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Five more corporations distance themselves from ALEC

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Five corporations recently announced they were no longer members of the American Legislative Exchange Council after being confronted by liberal and progressive groups.

John Deere, CVS Caremark, MillerCoors, HP, and Best Buy all said they would stop funding the organization, which 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.”

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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.

“This is to notify you that Deere & Company, also known as John Deere, is leaving the American Legislative Exchange Council,” said James R. Jenkins, John Deere Senior Vice President and General Counsel, in a letter to ColorOfChange.

“Over the last few weeks, we have closely followed the issues surrounding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and have heard from numerous stakeholders expressing their views,” said Larry Burton, CVS Caremark Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, in an email to ColorOfChange. “As a result, after careful consideration of the available information, CVS Caremark has discontinued its membership in ALEC.”

“We’ve not contributed to ALEC this year, nor do we intend to,” said Tim Scully, MillerCoors VP of Government Affairs in a phone conversation with ColorOfChange staff. “We’ve not renewed our membership nor do we have any plans to renew our membership.”

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“I write to confirm that, although HP appears to have worked with ALEC in the past, HP is not currently a member of that organization,” said Gregg R. Melinson, VP of Government Relations and Deputy General Counsel for HP, in an email to ColorOfChange.

“[W]e are no longer a member of ALEC. Best Buy was a member of ALEC in 2011 and did not renew its membership in 2012,” said Susan Busch, Best Buy Senior Director of External Relations, in an email to ColorOfChange.

A number of other companies have publicly cut ties with ALEC, including Kaplan Higher Education, Procter & Gamble, YUM! Brands, Blue Cross Blue Shield, American Traffic Solutions, Reed Elsevier, Arizona Public Service, Mars, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Intuit, Kraft Foods, Wal-Mart, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola.

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“We want to thank these companies for making the right decision, and we continue to call on all major corporations to stop funding ALEC given its involvement in voter suppression and its work pushing policies designed to benefit rich and powerful corporations at the expense of people of color, workers, and the environment,” said Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org.

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.”

[Best Buy store via Clive Darr, Creative Commons licensed]

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