This article was originally published by the Center for Media and Democracy at PRWatch.org.
With thousands of consumers expressing their concerns about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to corporations across America, even former supporters of ALEC are feeling the heat, and some are rushing to distance themselves from the organization. YUM! Brands (owners of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut) became the 12th corporate member of ALEC to announce it is leaving the organization yesterday.
When the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) released the ALEC Exposed website in 2011, staff worked to document and footnote every ALEC corporate member or supporter and former corporate member or supporter possible. CMD’s extensive footnoted list has been cited by news sources and campaigners across the country, although no one knows all the corporations that have funded or helped lead ALEC in its nearly 40-year history. CMD has listed the following organizations as known former ALEC members or supporters on its website, SourceWatch.org, and these companies have taken steps to make sure the public knows they are not currently supporting ALEC:
Cargill: An ALEC brochure from its 1998 annual meeting in Chicago lists Cargill, Inc. as a new ALEC member and a “Director” level sponsor of the meeting. (In 2010, a “Director” level sponsor would pay $10,000 to ALEC, but it is unknown how much a corporation would have paid in 1998.) On April 17, a representative from the Cargill corporate affairs office contacted CMD to say that the company is not a member of ALEC and that it has no internal records of ever having been a member of ALEC. The spokesperson told CMD that she had even talked to lobbyists from 1998. The document search was prompted by press and public inquiries. ALEC is a hot topic in Minnesota due to Governor Mark Dayton’s veto of seven ALEC-supported bills this session.