Coca-Cola announced yesterday that it would pull all support and membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Its announcement came in response to a campaign recently launched by ColorofChange.org asking businesses to pull sponsorship from ALEC. PepsiCo, whose membership expired in January, told Color of Change that it would not renew for 2012.
ALEC is an organization made up of corporations and legislators who write and promote often extreme right-wing legislation. The majority of voter suppression laws that have swept the country in the past year were written and promoted by ALEC, as have most anti-union, anti-environmental, and anti-regulatory legislation. ALEC was also behind the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida that has provided a defense for Trayvon Martin’s killer. ALEC claims to have about 1,000 of its bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law.
98% of ALEC’s revenue comes directly from corporations and corporate foundations. Those who financially support ALEC include ExxonMobil (who gave $1.4 million from 1998-2009), the Koch family (amount is unreported, but noted to be well over $1 million), and the Coors family. ALEC political members most notably include Gov. Jan Brewer, Gov. Scott Walker, Gov. John Kasich, Gov. Rick Perry, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
ColorofChange.org has noted ALEC’s position in promoting voter suppression and its particular disenfranchisement of people of color. Voter suppression bills based on ALEC’s model have been introduced in 34 states and have passed in 7. The laws have the potential to disenfranchise up to 5 million people in the U.S. and are specifically designed to target people of color, young people, women, and people living in poverty.
In their campaign urging corporations to pull all sponsorship of ALEC, ColorofChange.org is drawing public attention to corporate sponsorship for voter suppression laws and effectively increasing public pressure in holding corporations accountable. Walmart is the next corporation that the campaign hopes to target.
Take action and support the campaign here.