Reed Elsevier Joins Mass Exodus From ALEC

Reed Elsevier joins a mass corporate exodus from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), bringing the total number of corporations that have cut ties with the controversial organization to ten. Reed Elsevier is the parent company of Elsevier, which is one of the largest academic publishing companies in the world. It publishes about 2,000 academic journals and other information-related services, including Lexis Nexis and several scientific journals.

ALEC Exposed - A project of CMDReuters reported that Reed Elsevier announced on Thursday that it resigned its board seat and dropped its membership with ALEC.

"We made the decision after considering the broad range of criticism being leveled at ALEC," a Reed Elsevier spokesman announced.

ALEC has come under increased scrutiny over the past year in response to the Center for Media and Democracy's ALEC Exposed Project, which revealed and analyzed more than 800 "model" bills voted on by corporate lobbyists and politicians. ALEC's extreme agenda includes numerous NRA gun bills, bills to privatize public schools, prisons, and public assets, legislation to make it harder for American citizens to vote, bills to repeal rights of workers, and legislation to make it harder for juries to punish corporations for dangerous products that kill Americans, among other changes to U.S. laws.

CMD publicized ALEC's corporate leaders and funders last July, and numerous public interest organizations have helped shine a light on ALEC's operations -- which allow corporate lobbyists an equal vote with elected officials on legislative templates at closed-door ALEC task force meetings -- including Common Cause, People for the American Way, Progress Now, and other groups and bloggers. This latest announcement follows increased scrutiny of ALEC in the aftermath of the NRA law used to try to excuse the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, a bill the NRA's lobbyist successfully urged ALEC's crime task force to promote as a national model for other states. Over a week ago, the civil rights group Color of Change -- joined by several public interest groups -- urged the public to start calling ALEC corporate funders, starting with Coca Cola. (CMD had begun featuring Coca Cola's role in funding ALEC's agenda when launched.) Color of Change has also been highlighting how corporate donations to ALEC were funding voter suppression.

Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft Foods, Intuit, McDonald's, Wendy's, Mars, the Arizona Public Service Company have also severed ties with ALEC. The Arizona Capital Times reported that another company, American Traffic Solutions, which promotes red light cameras, told the press Friday it would not renew its membership, after reviewing "how best to allocate" its resources.

Reed Elsevier was one of 23 corporate representatives that sat on ALEC's national Private Enterprise Board as of at least July 2011, when was launched. As noted by CMD's SourceWatch resource, its registered lobbyist Teresa Jennings represented the company on this board. Reed Elsevier had also been listed on ALEC's "Public Safety and Elections" Task Force.

As the New Jersey Star-Ledger recently documented -- in "Some of Christie's biggest bills match model legislation from D.C. group called ALEC" -- the controversial group's agenda includes getting states, like New Jersey, to pull out of regional agreements on addressing climate change. The Star-Ledger's editorial board recently expressed deep concerns about the invisible influence for corporate lobbyists that ALEC provides in a comment titled, "It may have found a loophole, but American Legislative Exchange Council is no charity."

Warming Up to Climate Change?ALEC's template bills on the environment include other bills to thwart measures to address climate change, as documented on ALECexposed. At its annual convention last year, as CMD's PRWatch reported, ALEC even held a session for lawmakers and lobbyists titled, "Warming Up to Climate Change: The Many Benefits of Increased Atmospheric CO2," a workshop that included the spurious claim that more carbon dioxide increases human lifespans.

Elsevier has published numerous scientific journal articles that have reported on the causes and adverse consequences of climate changes underway.


seriously...i don't understand how so many articles can be produced about each company that drops ALEC, and not one mention to the huge national action against them by Occupy on Feb 29th. In around 90 locations nationwide, occupy together with other public-interest groups, demonstrated at ALEC offiliated corporations to demand that they drop their membership and to spread the public knowledge of this illegal lobbying group. yet all we see is the movement become marginalized and contained in to simply "public interest groups". Did PRWatch turn a blind eye as to why new organizations such as Color of Change even decided to start up? Occupy brought attention to ALEC, we spread the word about them and to the world through twitter/fb/everywhere online and it caught like wildfire. ALEC's first public statement in defense of itself in 37 years (from what can be found on their site) was in August of 2011 after CMDs exposing report. The next was a week before the Feb 29th Occupy action as the independent media/RT/many others were a-buzz with the upcoming events. Then SIX MORE afterwards, in response to articles and the fallout of corporate members, 3-4 weeks after the action when Color of Change and others came out to support the campaign against ALEC. for more info. Just a mention would be at least respectful to our efforts.

Thank you for writing in about this! I really appreciate that you took the time to do so. We have covered the Occupy the Corporations efforts, and I regret that recent articles have not referred back to those non-violent protest events in cities across the country. We will address this. Lisa

Hi Jason, Thank you for the comment. Like Lisa said we did cover the #F29 protests and were immensely impressed with all of the actions. Here is the link to our piece: -Sara

Thank you for this article. I had not been aware of Reed Elsevier's existence, let alone what they do. And now that I am, it is extremely disconcerting that an academic publishing company - that puts out scientific journals and operates the highly respected academic research search engine Lexis Nexis - would associate with ALEC. Am I the only one freaking out about this? It would be interesting to know the specific nature of this relationship, and what effect it has had on Elsevier's decisions and operations. Perhaps a topic for your next article? (smile)