All those items are manufactured by corporations that were members of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. But that ended today as five of America’s largest corporations announced they are cutting ties with ALEC.
Hewlett Packard, CVS Caremark, John Deere, MillerCoors, and BestBuy made the decision to end their association with the secretive organization as more of their political activities have come to light. ALEC, which produces “model bills” to promote corporate interests nationwide, was involved in the creation of Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070, Scott Walker’s union-busting budget in Wisconsin, education privatization in Pennsylvania, and most infamously the Florida so-called “Stand Your Ground” gun law.
And those are just the tip of the iceberg. ALEC has operated nearly unchecked for almost 40 years. Its current membership includes hundreds of state legislators, and prominent alumni include dozens of members of Congress, from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to Vice Presidential-hopeful Senator Marco Rubio.
Whatever issue you care about, from health care and consumer protections to voting rights and the environment, ALEC has produced and passed a piece of legislation that impacts your life and your work – usually for the worse. And consumers aren’t standing for it anymore.
That’s why hundreds of thousands of citizens, led by advocacy groups like ColorofChange and others, have contacted legislators and corporations about their involvement with ALEC. As a result, 25 corporations, 4 non-profits, and 55 legislators have cut their ALEC ties.
“Over the last few weeks, we have closely followed the issues surrounding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and have heard from numerous stakeholders expressing their views,” wrote CVS Caremark Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Larry Burton in an email to ColorOfChange staff, “As a result, after careful consideration of the available information, CVS Caremark has discontinued its membership in ALEC.”
Despite these recent gains, ALEC membership still includes some of the world’s most powerful corporations, including Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, Pfizer, State Farm, AT&T, and Altria (formerly Philip Morris). Legislators from every state in the country remain ALEC members and continue to push legislation developed specifically to advance corporate interests. But the more the public knows, the less they like about ALEC, and the less tolerance they have for its twisted vision of democracy.