Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Woot! More corporations leave ALEC in stampede out the door

ALEC, the secretive lobbying shop that pretends to be a charity, continues to lose members this week as several more corporations cut ties to the troubled organization.

The Center for Media and Democracy reports,
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., Occidental Petroleum, International Paper, and Overstock.com are the latest corporations to say they have left the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) after a wave of technology companies led by Google and Facebook announced their departures last week...
Corporations that have publicly cut ties to ALEC since CMD launched ALECexposed.org in July 2011 include Fortune 500 firms such as General Motors, General Electric, Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Kraft Foods, Coke, and Pepsi. ALEC spent years pushing controverisal Stand Your Ground gun laws and bills to make it harder for Americans to vote before trying to distance itself from that legacy.
Occidental Petroleum's departure is a big deal.  It's the first major oil company to leave ALEC. An Occidental spokesperson said the company didn't want to be associated with ALEC's position on climate change or environmental regulation. Investors had pressured the company to drop ALEC especially because of its opposition to sustainable energy at the state level.

The last two weeks have been horrible for ALEC, as its members stampeded toward the door. Corporations don't want to be associated with the notorious Koch brothers, nor do they want their customers believing they meet behind closed doors with elected officials. They certainly don't want the public to think they support ALEC's agenda: lowering wages, eradicating public education, weakening workers' rights, killing jobs, suppressing voting and rolling back consumer and environmental protections.

Teamsters played a big part in putting ALEC on the ropes. We've worked hard to tell people how ALEC is destroying America's democracy by arranging secret meetings between corporations and state lawmakers. Our work over the past few years paid off, as nearly 100 corporate members of ALEC have severed their relationship with the organization.

We're not sure of the exact reasons for the departures of News Corp., (which owns FOX News), International Paper and Overstock.com. But it's clear that ALEC has become an undesirable bedfellow.