At least six major corporations and foundations — Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Kraft, Intuit, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — have now left or have pledged to leave the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive corporate front group that works to pass legislation in all fifty states.

The corporations are leaving largely thanks to protests by activists and consumers outraged that ALEC has been pushing voter suppression and “Stand Your Ground” laws that harm American communities.

This morning, ALEC sent out a panicked press statement complaining of an “intimidation” campaign that is trying to “eliminate discourse”:

ALEC is an organization that supports pro-growth, pro-jobs policies and the vigorous exchange of ideas between the public and private sector to develop state based solutions. Today, we find ourselves the focus of a well-funded, expertly coordinated intimidation campaign.

Our members join ALEC because we connect state legislators with other state legislators and with job-creators in their states. They join because we support pro-business policies that promote innovation and spur local and national competitiveness. They’re ALEC members because they’re more interested in solutions than rhetoric. [...]

At a time when job creation, real solutions and improved dialogue among political leaders is needed most, ALEC’s mission has never been more important. This is why we are redoubling our commitment to these essential priorities.  We are not and will not be defined by ideological special interests who would like to eliminate discourse that leads to economic vitality, jobs and fiscal stability for the states.

 A much more accurate re-write of one of those statements would read like this:
Our members join ALEC because we connect state legislators with other state legislators and with the biggest campaign donors in their states. They join because we support pro-Big Business policies that promote the bottom lines of special interests and spur local and national donations by Big Business to our organization. They’re ALEC members because they’re more interested in profit than principles.
ALEC loves to claim that it is simply advocating for small-government, conservative ideas. But its agenda isn’t that of the free market but rather one of its Big Business donors. It has in the past  gotten state legislatures to pass laws stopping local governments from enacting their own municipal broadband systems and banning them from deciding to use their tax dollars to pay living wages to contractors. These laws are not designed to promote the free market or small government. They have only one goal — padding the profits of ALEC’s corporate members, even if small government principles are discarded in the process.
ALEC claims that its critics are trying to “eliminate discourse.” That’s nonsense. We here at Republic Report love the discourse about ALEC that is occurring in town squares, internet forums, social media, and corporate boardrooms all over America. We and our partners have sought to engage in this discussion with corporations sitting on ALEC’s Private Enterprise Board. Everywhere, Americans are asking why corporations are pouring so much money into this secretive organization that has such a harmful impact on their lives. And when groups like Color of Change call on corporate donors to leave ALEC, they are not utilizing Big Government but rather their own right to free speech — and the right to use their own money as they see fit in a free market — to change America.
The campaign to hold ALEC responsible represents the best combination of free speech and the free market. ALEC hates that, but that’s because ALEC doesn’t stand for the free market or free speech at all. It stands for an America where Big Business can secretly write our laws. And increasingly, even Big Business is learning that a relationship with ALEC may be unprofitable.

Filed under: Plutocrats

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  • Drink4health

    Companies like this, lobbyists and citizens united are what is so wrong with our country. They are selling our country to corporations. Our very own (in)justices of the supreme court passesd the citizen united legislation that allows corporations to donate unlimited amounts to their politician of choice??!! Are you kidding me? People that take part in undermining our country like this, should be tried in court as domestic terrorists and imprisoned.

    • BranchesOfGovernment

      While, yes, The Citizen’s United fiasco was a slap in the face to actual free speech, the supreme court doesn’t “pass legislation”, they settle disputes involving branches of government and the states with third parties, and rule on the constitutionality of laws based on a case that comes before them. The legislature passes legislation.

  • benritmato

    That is a great re-write! Thanks for the updates.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1050821401 Corey Turner

    “It stands for an America where Big Business can secretly write our laws.” – Exactly. They have LITERALLY been writing the laws and handing them over to the lawmakers to enact. What a load of crap.

  • http://twitter.com/jackhammer3853 Jackhammer3853

    This group was totally created off of Fear Of Blacks and other Minority
    Groups and was set-up to intimidate those who are trying to exert their Rights
    of Forward Mobility!! While Repub./Teabaggas were complaining about how Dems.
    were trying to take away peoples rights to bear arms, and giving away free money,
    this Alec Group were arming the Right Wing to take the law into their own hands!!

    Its not going to work with the double speak this time.
    We are on to all of you!!

  • Misanthrope36

    So, these corporations will leave and form another secret organization. Once a cheater, always a cheater. Are we really supposed to endorse these companies now? The only reason they left is because their hand was caught in the proverbial cookie jar. It’s like raping someone and then bragging that you pulled out. Does it make the crime any less real? Realize!

    • WhichTruth

      Of fund it back door through their lobby shops.

    • MariaEC

      I tend to agree with you. Corporate greed is so entrenched in our society that I find it hard to believe that giants like Pepsi are just walking away with just a wave and a ‘see ya’. I’m honestly not buying it. I’m sure these companies will just hand out contributions under the table while outwardly maintaining this image as corporate good guys who broke away from the pack. The sad thing is, there are people that will buy their routine. Don’t forget also about the US Chamber of Commerce. They’re on a par with ALEC and a lot of the same companies belong to both.

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  • RbrtFoster24

    Keep up the good work.

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  • homespunlady

    It’s gotten to the point that I hear that overworked SPIN PHRASE “job creator” all I can think of is wanna be slave masters…the plantations of the “old south” had plenty of “jobs” for their SLAVES! Problem is the only ones improving their lives were the OWNERS – translate that to present day and you can say that the same push to profit by legislating for a return to that system through eroding rights and protections for the common people in favor of a tiny elite that use our laws against us by corrupting them is NO better than slowly returning to another form of legalized slavery.

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