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Former ALEC Supporters Now Find Connection Toxic

7:45 am in Uncategorized by Rebekah Wilce

This article was originally published by the Center for Media and Democracy at PRWatch.org.

Talk to the Hand

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.

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BREAKING: Intuit Out of ALEC; Coke, Kraft, Pepsi, too, while Koch Stands Ground

9:59 am in Uncategorized by Rebekah Wilce

This article was originally published by the Center for Media and Democracy at PRWatch.org.


ALEC Exposed LogoA stampede seems to be on the way as more and more groups break ties and dump ALEC. Intuit, Inc. (maker of Quicken and QuickBooks accounting software) told the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) that Intuit also decided not to renew its membership after it expired in 2011. That comment came from Bernie McKay, Vice President of Government Affairs. He gave this response when CMD identified that Intuit was no longer listed on the board and contacted the company. CMD began its effort to spotlight Intuit and other corporate funders and tie these corporations to the ALEC agenda when it launched ALECexposed.org in July 2011.

Multinational food and beverage conglomerate Kraft Foods also announced that it won’t renew its membership in ALEC when it expires this spring, according to an email from Kraft Corporate Affairs Director Susan Davison. These announcements follow on the news that Coca-Cola and Pepsi are out.

Intuit’s McKay explained to CMD that the company doesn’t “usually issue statements about membership in any organization” and declined to comment further. According to Reuters, Kraft’s emailed statement explained, “Our membership in ALEC expires this spring and for a number of reasons, including limited resources, we have made the decision not to renew.”

Other Corporations Refuse to Stand Down

Other corporate board members are doubling down, most notably Koch Industries and Wal-Mart Stores. “Yes, we plan to continue our membership in and support of ALEC,” Philip Ellender of Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC told Politico. Wal-Mart refused to withdraw its support of ALEC, claiming, “Our membership in any organization does not affirm our agreement with each policy created by the broader group.”

At what Reuters has called “political risk,” Pfizer, Reynolds American, Altria/Philip Morris and non-board ALEC member Procter & Gamble refuse to leave ALEC. Exxon Mobil and British alcohol firm Diageo (makers of Smirnoff products and Johnnie Walker whisky) declined to comment.

Pfizer, the world largest drug manufacturer, whose mission is “applying science and our global resources to improve health and well-being at every stage of life,” said, “We don’t agree with every ALEC position, but we participate in ALEC’s healthcare forums because state legislators that are the members in ALEC, they make decisions that impact our business and the country’s business every day.”

Reynolds, which makes Camel cigarettes and calls itself “the innovative tobacco company totally committed to building value through responsible growth,” said ALEC provides “a valuable forum for sharing of ideas and fostering better understanding of a broad range of both legislative and business issues.”[cont.] Read the rest of this entry →