca-Cola and Pepsi are out.

Intuit’s McKay explained to CMD that the company doesn’t “usually issue statements about membership in any organization” and declined to comment further. According to Reuters, Kraft’s emailed statement explained, “Our membership in ALEC expires this spring and for a number of reasons, including limited resources, we have made the decision not to renew.”

Here is a list of some of the best-known consumer brands who pay ALEC to push a right-wing agenda in the states by writing laws designed to suppress minority voting rights, expand gun ownership and restrict health care access and women’s rights:


Kraft Foods and Coca-Cola Reps Were ALEC Board Members

The fact that Kraft Foods and Coca-Cola resigned their memberships in ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council — the push group behind the voter suppression movement, Stand Your Ground Laws and similar right-wing efforts — this week is perhaps an even more significant blow to the group than was first reported.

Dozens of mainstream, otherwise respectable corporations — like Microsoft, Sara Lee and even Mary Kay Cosmetics — are members of ALEC, but representatives for Kraft and Coke sat on the ALEC board.

ALEC has two boards of directors. One board is made up of Republican elected officials from state legislatures; the other is comprised of representatives from the corporate members. According to Right Wing Watch, members of ALEC’s Private Enterprise Board include:


Petition by Civil Rights Group Prompts Coca-Cola, Kraft and Pepsi to Cut Ties with ALEC

Efforts by by ColorOfChange and others are paying off. Via NPR:

logos-coke-kraft-pepsiCoca-Cola Co. has terminated its relationship with a conservative group seen by some as an incubator for a string of new state voter ID laws and a marketer of laws like Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense statute.

The Atlanta-based soft drink maker said its focus with the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, was on combating “discriminatory” food and beverage taxes, not on issues “that have no direct bearing” on its business.

The decision to “discontinue its membership” came Wednesday, just a few hours after the black online advocacy group ColorofChange began a campaign against the company’s support of ALEC.

Kraft Foods also dropped out tonight. Pepsi — an ALEC member for 10 years — informed Color of Change in January that it would not renew its membership for 2012.

The corporate leader for ALEC is, of course, the Koch brothers industries, and many energy and industrial companies are major funders of the group. What is more surprising is that dozens of the best known consumer brands are also big donors. A few of these include: