by Max Brantley
The American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate lobby and conservative state legislation factory, has lost more corporate sponsors — John Deere, CVS Caremark, MillerCoors, HP and Best Buy.
The Koch brothers, of course, can single-handedly fund the organization, which hosts low-cost confabs to ply state legislators with anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-union and other corporate and conservative agenda bills. It's a popular source of support for the rising Republican caucus in Arkansas and even sent employees to lobby for their legislation in 2011.
In total, says colorofchange.org, at least 25 companies have now ended their memberships in ALEC. John Deere, MillerCoors, HP, CVS Caremark and Best Buy join Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Wal-Mart, Amazon, Procter & Gamble, Yum! Brands, McDonald's, Wendy's, Mars Inc., Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Intuit, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Reed Elsevier (owner of LexisNexis and publisher of science and health information), Kaplan, Scantron, Medtronic, American Traffic Solutions and Arizona Public Service.
ALEC has also become a major advocate of another favorite piece of Republican political engineering — voter ID laws that are designed to discourage voting by traditional Democratic constituencies. Republicans have bragged that such a law in Pennsylvania should suppress enough votes to turn the state red in this year's presidential election. It's high on the agenda of Arkansas Republican legislators, though none has yet to demonstrate a single case of voter impersonation at Arkansas polls. Proof of identification is required to register to vote in Arkansas and voters may already be asked to produce ID, though they are not required to produce it.
In December of last year, ColorOfChange members began signing a petition targeting ALEC’s corporate partners for their role in suppressing Black votes. The petition can be found here.