The right wing funded group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and it’s generic sounding name has been connected to two recent and wholly unrelated stories. You may have heard of ALEC recently for lobbying with the NRA for the horrific “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida which allowed George Zimmerman to walk out of a Sanford police station after killing Trayvon Martin. Because of the “Stand Your Ground” law, Zimmerman was able to claim “self-defense” (even though all evidence points to him stalking and then shooting Trayvon) and use lethal force.
The latest is that ALEC is also connected to voter suppression efforts across the country. For that reason, Color of Change has pressured Coca Cola to cease it’s membership with ALEC — and did they! Within 5 hours of that petition going live, Coca Cola pulled the plug and put out this statement (Via ThinkProgress):
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.
It’s great that Coca-Cola swiftly took the appropriate action, but I can’t help thinking about how disturbing it is that ALEC has so much influence in this country. This is a group most people have never even heard of until they learned about Trayvon Martin’s case — apparently while we were paying attention to things like Rush Limbaugh saying offensive things on the radio, this well-funded group was changing our laws and restricting access to our right to vote.