Monday, September 22, 2014

Woot! Google to dump ALEC!!

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt announced this afternoon the company will no longer support ALEC, the corporate dating service for state lawmakers. Just one week ago we learned four other companies quit paying dues to ALEC: Raytheon, Sempra Energy, Southern California Edison and Illinois Tool Works.

The Teamsters joined 50 other organizations in sending a letter to Google asking it to leave ALEC. The letter pointed out that ALEC represents positions that Google itself says it doesn't support. 

Google's departure further weakens ALEC, which has come under attack because:
  • It is tied to the Koch brothers; 
  • It is a lobbying group masquerading as a charity;
  • It has an agenda of lowering wages, empowering corporations, eradicating public education, suppressing voting, exporting natural gas, looting the public treasury and privatizing everything that isn't nailed down.
  • It operates in secrecy, buying lawmakers lavish vacations and access to corporate political contributors. 
At least 90 organizations left ALEC in the past few years. Google has been petitioned to leave ALEC for two years, according to a press statement. 
“Over the past two years, hundreds of thousands of Americans have signed petitions in order to ask that you take this step because of the role ALEC has played in subverting our democratic process,” the letter states. “The public knows that the ALEC operation—which brings state legislators and corporate lobbyists behind closed doors to discuss proposed legislation and share lavish dinners—threatens our democracy. The public is asking Google to stop participating in this scheme.” 
Over the past two years over 80 corporations and at least 400 state legislators have dropped their membership in ALEC due to its unpopular stances and increasingly tight relationship with right-wing dark money groups. ALEC has been called a “dating service” for politicians and corporate lobbyists and is known for pushing an extreme corporate agenda at the expense of the American people.
(You can read the letter here.)

Schmidt made the announcement in response to a caller question on the Diane Rehm radio show. Here's what he said:
K: Um, I'm curious to know if Google is still supporting ALEC which is that fund, they're, um, lobbyists in DC that are funding climate change deniers.
E: Um, we funded them as part of a political [campaign---somewhat unintelligible] of something unrelated. I think the consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake and so we're trying to not do that in the future.