The influential American Legislative Exchange Council on Wednesday blasted a public-shaming campaign started by liberal and progressive groups, which has led major members to cut ties with the organization.
"ALEC is an organization that supports pro-growth, pro-jobs policies and the vigorous exchange of ideas between the public and private sector to develop state based solutions," Ron Scheberle
Executive Director of ALEC, said in a statement. "Today, we find ourselves the focus of a well-funded, expertly coordinated intimidation campaign."
"Our members join ALEC because we connect state legislators with other state legislators and with job-creators in their states," he continued. "They join because we support pro-business policies that promote innovation and spur local and national competitiveness. They’re ALEC members because they’re more interested in solutions than rhetoric."
ALEC drafts model bills for legislators and has been a driving force behind voter ID laws, business-friendly tort reforms, Arizona’s controversial immigration law, and efforts to privatize public education.
"At a time when job creation, real solutions and improved dialogue among political leaders is needed most, ALEC’s mission has never been more important," Scheberle said. "This is why we are redoubling our commitment to these essential priorities. We are not and will not be defined by ideological special interests who would like to eliminate discourse that leads to economic vitality, jobs and fiscal stability for the states."
Despite its influence, the nearly forty-year-old group received little scrutiny until recently, when organizations like Common Cause, People for the American Way, Progress Now, the Center for Media and Democracy, CREDO Action and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee started a campaign to publicly expose companies who supported ALEC.
After being targeted by the ongoing campaign, Kraft Foods, Coca Cola, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Intuit Inc., and McDonalds announced they would no longer support the organization.
The large coalition of groups has since turned its attention to ALEC members State Farm, Johnson & Johnson, and AT&T.
"As more corporations come to understand what they are supporting through membership in ALEC, they don't want to be associated," Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson said Wednesday. "We continue to call on all major corporations to stop supporting voter suppression through ALEC. Our members and allied groups are prepared to hold accountable companies that continue to participate in ALEC's attack on voting rights."
[Image via Flickr user EN2008, Creative Commons-licensed]