Common Cause filed an IRS claim against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on Monday, claiming that group has lobbied in violation of its 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization.  ALEC has denied the claims, saying the group studies legislative ideas and policy.

ALEC’s general counsel, Alan P. Dye, told reporters that ALEC’s “purpose is to receive all points of view, conduct analysis and research and create model legislation.”  President of Common Cause, Bob Edgar, disagrees, saying “it [ALEC] tells the IRS in its tax returns that it does no lobbying, yet it exists to pass profit-driven legislation in statehouses all over the country that benefits its corporate members.”

Corporate sponsors have been cutting ties with ALEC due to its role in passing Stand Your Ground laws.  The Stand Your Ground law in Florida is being cited as a defense by George Zimmerman, the man charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin.  Proctor and Gamble announced on Monday that it was dropping ALEC, making it the 13th sponsor to do so.  The other companies are: Coca-cola, PepsiCo, McDonalds, Kraft Foods, Wendy’s, Reed Elsevier, American Traffic Solutions, Intuit, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Arizona Public Service, Mars Inc., and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Associated Press 4/23/12; Politico 4/23/12; Bloomberg 4/23/12; ThinkProgress 4/23/12; Feminist Daily News Wire 4/16/12