Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday became the 19th company to cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council following a campaign launched by liberal and progressive groups.
“We have been in dialogue with ALEC for some time, and while we acknowledge ALEC’s recent decision to focus only on innovation and growth-supporting policies, we have decided to suspend our participation and membership,” Carol Goodrich, Johnson & Johnson’s director of coporate communication, said in a statement.
ALEC drafts model legislation for state lawmakers and describes itself as “policy making program that unites members of the public and private sectors in a dynamic partnership” based on “Jeffersonian principles.” The influential organization has been a driving force behind voter ID laws, so-called “stand your ground” laws, business-friendly tort reforms, Arizona’s controversial immigration law, and efforts to privatize public education.
ALEC received little scrutiny until recently, when organizations like ColorOfChange, Common Cause, People for the American Way, Progress Now, the Center for Media and Democracy, CREDO Action and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee began a campaign targeting the organization’s corporate sponsors — who pay tens of thousands of dollars every year to be members.
“As Americans learn more about ALEC’s extreme agenda, companies understand that their brands suffer through association with a group that has weakened our democracy and made it harder to earn a living wage,” said ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson. “The ColorOfChange community commends Johnson & Johnson for acting in the best interest of consumers and cutting ties with this shadowy organization.”
ALEC has decried the “well-funded, expertly coordinated intimidation campaign” against its corporate members, claiming the organization would only “redouble” their efforts to promote pro-growth, pro-jobs policies.
[Image via Katy Warner, Creative Commons licensed]