Is this the beginning of the end of the ALEC overreach?
Two of America’s best known companies, Coca Cola and PepsiCo, have dropped their membership in the conservative lobbying group behind just about every bad Republican initiatives including union-busting, reclamation of public lands, Voter ID, and “stand your ground” gun laws.
Coca-Cola was the first to announce it was leaving the group after civil rights group ColorOfChange.org launched an online drive calling on Coca-Cola to stop underwriting the ALEC agenda on voter ID laws sweeping the nation. Civil rights activists claim the laws are discriminatory and intended to suppress minority voter turnout.
PepsiCo soon followed, telling ColorOfChange that it would not be renewing its membership for 2012.
Progressive groups and shareholder activists want to drive a wedge between ALEC and its corporate members as a way to fight back on the group’s seemingly endless resources and bad model legislation. “There was no real downside because there was no public accountability. There was no transparency,” said Doug Clopp, deputy director of programs with Common Cause. “Everything up until now had been done behind closed doors, and these memberships were not known to the American people.”
It’s not just the advocacy groups calling on this kind of change and transparency. Tim Smith is a vice president with Walden Asset Management, which does what it calls socially responsible investing. He says corporate boards and top management are paying closer attention now. “They’re scrutinizing their trade association memberships, their relationships with controversial institutes,” said Smith. “And certainly I think that companies are scrutinizing their ALEC relationship more carefully, too.”
This is great news, especially if we can get more companies to follow Coca-Cola and PepsiCo’s lead.
Photo from anyjazz65 via flickr.