We are riding three big wins in quick succession: Amazon, Walmart and now Johnson & Johnson has decided to "suspend their participation and membership" in ALEC -- The American Legislative Exchange Council is crumbling!
"The dominoes continue to fall. Johnson & Johnson's decision to dump ALEC shows that public pressure is working. The PCCC and its allies will continue to keep up the pressure against companies who funnel our consumer dollars to promote right-wing extremism."Time for a roundup and check in to see where we are as a movement.
~ James Ploeser, PCCC State Organizing Director
Amazon announced it would not renew its ALEC membership at its shareholder meeting on May 24th because they wanted to distance their company from ALEC’s extreme right-wing agenda that reaches far beyond just “pro-business” and free market ideas. Just one week later on May 31st Walmart followed suit for similar reasons.
In April, PCCC launched a petition for companies and politicians to ditch ALEC which has garnered 102,000+ signatures so far -- we are proud we have been so successful working together with other progressive groups! Click here to add your name.
Not only are companies and politicians leaving, the taskforce on Public Safety and Elections where the most heinous bills were produced -- voter-ID, union-busting, immigration (SB 1070), prison privatization, and stand-your-ground (partly responsible for Trayvon’s death) -- was disbanded!
PCCC Organizer, Kristiane Skolmen, spoke at the Amazon protest outside the Seattle Art Museum where the shareholder meeting was being held. She noted the energy of the 200 activists rallying from a wide range of groups and said:
“As an experienced organizer, coalitions rarely work out the way each member anticipates them to, but I thought this was a really beautiful joining of the forces, especially from groups who couldn’t be there in person but contributed to the 511,160 petitions we delivered.”That number has grown in the week since the coalition petitions were delivered to Amazon. PCCC’s signatures have shot up beyond 100,000! Add your name here.
We would like to thank our partners who together collected an astounding half a million and growing total coalition petition signatures for the Amazon action -- Color of Change, Credo Action, SEIU local 775, Sum of Us, People for the American Way, Progress Now, Washington CAN!, Working Washington -- the 285 activists who made phone calls, and the many other groups working to fight ALEC’s corporate takeover of our democracy.
Additionally,Common Cause has filed a whistleblower complaint with the IRS claiming that ALEC exists for the main purpose of lobbying -- passing legislation -- and therefore has committed tax fraud because they claim they do no lobbying as a 501(c)(3) "nonprofit" organization. If the complaint is successful, ALEC might have to pay back 40 years of taxes plus deal with fraud charges and fines.
So many groups have an interest in taking down ALEC because their reach is wide. The shareholder’s protest was also about corporations paying their fair share in taxes -- Amazon only paid 2.6% in federal taxes last year. Protesters further demanded that Amazon respect workers' rights to safe labor conditions -- Amazon agreed to pay $52 million to retrofit their warehouses with air-conditioning because workers were forced to work in temperatures up to 100 degrees. It was a very successful day for all involved.
Kristiane explains our frustrations with Amazon and ALEC very succinctly on local TV here:
These 23 organizations have decided to leave ALEC:
|Corporations that dumped ALEC||Non-Profits that dumped ALEC|
|1. Coca-Cola Company
8. Arizona Public Service
9. Reed Elsevier
10. American Traffic Solutions
11. Blue Cross Blue Shield
12. YUM! Brands
13. Procter & Gamble
15. Scantron Corporation
19. Johnson & Johnson
|1. Gates Foundation
2. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)
3. National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA)
4. Lumina Foundation for Education
We know petitions, public engagements, and phone calls work on both companies and politicians. So who’s next?
Check out which politicians and corporations are still in cahoots with ALEC. The lists are unfortunately too large to reproduce in full. Please check them out for yourself here: