Hightower Report: Abandoning ALEC

Fortune 500 firms are dumping the bill mill left and right

By Jim Hightower, Fri., June 15, 2012

The American Legislative Exchange Council is the corporate-financed bill mill that thinks up reams of anti-labor, anti-consumer, anti-environment, anti-democracy, and other anti-people laws favored by its corporate funders. It then works with Republican lawmakers in state legislatures to introduce about 1,000 of these cookie-cutter bills every year in statehouses all over the country. Until recently, ALEC largely operated clandestinely – but such watchdog groups as the Center for Media and Democracy, Color of Change, and The Nation magazine have now outed it as the insidious force behind some of America's most extreme, right-wing legislation.

By not only exposing the raw ugliness of the front group's agenda, but also naming its corporate backers, the fiesty watchdogs are producing a rush of brand-name, Fortune 500 firms fleeing ALEC. Let's call the roll of some that have discontinued their membership and sponsorship so far this year: Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft Foods, Intuit, Wendy's, McDon­ald's, Mars, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Yum! Brands (including Pizza Hut), Procter & Gamble, Amazon, and Medtronic.

And, on May 30, even the far-right-wing, anti-worker, ethically-challenged Wal-Mart empire abandoned the ALEC ship. "We feel that the divide between [ALEC's political] activities and our purpose as a business has become too wide," declared Wal-Mart's head of lobbying and PR. "To that end, we are suspending our membership."

Like the infamous Koch brothers (who continue to stay aboard the Ex­change Council's sinking ship), the very name of ALEC has become a political epithet, a symbol of the corruption of America's democratic values by the plutocratic elite. To keep up with developments, go to www.alecexposed.org.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown" – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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