As a result of political pressure on Coca-Cola and recent, intense media scrutiny on a radical right-wing organization, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Coca-Cola announced that the company will pull all funding from ALEC.
The soft drink company’s donations to ALEC helped fund voter suppression efforts, among other bad laws.
Until last year, few people outside of conservative political circles knew anything about the mysterious group. Now we do.
The revelations have become public in large part due to Better Georgia’s sister groups in Virginia, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Hampshire. This all happened through the tireless coordination of ProgressNow and a few other organizations.
What we’ve discovered is that ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. (ALECExposed.org)
It is much more powerful than that.
Behind closed doors with ALEC, corporations like Coca-Cola give state legislators “model legislation” that directly benefits their bottom line. The legislators then advocate for these ghostwritten bills without the public ever knowing who wrote the bill. Unless they forget to edit properly, as happened recently in Florida.
Along with legislators, these corporations have equal membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills as equal members.
More than 98 percent of ALEC’s $7 million sham operation comes from corporations, corporate trade groups, and corporate foundations. Until today, Coca-Cola paid into this effort.
Here’s the statement ending the relationship:
“The Coca-Cola Company has elected to discontinue its membership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Our involvement with ALEC was focused on efforts to oppose discriminatory food and beverage taxes, not on issues that have no direct bearing on our business. We have a long-standing policy of only taking positions on issues that impact our Company and industry.”
ALEC’s legislation involved a heck of a lot more than food and beverage taxes. The group promotes privatizing public education, privatizing prisons and the disenfranchisement of American voters through “Voter ID” laws. The group creates tax giveaways to Big Business and tax breaks for the nation’s wealthiest families. The group works to limit workers rights, drain labor unions of resources for protecting employees and undermine consumer protections.
Over the next few weeks, Better Georgia will highlight the terrible legislation that ALEC hand-delivered to our lawmakers at the Gold Dome. We’ll also call on other corporations to follow the lead of Coca-Cola and end their membership.