Yesterday I noted the efforts of the activist coalition working on getting corporations to stop underwriting ALEC, the right-wing legislation factory. Today brings news of two more companies dropping their funding.
We belong to many external groups, including ALEC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes growth and fiscal responsibility.
ALEC covers numerous issues but our involvement has been strictly limited to discussions about economic growth and development, transportation and tax policy. We did not participate in meetings or conversations related to other issues.
Our membership in ALEC expires this spring and for a number of reasons, including limited resources, we have made the decision not to renew.
And the Center for Media and Democracy adds that Intuit will also end their funding support.
A stampede seems to be on the way as more and more groups break ties and dump ALEC. Intuit, Inc. (maker of Quicken and QuickBooks accounting software) told the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) that Intuit also decided not to renew its membership after it expired in 2011. That comment came from Bernie McKay, Vice President of Government Affairs. He gave this response when CMD identified that Intuit was no longer listed on the board and contacted the company. CMD began its effort to spotlight Intuit and other corporate funders and tie these corporations to the ALEC agenda when it launched ALECexposed.org in July 2011.
This is a pretty easy target for activists. Corporations who support ALEC for purposes of securing business-friendly legislation don’t want to be connected to their other right-wing agenda items. Kraft and Coke and Pepsi and Quicken want to sell to liberals, too. It hurts their business to be associated with these far-right causes, especially attacks on large segments of the population like, say, women. And nobody had been shining a light on ALEC’s funders before.
That said, I am sad to report that I think ALEC will survive just fine. Plenty of corporations, like Koch Industries and even Wal-Mart, will continue to fund ALEC. I can see their reach diminishing somewhat, and perhaps their business model changing, but ALEC is extremely successful at getting conservative legislation passed, and someone will step up on the right to make sure that continues.
One good response would be for liberals to fund their own model legislation shop in the states. The Progressive States Network is an example, but they are woefully underfunded; and they don’t, to my knowledge, do model legislation. I don’t see why not. States can learn from one another, and a national network can pull together good legislation and pass it around. This facilitation would have wide benefits, as we see on the right. There’s nothing inherently untoward about it. Alas, I don’t really know what liberal funders do with their money that provides anything of value.