Major Tech Companies Cut Ties With The Secretive Conservative Lobbying Organization
Several tech giants announced this week that they are dropping out of ALEC, the conservative free-market lobbying group, partly over their spread of misinformation about climate change and lobbying against efforts to curb it.
ALEC, or the American Legislative Exchange Council, works by connecting corporations with conservative legislatures and drafts conservative model legislation on everything from health policy to education. It’s also been exposed as the designer of voter suppression laws used as models in various states.
The exodus started in August, when Microsoft announced that it would cease dealings with ALEC. This Monday, Google did the same, followed in quick succession by Facebook on Tuesday, Yelp on Wednesday, and Yahoo on Thursday. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt explicitly called out the group’s climate denialism as the motivating factor for the tech giant’s separation from ALEC: “Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place,” he said. “They’re just literally lying.” ALEC has worked to kill renewable energy programs and teach climate denial in schools.
This isn’t the first time that high-profile companies have fled from ALEC en masse. In 2012, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Wal-Mart and others left suddenly after the revelation that ALEC supports so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws like the one used to justify Trayvon Martin’s death in Florida. How those laws relate to corporations’ business interests is anybody’s guess.
BOTTOM LINE: ALEC’s network is powerful and secretive. It’s bad business for companies to be associated with liars, and as more of ALEC’s distortions come to light, more companies will sever ties. They’re wrong on climate change, but once other businesses and the public realize how wrong they are on issues ranging from civil rights to economic inequality, other companies associated with ALEC will drop the organization too.