Posted by Rebekah Wilce on August 27, 2012

French's mustardNow you can swap out that GE lightbulb, Western Union $100 to the old country, continue that cell phone contract with Sprint, protect your computer from that nasty virus, smother that hot dog with French's mustard, and pay the electric bill in New Orleans, all without indirectly supporting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Six more companies have indicated that they are cutting, or have cut, ties to ALEC: General Electric (GE), Western Union, Sprint Nextel, Symantec (maker of Norton antivirus software), Reckitt Benckiser Group (a British consumer goods company that makes such brands as French's mustard, Woolite, Lysol, Clearasil, Durex, and D-Con), and Entergy (a power plant company headquartered in New Orleans).

Corporate Involvement with ALEC

GE lightbulbGE told the online civil rights organization ColorofChange.org (CoC) that it decided not to renew its ALEC membership in July 2012. The company was a member of ALEC's Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force as of March 2011.

Tim Daly, senior vice president for global public policy at Western Union, told CoC that the company was only an ALEC member in 2011 and chose not to renew in May 2012. Western Union was a member of ALEC's Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force as of June 2011.

Ralph Reid, vice president of corporate responsibility at Sprint Nextel, told CoC that the company did not renew its ALEC membership in 2012. Sprint was a member of ALEC's Communications and Technology Task Force as of July 2011.

Symantec is also listed as a member of ALEC's Communications and Technology internal task force directory in July 2011, but Symantec's vice president of global government affairs, Cheri McGuire, told CoC that the company's membership expired June 2010 and was not renewed.

Reckitt Benckiser told CoC that it is no longer an ALEC member. It had been a member of the Health and Human Services Task Force and Public Safety and Elections Task Force as of June 2011.

Last but not least, Entergy said in a letter to Walden Asset Management that neither it nor any of its subsidiaries is currently a member of ALEC, nor has it funded ALEC since 2011. Entergy had been a member of ALEC's Civil Justice Task Force as of June 2011.

The Rush to Dump ALEC

I Want YOU to Dump ALECCorporations that have publicly cut ties to ALEC since the launch of ALECexposed and related public interest campaigns include Amgen, General Motors, Walgreens, Best Buy, Hewlett-Packard, MillerCoors, John Deere, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Wal-Mart, Amazon.com, Procter & Gamble, Mars, Wendy's, McDonald's, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola. The addition of GE, Western Union, Sprint, Symantec, Reckitt Benckiser, and Entergy brings the total to 38. Four non-profits -- Lumina Foundation for Education, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), and the Gates Foundation -- and 70 state legislators have also cut ties with ALEC.

CMD, along with Color of Change, Common Cause, People for the American Way, Progress Now, and others are asking eBay to cut ties with ALEC. Credo Action, a project of Working Assets, is also calling on its supporters and customers to call eBay and urge the company to stop funding ALEC.


This article was updated to reflect Sprint Nextel's communication that it was in fact an ALEC member as of July 2011 but did not renew its membership in 2012.

Comments

Corporations having to do busness IN the U.S. ARE wise to support U.S. middle/poor classes of Americans as WE are the citizens helping build their businesses while 'cookie cutter' Karl Rove Repub legislation of ALEC seeks to destroy us and outsource ALL our jobs in their 'wet dreams' of a Repub plutocracy!

The ALEC has its little babies such as here in Montana. The Montana Policy Institute, the Tea Party is running their agenda too. Making model legislation for our state representatives. They are probably in every state and they are most likely doing the local corporations bidding just like ALEC.

My insurance policy with State Farm expires soon. I am not renewing, and have told them why: If they stay with and support ALEC, they can forget about my business. Every time I see their ads on basketball or other sporting events, its just make me remember how they contribute to furthering things that are against my core principles. They hurt ME... and then they want MY business? NO WAY!
YEAH - LIKE A BAD NEIGHBOR ...STATE FARM --IS--- THERE.

The message of the beginning of this post, and of this campaign more broadly - viz., that we should support companies that have left ALEC – is deeply problematic. The reasoning seems to be, briefly, that membership in ALEC is the principal criterion of corporate malfeasance, and that corporations that abandon membership in and association with ALEC and its by-now uncontroversially malignant politics have done something positively “good”. Never mind that leaving a destructive organization that should never have been joined in the first instance, by other organizations that are themselves often deeply destructive, is hardly cause for celebrating let alone supporting the latter. “Better isn’t good if worse was terrible”.

The implicit message of this post, and of this campaign more broadly - viz., that we should support companies that have left ALEC – is deeply problematic. The reasoning seems to be, briefly, that membership in ALEC is the principal criterion of corporate malfeasance, and that corporations that abandon membership in and association with ALEC and its by-now uncontroversially malignant politics have done something positively “good”. Never mind that leaving a destructive organization that should never have been joined in the first instance, by other organizations that are themselves destructive, is hardly cause for celebrating let alone supporting the latter. “Better isn’t good if worse was terrible”. Yes, all else being equal, it's better that these companies left ALEC, but the majority are still objectionable for other reasons.

My state farm auto insurance expires Sept 1 and I'm signing a policy with a different company tomorrow. Ditto my homeowners insurance. I've been a State Farm customer for forty years and never had a complaint about my serivice but their involvement with ALEC is a deal breaker.

Ditto!
We cut our ties with State Farm on June 1 of this year for the same reasons. I got a form letter back from the Regional Manager just giving me the "company line." They could care less until you and hundreds more do the same. I'm even paying a bit more and told them so.

Have we sent them thank-you notes? If not, why not?

I agree with the poster who suggested we thank the companies that have left ALEC.

I myself went to the websites of 5 or 6 of them and sent "thank you" notes, but it would be nice if someone were to configure a way to make it easier to thank more of these corporations at the same time. I myself don't know how to do such a thing, but I've seen it done before elsewhere.

Regardless, if some of you picked 5 or so corporations at random from the list of ex-ALEC members and thanked them, that would be good.

Incidentally, as I understand it, these groups are leaving ALEC because it has strayed from its original purpose (pro-business legislation) to a wider, socially conservative purpose (which includes the suppression of minority, youth, and elderly voting rights). Once this became apparent (a realization augmented by negative PR), corporations began to bolt from what has become a genuinely evil entity.

Kudos to the good folks, who had the courage to do the 'right thing' and dump this hateful group. I'm sure ALEC was behind the loss of ACORN.

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Bill Moyers presents "United States of ALEC," a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of -- ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.