Controversial lobbying group Alec has received an early Christmas gift from Overstock.com . The online retailer recently rejoined the group, bucking a trend among tech companies, many of which have recently disassociated themselves from it.
Alec, the American Legislative Exchange Council, has lost the support of a number of top tech firms in recent months over its stance on climate change. Last week eBay became the latest to cut ties to the group, which lobbies for legislative change at the state level.
Ebay’s decision followed an exodus by tech firms that started after Microsoft quit the group. Following Microsoft’s exit, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said his company could no longer be aligned with people who deny climate change. “They are just literally lying,” he said. Alec denied Schmidt’s charges.
Overstock was previously a member of Alec but let its membership lapse. Overstock confirmed it had rejoined Alec to lobby on internet sales taxation issues.
“Overstock.com did re-join Alec recently”, said a spokesman. “Our relationship with Alec is based on the organization’s access to lawmakers involved in the internet sales tax issue, which is a very weighty one for us. Alec’s stance on climate change did not factor into our decision, one way or another”.
Nick Surgey, director of research at the nonprofit Center for Media and Democracy, said Overstock, unlike Google and many other Silicon Valley companies, had never espoused progressive values on climate change or other issues.
Patrick Byrne, Overstock’s chief operating officer, is chairman of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, a free market lobby group set up by the late Nobel economist Milton Friedman that champions vouchers for education, a cause also supported by Alec. “It appears they have made a business decision to push on a tax issue”, Surgey said.
Google and Microsoft were followed away from Alec by AOL, Facebook, Yahoo and Yelp.
“In the last four months, Alec has lost the support of companies worth trillions of dollars”, said Surgey.
The recent wave of tech exits followed another exodus over Alec’s support of Florida’s “stand your ground” legislation, which became controversial nationally after the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012. Alec worked with the National Rifle Association to lobby for similar legislation in other states. Amazon, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Kraft, McDonald’s and Walmart terminated their memberships after the killing.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2014
‘It’s treachery if not treason’: Harvard’s Laurence Tribe destroys Trump’s claim he’s above the law
Legendary constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe explained the legality of President Donald Trump's claim to be above the law during a Thursday evening appearance on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.
The host played a notorious clip of Trump.
"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters. Okay? It’s like incredible," Trump argued.
"And now he has gone beyond that," O'Donnell noted. "Now the president is sayin, 'I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and I cannot be prosecuted for that crime. Or any crime.'"
Internet blown away by Giuliani’s ‘pants-sh*tting panic’ freak out on CNN’s Cuomo
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani received harsh reviews of his Thursday evening appearance on CNN with anchor Chris Cuomo.
Many people worried about Giuliani's mental health after watching the interview.
Here is some of what people were saying about Trump's defense attorney.
Maddow is visibly shocked Trump is claiming in court the president can’t even be investigated
The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC was flabbergasted by the latest court moves by President Donald Trump as he continues to hide his tax returns from investigators.
The host noted the ongoing legal battle Trump is waging to keep his accounting firm, Mazars, from handing over eight years of his tax returns to New York state investigators.
The host was shocked by the headline on the front-page of The Washington Post website.
[caption id="attachment_1544917" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Headline in The New York Times: "Trump Lawyers Argue He Cannot Be Criminally Investigated" screengrab.[/caption]