Just in time for summer, Americans can cut their grass with a John Deere mower, drink a cold Miller High Life, and buy sunscreen from CVS without fear that their consumer dollars will be used to fund policies like voter suppression and climate change denial, now that Deere & Co., MillerCoors, and CVS have dropped their membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Also cutting ties with ALEC are top computer maker Hewlett-Packard (HP) and electronics retailer Best Buy.
ALEC has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months as the public has become aware of its role in advancing the "Stand Your Ground" law initially cited to protect Trayvon Martin's killer, as well as voter suppression bills, union-busting policies, and other controversial legislation. Thanks to efforts by the Center for Media and Democracy, Color of Change, Common Cause, People for the American Way and others, a total of 25 corporations have recently dropped their ALEC membership, as well as four major non-profit organizations and 55 elected officials.
ColorOfChange.org, a grassroots organization that aims to strengthen the voice of African Americans, announced today that it had received word five more companies would be severing ties with ALEC.
"This is to notify you that Deere & Company, also known as John Deere, is leaving the American Legislative Exchange Council," said James R. Jenkins, John Deere Senior Vice President and General Counsel, in a letter to ColorOfChange.
"We've not contributed to ALEC this year, nor do we intend to," said Tim Scully, MillerCoors VP of Government Affairs in a phone conversation with ColorOfChange staff. "We've not renewed our membership nor do we have any plans to renew our membership."
"I write to confirm that, although HP appears to have worked with ALEC in the past, HP is not currently a member of that organization," said Gregg R. Melinson, VP of Government Relations and Deputy General Counsel for HP, in an email to ColorOfChange.
"[W]e are no longer a member of ALEC. Best Buy was a member of ALEC in 2011 and did not renew its membership in 2012," said Susan Busch, Best Buy Senior Director of External Relations, in an email to ColorOfChange.
"We want to thank these companies for making the right decision, and we continue to call on all major corporations to stop funding ALEC given its involvement in voter suppression and its work pushing policies designed to benefit rich and powerful corporations at the expense of people of color, workers, and the environment," said Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org. CMD has compiled a full list of corporations that have left ALEC that can be viewed here. A list of legislators who have cut ties with ALEC can be accessed here. Remaining corporate members can be viewed here, and remaining legislative members can be viewed here.
Color of Change, along with CMD, Common Cause, People for the American Way, and others are now focusing on asking State Farm and AT&T to cut ties with ALEC.