April 5, 2012

Kraft Foods Joins Coca-Cola and Pepsi In Leaving Corporate Front Group ALEC

Earlier today, we reported that Coca-Cola and PepsiCo said they would leave the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the corporate front group that pushes controversial laws like Stand Your Ground and disenfranchising Voter ID laws in state legislatures across the country.  Citizen groups, led by Color of Change, have pressured the corporations that fund ALEC to quit the group, arguing that the popular consumer companies should not back laws harmful to the communities in which their shareholders, employees, and customers live and work.

Last week, the editors of Republic Report, along with Color of Change, Rebuild The Dream, and Center for Media and Democracy wrote to the 20 corporations on ALEC’s board asking them to stop supporting this controversial group.  One of the 20 was Kraft Foods Inc., which initially said that it would remain with ALEC. Republic Report’s Zaid Jilani and Lee Fang visited Kraft’s Washington, D.C. lobby offices last week, asking about the letter we wrote:

Late in the day on Thursday, Kraft Foods Inc, said in an emailed statement that it would leave ALEC:

“We belong to many external groups, including ALEC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes growth and fiscal responsibility…ALEC covers numerous issues but our involvement has been strictly limited to discussions about economic growth and development, transportation and tax policy. We did not participate in meetings or conversations related to other issues…Our membership in ALEC expires this spring and for a number of reasons, including limited resources, we have made the decision not to renew.”

Other popular consumer corporations, including Wal-Mart, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Proctor and Gamble, and UPS have not indicated that they plan to follow suit and dissociate themselves from ALEC.  At least not yet.

UPDATE: In what is an increasingly bad week for ALEC, Intuit, too, has now ended its relationship with the company.

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  • Yay! I once had the idea that consumers could boycott members, but when I saw the membership roster it blew my mind. The hundreds and hundreds of companies touch every aspect of our lives. I’m also still amazed at how many people know nothing about ALEC.

    • Yep, most people I talk to have never even heard of ALEC. Disturbing, to say the least.

  • Susan A.

    I had cut back on shopping at Duane Reade to help the local mom and pop pharmacies in my neighborhood. But now I know their parent company gives to ALEC. I think it is time to for me to stop shopping there completely.

  • Pamela Zuppo

    It is unfortunate only three of many companies have responded as this illuminates the hold this corrupt organization has on American business. I suggest every follower of the Republic Report, Color of Change, Rebuild the Dream, and Center for Media and Democracy publish the list on their Facebook pages and other social media. This particular campaign requires every concerned citizen’s attention, even if they don’t know it yet. It is the responsibility of every supporter of this effort and similar other efforts to spread the word because most people have learned to have a “blind” trust of the American corporation or they may feel powerless to make any changes. The template for the “Stand Your Ground” law is extremely egregious;however, ALEC is behind every immoral piece of extremist GOP legislation appearing in state legislative bodies throughout the country. For this important reason, it is imperative every citizen be made aware of ALEC and its corrupt and unethical purposes. It is so important more of the public become involved during this most important election year.

    Although OWS groups are on the streets working hard and have been highly effective and successful in changing the national dialogue, complacent people are now ignoring them and some are being critical of them. OWS groups have a great many areas of focus and have become instrumental in some time-consuming efforts such as retaking foreclosed property.This means the rest of us who are unable or unwilling to march alongside OWS groups can also effect great change through our computers and essentially join in their cause(s) in addition to many others. This petition is a great start – as well as the books written by Van Jones and Jack Abramoff – but we all know the regular John Q Public is sitting on his couch watching his favorite mind-numbing television show and ignorantly views cleverly-crafted democratic subterfuge and in the absence of meaningful thought. It is those citizens we must reach and at least plant the seeds of doubt in their minds. Local community groups should be organized to enable thoughtful brainstorming of how to reach ordinary citizens and should have the support of the very concerned groups who initiated this petition project. Without determined effort and continuous exposure of ALEC, it will pass without notice by many.

    I say game-on and I’m willing to lend strong support if anyone would care to advance this important cause on local levels.

  • TRussert

    Way to go Kraft. I’m buying your cheese again! So, who’s next?

  • My babes

    Thanks, Kraft, I can now enjoy your foods again! Good news about Duane Reade; used to have my prescriptions there but were dropped by my plan so now don’t have to go there at all.

  • Katon51

    Funny thing. If I wanted to buy a Kraft product with a check, I’d have to produce photo ID. I’m spending my money with companys that respect the integrity of voter identity.

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