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Wal-Mart 18th Corporation to Dump ALEC, Becomes 22nd Private Sector Member to Leave

8:04 am in Uncategorized by Rebekah Wilce

This article was first published by CMD at PRWatch.org.

Wal-Mart, a member of ALEC’s corporate “Private Enterprise” board and of the Public Safety and Elections Task Force that adopted Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” as a “model” bill, announced yesterday that it is “suspending” its ALEC membership.

Wake Up Walmart Banner at a protest, with Rev. Billy Tallen crouched in front.

Protesters including Rev. Billy at Walmart. Photo by Brave New Films.

“We feel that the divide between these activities and our purpose as a business has become too wide. To that end, we are suspending our membership in ALEC,” Wal-Mart vice president of public affairs and government relations, Maggie Sans, told Reuters. Sans is stepping down as secretary of ALEC’s corporate board.

The Center for Media and Democracy’s (CMD’s) Executive Director, Lisa Graves, applauded Wal-Mart “for doing the right thing in leaving ALEC, especially in the wake of newly emerged information showing how ALEC has been skirting federal and state lobbying and ethics laws.” She added that “this is a very positive step for Wal-Mart,” a long-time leader and funder of ALEC’s operations, and “it also shows that the excellent work of advocates to shine a light on ALEC’s extreme agenda is having a major impact.”

Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world as well as the largest retailer of firearms in the United States. It had $421.8 billion in sales in 2011, edging out Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, BP — all of which are still ALEC member companies — for the most revenue, according to CNN.

Wal-Mart’s History of Involvement with ALEC

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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 →

Breaking News: Coca-Cola Dumps ALEC

11:36 am in Uncategorized by Rebekah Wilce

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


ALEC Exposed LogoPublic interest groups campaigning to convince Coca-Cola to break ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) scored a major victory yesterday when Coke announced it had “elected to discontinue its membership with” ALEC.

According to a statement Coke made to the Washington Examiner, “Our involvement with ALEC was focused on efforts to oppose discriminatory food and beverage taxes, not on issues that have no direct bearing on our business. We have a long-standing policy of only taking positions on issues that impact our Company and industry.”

Take Action Coke Postcard 2011The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) launched its public campaign against Coca-Cola in August 2011, asking Coke “to stop funding the American Legislative Exchange Council, the corporate bill mill undermining our democracy,” and pointing out: “Your financial support underwrites ALEC’s agenda to:

  • Suppress voting by students and others through restrictive Voter ID laws.
  • Push climate change denial and restrict protections for our environment.
  • Undermine public schools by using tax dollars to subsidize for-profit schools.
  • Limit consumers’ rights and the basic right of workers to organize.
  • And privatize and ration Medicare and Social Security, as well as other government services.”

CMD’s campaign sent emails and postcards to Coke CEO Muhtar Kent. Gene Rackley, Director of Public Affairs and Communications at Coca-Cola Refreshments, had been on the ALEC corporate (“Private Enterprise”) board. The ALEC website no longer listed Coke on the corporate board as of last week.

Color of Change (CoC) launched an allied campaign targeting ALEC corporations, including Coca-Cola, in December 2011. Its petition drive resulted in over 85,000 signatures. CoC has focused on ALEC’s role in so-called “voter ID” legislation ALEC approved as a “model,” which will make it more difficult for citizens to exercise their right to vote. Several states have adopted bills with similar restrictions over the past two years, even though many civil rights groups, such as the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, CoC and others — including CMD/PRWatch — have noted that these voter restrictive bills will have adverse consequences on communities of color, the elderly, and college students.

CoC announced a public boycott of Coke yesterday, joined by other public interest groups. Coke published its statement backing out of ALEC within five hours.

Coke’s precipitous exit from the corporate bill mill comes on the heels of the quiet withdrawal of Pepsi from ALEC membership. Wal-Mart and Kraft Foods issued statements, similar to Koch Industries, sticking with ALEC, but several corporations that have served as ALEC leaders have been silent in the face of the growing controversy surrounding ALEC’s agenda on guns, voting, and other matters.

CMD launched a new set of petitions to all the corporations remaining on ALEC’s corporate board last week in the wake of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. Click here to tell ALEC companies to stand down!


This article was originally published by the Center for Media and Democracy at PRWatch.org. CMD also released the ALECexposed.org project in 2011, exposing the “model” legislation created behind closed doors by corporations working with state legislators in the American Legislative Exchange Council. This project has received the Sidney Award and the Izzy Award.

About the Author: Rebekah Wilce has a degree in writing from the University of Arizona. She is the lead writer for CMD’s Food Rights Network, with expertise in food and agriculture issues.