What’s happening with ALEC is good. But not good enough.
Pressured by a coalition of civil rights, clean government and religious groups to quit their memberships in the American Legislative Exchange Council, multinational corporations are indeed exiting ALEC. Now, it’s time to demand that the 2,000 legislators who have joined ALEC do the same.
Coca-Cola quit ALEC Wednesday. PepsiCo revealed the same day that it had quietly decided to let its membership lapse. Intuit Inc. confirmed that it is exiting ALEC. And Kraft Foods has announced that: “Our membership in ALEC expires this spring and for a number of reasons, including limited resources, we have made the decision not to renew.”
Translation: Kraft—like other corporations that produce consumer products and, thus, must appeal to the great mass of Americans—no longer wants to be associated with a shadowy group that links corporations and legislators in order to advance extreme (and extremely unpopular) agendas.
Since the Center for Media and Democracy’s “ALEC Exposed“ project was developed last summer in cooperation with The Nation, millions of Americans have become aware that ALEC uses corporate money to craft one-size-fits-all “model legislation” that its member legislators then propose and pass in the states.
The “ALEC Exposed” project revealed the backstory of how this forty-year-old group uses an elaborate system of corporate-guided “task forces” to promote:
* Restrictive voter ID laws and an array of related initiatives that threaten to suppress voting by residents of rural regions, students, senior citizens and people of color.
* Anti-labor laws designed to limit the ability of Americans to organize and have a voice in their workplaces and the public life of their communities, states and nation.
* Tort “reform,” deregulation and corporate tax-slashing schemes that eliminate tools to assure multinational corporations act responsibly and contribute to the communities and states where they operate.
* Money-in-politics initiatives that seek to remove barriers to domination of elections by corporations and billionaire right-wing donors—such as longtime ALEC supporters Charles and David Koch.
* Privatization schemes that undermine public education and public services, posing particular threats to rural communities and urban neighborhoods that rely on strong public institutions.