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Excerpt: "In recent weeks, McDonald's, Wendy's, Intuit, Mars, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have stopped supporting ALEC, responding to pressure from activists and consumers who have formed a grass-roots counterweight to corporate treasuries."

ALEC is losing corporate donors. (image: PR Watch)
ALEC is losing corporate donors. (image: PR Watch)

Corporate Donors Pulling Back From ALEC, NRA

By The New York Times | Editorial

17 April 12


year ago, few people outside the world of state legislatures had heard of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a four-decade-old organization run by right-wing activists and financed by business leaders. The group writes prototypes of state laws to promote corporate and conservative interests and spreads them from one state capital to another.

The council, known as ALEC, has since become better known, with news organizations alerting the public to the damage it has caused: voter ID laws that marginalize minorities and the elderly, antiunion bills that hurt the middle class and the dismantling of protective environmental regulations.

Now it's clear that ALEC, along with the National Rifle Association, also played a big role in the passage of the "Stand Your Ground" self-defense laws around the country. The original statute, passed in Florida in 2005, was a factor in the local police's failure to arrest the shooter of a Florida teenager named Trayvon Martin immediately after his killing in February.

That was apparently the last straw for several prominent corporations that had been financial supporters of ALEC. In recent weeks, McDonald's, Wendy's, Intuit, Mars, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have stopped supporting the group, responding to pressure from activists and consumers who have formed a grass-roots counterweight to corporate treasuries. That pressure is likely to continue as long as state lawmakers are more responsive to the needs of big donors than the public interest.

The N.R.A. pushed Florida's Stand Your Ground law through the State Legislature over the objections of law enforcement groups, and it was signed by Gov. Jeb Bush. It allows people to attack a perceived assailant if they believe they are in imminent danger, without having to retreat. John Timoney, formerly the Miami police chief, recently called the law a "recipe for disaster," and he said that he and other police chiefs had correctly predicted it would lead to more violent road-rage incidents and drug killings. Indeed, "justifiable homicides" in Florida have tripled since 2005.

Nonetheless, ALEC - which counts the N.R.A. as a longtime and generous member - quickly picked up on the Florida law and made it one of its priorities, distributing it to legislators across the country. Seven years later, 24 other states now have similar laws, thanks to ALEC's reach, and similar bills have been introduced in several other states, including New York.

The corporations abandoning ALEC aren't explicitly citing the Stand Your Ground statutes as the reason for their decision. But many joined the group for narrower reasons, like fighting taxes on soda or snacks, and clearly have little interest in voter ID requirements or the N.R.A.'s vision of a society where anyone can fire a concealed weapon at the slightest hint of a threat.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, ALEC bemoaned the opposition it is facing and claimed it is only interested in job creation, government accountability and pro-business policies. It makes no mention of its role in pushing a law that police departments believe is increasing gun violence and deaths. That's probably because big business is beginning to realize the Stand Your Ground laws are indefensible. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+69 # Kayjay 2012-04-17 19:52
This "exposure" of ALEC is just what we need to lessen the ka-ching of big money buying and writing laws which promote the interests of the few over the many. More unveiling and protest is needed in order to ensure that this "openness" doesn't just fade away. Maybe, with even more public pressure we can get closer to the notion that we have public NOT corporate servants in the halls of Congress. Fight on!
+40 # Liberalthinker 2012-04-17 21:52
Could it be that America is "waking up" to the damage done by right wiong conservatism ? We can only hope and pray. An answer to Holyone's comment about "Stand Your Ground "creating more jobs might be ,"The more worthless liberal bums ,up to no good,who are killed by protectors of the right to bear arms and save yourself from threatening kids in a hoodie armed with deadly Skittles, the more job openings for the righteous."..YE S...that was sarcasm and not a condemnation of the very misused second ammendment, Coffinwhomever etc.
+39 # ruths 2012-04-17 22:46
Thankfully people are recognizing that the simple act of boycott is easy, especially when compared to the damage done by unrestrained greed and power mongering. Plain and simple, it is painless to boycott Pepsi or Kraft and in fact, it is environmentally healthy to boycott fast food--we can feel green when we help put these corporations in the red! Corporate decision makers clearly do not have the hold on our wallets that they had imagined and if the public opinion didn't threaten the bottom line they would not be pulling back!
0 # michelle 2012-04-19 22:28
Don't forget the general strike on May 1st. Boycott when and where you can.
+20 # jes7444 2012-04-17 23:25
I thought Jeb Bush had more brains but it turns out he is as dangerous as his brother.... Jeb's Legacy Stand Your Ground otherwise known as legalized killing and puppet to the NRA and Dubya with his Iraq War and the killing of 4400+ young Americans and the maiming of thousands....Yo u know the South was mainly Democrat until LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act -after that the South was lost to the Republicans...t hat is why the South is still flying the Confederate Flag...instead of hanging they can just shoot blacks and call it self defense.
+7 # mayordoug 2012-04-18 09:22
Quoting jes7444:
I thought Jeb Bush had more brains but it turns out he is as dangerous as his brother.... Jeb's Legacy Stand Your Ground otherwise known as legalized killing and puppet to the NRA and Dubya with his Iraq War and the killing of 4400+ young Americans and the maiming of thousands....You know the South was mainly Democrat until LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act -after that the South was lost to the Republicans...that is why the South is still flying the Confederate Flag...instead of hanging they can just shoot blacks and call it self defense.

Didn't someone recently point out that the confederate flag represents treason against the Union, and those that believe in it are, in fact, advocating treason against the USA?
+21 # Majikman 2012-04-17 23:38
Isn't it amazing that the voice of citizens has enormous power over corporations... but almost none over congress.
+24 # Peace Anonymous 2012-04-17 23:45
George W. Bush felt threatened??? Based on what has happened in Iraq in the last few years I think it is more like Cheney and Bush felt greedy, not threatened. Iraq sits on top of a sea of oil and if there ever was a threat it was probably created in Halliburton's board room. I think it is time the American people accepted that they were duped.
+5 # jimyoung 2012-04-18 08:57
Am I alone in having doubts about the series Dallas? I thought it painted a terrible picture of American Oilmen, but back then I didn't know much about Cheney.
+19 # wwway 2012-04-18 00:34
If the 99% doesn't remain vigilant in watching the anticts of the rich then the ground lost is deserved. Destroy ALEC and another ALEC will pop up.
The reason Republican propaganda took center stage 30/40 years ago is because Progressives let go of their message and tired of their efforts. The 1% never sleeps. Well funded and selfish, it is always on the assult.
+4 # BLBreck 2012-04-18 16:06
I totally agree! The true and present danger is that this organization will just call itself a different name. Intense vigilance is very necessary! Another organization to go after is the Chamber of Commerce, which is also known to channel money from these corporations into politics. The great thing is that the American people are waking up and using whatever power they have to try and curb the corruption.
+17 # Pancho 2012-04-18 01:13
A substantial part of the ALEC agenda has been to promote the commodification of human beings. Its "model legislation" is responsible for the introduction of laws that expand the prison population in the interests of former core ALEC members GEO Group and the Corrections Corporation of America.

This for-profit prison industry has been the antithesis of "government accountability, " as it fights oversight at every opportunity, from corrupting legislators and officials, to fighting disclosures of how the public's money is being spent in courts around the country.

The heat is now on the organization and yesterday ALEC announced it is disbanding its public safety and elections group effective immediately. That committee had produced "Read ID" bills and promoted ever more draconian criminal justice legislation.

The covers were snatched off ALEC two years ago when In These Times reporter Beau Hodai exposed ALEC and the for-profit prison industry for their involvement in Arizona's "Breathing while Brown" law. That was the crack in the dam that is now a deluge.
+17 # pres 2012-04-18 01:37
It's nice they are abandoning ALEC.
However, they will probably just setup another front group called CELA. or some other phony name.
Financially is the only way to get any real change in them.
+5 # John Locke 2012-04-18 17:38
The real action that made the corporate sponcers stop and step away was the power of the purse...This should be an example of how to bring about Change... Boycotts!
+14 # Liberalthinker 2012-04-18 01:43
I am not quite so naive as to believe ANY withdrawal of support to ultra conservative organizations by Corporate officers is happening because of the goodness of their heartfelt concern for the customer on ANY level...BUT...I really am not concerned with the motives that inspire them. Just that it is HAPPENING is an encouraging sign for the power of the people who bother to express their dissatisfaction with the greed displayed by corporate America.
+22 # HooverBush 2012-04-18 04:55
The NRA is a bigger problem than ALEC.
They have millions of hard working Middle Class people (like me) fooled into believing that Democrats are going to take their hunting rifles away. Then those people vote Republican, and give their money to the biggest Right Wing Bullchit machine in the country (NRA), so they can use that money to fool other hard working Middle Class Americans. It's time these organizations get exposed for what they really are !!!!!! Then the NRA hands out checks to Republicans right on the floor of the US House of Representatives !!! That is Disgusting!!!
+19 # walt 2012-04-18 05:37
ALEC claimed that it is "only interested in job creation, government accountability and pro-business policies."

Man, the Republicans must all rehearse together because they all use those same lines!

They are the "job creators," right?


In the orient!
+4 # jimyoung 2012-04-18 09:01
I wouldn't mistrust them if they were open to outside observers, but then how would they be able to serve their sponsors? I think they are as allergic to sunlight as vampires.
+5 # mike/ 2012-04-18 07:37
each day we discover more & more how our democracy is really an oligarchy; there is very little 'government of the people, by the people and for the people' left...

the Republicans fête how they have been the party of the people and are the true preservers of democracy & republicanism whey they actually believe that both words are nothing more than synonyms for 'anarchy'...
+6 # jwb110 2012-04-18 09:11
Standing your ground in self-defense has a lot of interpretations . There will be people who may feel endangered because their voting rights have been taken away. They may decide to stand their ground in ways the conservatives may not have planned for. A target is just a target.
+8 # Vardoz 2012-04-18 09:20
31,244 people died from hand guns in the United States. More then both wars combined and more then any foreign enemy.

We have to fight against the moneyed corporations. Jefferson warned us about this because he knew way back then that they were a threat to our Democracy and man was he right.

And this shows that if we organize we can have an effect.
+6 # Innocent Victim 2012-04-18 13:04
So much for Bill and Melinda Gates as do-gooders: that they would have supported ALEC in the first place tell us volumes about their social consciences: empty PR.
+1 # jimyoung 2012-04-19 01:20
I think they, like many others could have been victims of the slice and dice catering to very narrow interests that Grover Norquist is an evil genius at. What they support may sound reasonable in isolation, but stinks to high heaven when they find out their names were used to lend credibility in so many other areas they didn't follow. I'll wait to see how many respond to being so badly used. I appreciate those who have seen the light, and the dangers of associating with them in such a corrupting environment.
+1 # Innocent Victim 2012-04-19 15:13
The Gates Foundation a victim? I don't believe that! Surely, they have a committee that decides on whom or what to support. The assumption that the Foundation knows what it is doing is reasonable.

Even if the donors were not the Foundation but Mr and Mrs Gates, personally, it is reasonable to assume that the man whose judgment earned him billions knows what he is doing with his money, as does Mrs Gates.
+6 # mar 2012-04-18 19:12
To have a voice over Congress means we have to stand our ground and vote these twirps out who go against us! People are waking up, but judging by the people standing around watching Ted Nugent when he spoke at the NRA the other day, wow they were like puppets; just nodding their heads in unison to Nugent, very redneck looking and obvious redneck thinking. The people can make change but we must continue to boycott and speak out.

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