Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have both dropped their memberships in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the shadowy, ideologically conservative organization behind “Stand Your Ground” and other controversial state laws, including a ban on living wages, school and prison privatization, and disenfranchising voter ID requirements. ALEC links corporations with friendly state lawmakers and drafts model legislation to be pushed in state legislatures. “Stand Your Ground” and its implication in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin have pushed ALEC and its member corporations, including not only Coca-Cola and Pepsi, but also Wal-Mart, ExxonMobil, FedEx, Johnson & Johnson, and others, into the spotlight.

Advocates cited the facts of the Trayvon Martin case to draw attention to ALEC, whose work remains quite secretive given its enormous influence nationwide.  Last week, Republic Report organized a letter with Color of Change, Rebuild The Dream, and Center for Media and Democracy asking corporations that are members of the ALEC Private Enterprise Board to withdraw from ALEC.  NPR reports that the Coca-Cola and PepsiCo cases are “part of a much broader campaign to spotlight companies that sell products to a public that might object to hard-line conservative policies”:

Coca-Cola’s announcement came hours after a civil rights group, ColorOfChange.org, launched an online drive calling on Coca-Cola to stop underwriting the ALEC agenda on voter ID laws in several states….

PepsiCo, another soft drink giant, belonged to ALEC for 10 years. In January, a company vice president told ColorOfChange that it wouldn’t renew for 2012.

He didn’t say it was because of ALEC’s stance on voter ID laws. But in an email to ColorOfChange, he said that issue would be considered if PepsiCo ever weighs rejoining ALEC.

Last year, Campus Progress launched an effort to press companies to quit ALEC in the wake of the disclosure that ALEC had drafted the Voter ID law. Color Of Change soon picked up the banner and has been engaged for months in efforts to convince companies to leave ALEC. In the wake of the Trayvon Martin case, many other groups are working on this effort.

One other target is ALEC board member Kraft Foods. NPR reported that on Wednesday Kraft said it was keeping its membership in ALEC: “A spokeswoman for Kraft said its only concern at ALEC are business related and have nothing to do with stand your ground or voter ID laws.”  But a company’s claim that its only motivation for joining ALEC is corporate self-interest does not absolve it of responsibility for the organization’s efforts to advance other destructive policies.

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Filed under: Lobbying

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  • Pingback: Kraft Foods Joins Coca-Cola and Pepsi In Leaving Corporate Front Group ALEC()

  • Dawnelaine

    We need to organize and boycott products from corporations who are members of ALEC.

    • http://www.thepragmaticpundit.com/ Fay Paxton

      I felt like you. But then I saw a roster of the ALEC membership and it is ridiculous. Every company you can imagine has a membership. It’s like a shadow government. Go to the ALEC website…it will blow your mind.

      • Dawnelaine

        Maybe it would be wise to boycott one or two corporations in one time period.

        • CatKinNY

          That’s not a bad idea, but I think right now we should concentrate on getting all of them to quit, in light of Stand Your Ground, voter suppression and attacks on women. Rush Limbaugh’s reign of terror is over, thanks to petitions and letter writing to sponsors campaigns; they all left. Most of these companies joined ALEC because it fights legislation that regulates businesses; I’ll bet you this raft of anti human legislation also promoted by the group has come as a real surprise in most board rooms. You have to realize that business school grads are actually very poorly educated people who know nothing beyond their fields, so it’s time to educate them.

        • http://www.thepragmaticpundit.com/ Fay Paxton

          I like that idea. I wonder if we can gin up enough enthusiasm to get people to participate? I would love it if hordes of people would stop shopping at Walmarts for a month.

  • JD Lee

    How do you prove they are members? Do you check a database and compare that information to who and where they really are? Maybe I can just make up a list and you can go after them, since it’s wrong to verify that they are, you would have to be obliged to what I just recommend.

    • Dawnelaine

      There are lists go to the ALEC exposed website, although ALEC tries to maintain secret information there are reliable ways to find out which corporations are members.

  • Dawnelaine

    Walmart would be a great first target.

  • Pingback: Wal-Mart Leaves Corporate Front Group ALEC, Joining 20 Other Organizations()

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