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.