For those who are unaware, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a corporate front group which enables corporate members to help craft “model” legislation which they then give to their allies in state legislatures to put forth as their own.
Essentially, it allows America’s largest corporations to ghostwrite legislation which is later proposed by legislators without the public ever knowing that ALEC had a hand in crafting the bill. They have been linked to many corporations with less-than-admirable intentions, one of the more troubling being Corrections Corporation of America.
A great resource to learn more about the corrupt and deplorable actions of ALEC is ALEC Exposed, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy. They expose ALEC corporations, politicians, state chairmen, who funds ALEC as well as a breakdown of all of the so-called “model bills” they create.
A coalition of citizen groups led by the group Color of Change have begun a campaign to pressure the corporations behind ALEC to quit the group and thus cease providing them with massive funding.
They are arguing that popular consumer corporations should not be backing legislation which, ultimately, is incredibly harmful to the communities which profit off of.
Furthermore, they are directly harming their shareholders and employees as well by damaging their communities as well.
The coalition, made up of Color of Change, Rebuild the Dream, Center for Media and Democracy and the Republic Report, along with private individuals, recently wrote to all 20 corporations sitting on ALEC’s board.
They called for all of these corporations to completely end their support for the little-known group and thus better serve the American people and help keep what little shred of democracy we have left intact.
One of those 20 corporations was Kraft Foods Inc., which at first said that they would continue to support Alec. However, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo quickly announced that they would drop their memberships in ALEC.
Zaid Jilani and Lee Fang of the Republic Report actually went to Kraft Foods Inc.’s Washington, D.C. lobby office last week to ask them about the letter. Watch the video below.
Then, late in the day on April 5, 2012, Kraft Foods Inc. put out an email statement saying that they would join Coca-Cola and PepsiCo in leaving 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.
Many other prominent corporations have yet to step up and drop their support for ALEC. Some of these include Proctor and Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Walmart and UPS, to mention just a few.
While these companies have not given any indication that they plan to leave ALEC, I suspect if people keep pushing them as they have, they very well might give in and stop supporting this group that so wildly damages what little democracy we have left in America.
This article was written by Madison Ruppert and first appeared at End the Lie.