Six companies have announced they are separating from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – General Electric, Western Union, Sprint Nextel, Symantec (creators of Norton anti-virus software), Reckitt Benckiser Group (which makes Lysol), and Entergy (a Louisiana-based power company).
ALEC came under scrutiny for their support of “Stand Your Ground” legislation used in the defense of George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin and voter suppression legislation. Voter suppression bills based on ALEC’s model have been introduced in 34 states. Voter suppression legislation has recently passed in 19 states, with the legislation being into law in 17 states. 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.
Following a campaign by ColorOfChange.org, over thirty companies have stopped their support of ALEC including Coca Cola, PepsiCo, and McDonalds according to ThinkProgress. ALEC disbanded their “Public Safety and Elections” task force that focused on non-economic legislation as a result of corporate pressure.
Earlier this year, Common Cause filed an IRS claim against the ALEC, 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 is an organization which has been supported by many corporations and is composed of state legislators. ALEC has developed model legislation which aids corporations and has often promoted extreme right-wing legislation. 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.
Media Resources: ThinkProgress 8/27/12, Feminist Newswire 4/26/12; Feminist Newswire 4/18/12; Feminist Newswire 4/5/12