ALEC Whines As People Power Makes Them Pay

There are few Americans who would deny that money speaks louder than words, and after the conservative Supreme Court unleashed corporate-funded elections, large amounts of money have taken away the voice of the people. Even without elections, conservative special interest groups are controlling nearly every aspect of Republican policies at the state and federal level whether they are religious organizations or the corporation-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and it presents a daunting task for average Americans who may see no way to compete with unlimited amounts of cash and the power it brings. Voting is hardly a remedy to combat unlimited corporate money because corporations, like their special interest groups, are not elected and do not answer to anyone except their shareholders and the free market they worship. Over the past few months, Americans discovered that their only recourse to fight back against powerful, moneyed interests is to use their own power against them and the results have been impressive.

There are three specific instances of activists exerting their financial power over wealthy organizations, and their efforts work not by spending money, but by threatening to take it away. The wealthy and their corporations will do nearly anything to keep their money, but their prime directive is earning it, and given the choice of changing an agenda or losing money, it is apparent they will change to avoid losing a penny.

In February when Komen for the Cure withdrew funding from Planned Parenthood over abortion services, the backlash from Americans was swift and decisive and it was not because of petitions or protest rallies, but because Komen lost funding. Decent Americans from all walks of life were outraged that an organization whose goal was finding a cure for cancer would withhold funding for Planned Parenthood that provided free or low-cost cancer screening for millions of Americans, and because they could not vote against Komen, they stopped donating and it had an immediate effect. Komen’s withdrawing financial support for Planned Parenthood was steeped in religious dogma, but Komen executives soon learned that religion did not pay the bills or protect them from Americans who began donating directly to Planned Parenthood instead of Komen; the rest is history. In fact, Komen has quietly resumed funding Planned Parenthood and awarded grants to at least 17 Planned Parenthood affiliates in 2012.

Komen learned a lesson that radio stations carrying Rush Limbaugh’s show are learning and that is the public gives money, and they can take it away. Despite Limbaugh’s assertions to the contrary, the affiliates that carry his program are feeling the loss of revenue from advertisers that withdrew support over his vile comments about Sandra Fluke. Make no mistake, none of the advertisers pulled their ads of their own accord because they were outraged over his sexist comments, but because angry Americans threatened boycotts that would affect their profits and it has resulted in approximately 200 hundred advertisers ending their support for Limbaugh’s show, and the effort is just getting started. In markets all across the country concerned activists are exerting pressure on local advertisers and affiliates to stop sponsoring hate-speech, and there are groups specifically targeting advertisers to impress upon them that it is a money-losing proposition to continue subsidizing Limbaugh.

The biggest prize thus far though is the pressure on a growing list of corporate giants like Coca Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, the Gates Foundation and others that withdrew their support for ALEC after negative publicity resulting from the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin and the public’s awareness of voter suppression laws in dozens of states at ALEC’s behest. The neo-conservative group flourished in the background for over 30 years writing template legislation for Republicans, but that secrecy factor is over. The corporations opting away from ALEC took preemptive action before the public could hurt them financially, and it is a testament to activists who publicized ALEC’s involvement in state legislatures that are restricting voting and promoting laws allowing citizens to use deadly force “anyplace they have a legal right to be” if they think they are in danger or think an “unlawful act is about to occur.” Yesterday, candy giant Mars joined other corporations in withdrawing support for ALEC and although the corporations avoided a financial hit, ALEC did not and it was obvious from the whiny statement from ALEC’s executive director claiming there was an expert campaign of  intimidation targeting ALEC’s corporate sponsors.

Activism is only meaningful if there are results, and no amount of petition drives, votes, or rallies will ever affect an organization that is answerable to shareholders. As long as money flows into an organization without the risk of disruption, it is never going to change, but the slightest indication that their profits or reputation are in jeopardy will engender surprising results. Americans do have power beyond the ballot box, and they have finally started using it to good effect by punishing the groups that can effect real change if they think their wealth is threatened. Money is a powerful motivator, and the love of money causes people to do terrible things, but the thought of losing money is also powerful and the American people have the power to take it away from corporations, radio talk-show hosts, and ALEC’s donors, and now that people realize they control corporate wealth, real change may finally happen. Well thought-out activism is the best of democracy, freedom, and Republicans’ free-market capitalism and it is ironic that decent Americans will use the GOP’s beloved free enterprise to hasten their demise, but they are too busy counting their corporate donations to see it coming.

10 Replies to “ALEC Whines As People Power Makes Them Pay”

  1. The hard right always whines when they get a dose of their own medicine. ALEC has been counting on a bunch of passive sheep who wouldn’t fight against those that have tried to pull the wool over their ideas, sometimes successfully. It’s good enough for them.

  2. If anyone can recognize “an expert campaign of intimindation,” it would be ALEC, which has been intimidating lawmakers for 30 years. It takes experts to fight these thugs, and I am glad that so many on the WEB have the expertise to get people, ordinary, taxpaying people, involved and fighting these corporate criminals. I hope we wipe ALEC of the face of the Earth, but I’m sure they are already in the baby stages with the next effort to take over America for the wealthy.

  3. Con-artist always whine and throw tantrums when their “tricks of the trade” are revealed as cons…

    Just as in the Wizard of Oz, no one was supposed to pay attention to that little man behind the curtain while the great omnipotent Oz bellowed “Silence! I kill you!”…no…That was the hand puppet, Akmed the Dead Terrorist”…at least we can see who makes his mouth move.

  4. I wonder why its ok for corporations to stab us but we cant stab back? Its ok for corps to take advantage of us but we cant exercise our power?

    I think this is part of why the 1% wants all the wealth. We will be left defenseless and only the Corporations will be left to fight amongst themselves.

    As long as we have spending power the corps need to listen. We built them through our purchases, we can take those purchases away when they abuse us or belong to abusive organizations.

  5. First of all thank you to the author for giving credit to ALEC Exposed. These people have been following ALEC for years and never gave up. THAT is real dedication to a cause. I can stop spending my money really easily but to have that kind of dedication takes a great deal of time and effort. So I say Kudos to ALEC Exposed.

    I have been saying this for awhile now – CU is not powerful if WE do not give it power. We have the power with our wallets to stop them. They can put all the ads on TV they want. As long as the people continue to expose them and speak out about it,their money will be wasted.

    Like the baggers say, It is time to take OUR country back but not back to the past, back from corporate control. OWS, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, Russia, Greece, Germany, England, Ireland, Iran are all examples of this effort. How great would it be if we all banded together? Put the entire world on notice: Your money is not king anymore.

    It would be interesting to see how the money changes their tune. BUT I still see this as an issue, an issue because they were willing to screw everyone as long as they could get away with it. That is still an issue.

  6. …”BUT I still see this as an issue, because they were willing to screw everyone as long as they could get away with it. That is still an issue…”

    So we are back to the argument as to who legislates; those who want to legislate “morality”, all the thou shalt not crew, or, legislate laws that provide for testing of sociopaths (no consciousness+amorality=no cure) as a way to hold them criminally liable.

  7. I second you on this.

    Yet it must not stop here. The legislative function is not one that is supposed to be delegated, outsourced, or privatized. Yet here it has been.

    The proviso of the Magna Carta, “To none will we sell, to none deny, justice”, is incorporated into the Constitution of many states. Similarly, this is a violation of the sunshine laws many states have. Denying non-ALEC members access to the lawmaking process is both a constitutional violation of equal representation (Baker v. Carr) and- if any inducement at all is involved- a felony. There is enough here, I submit, for a RICO prosecution, as well.

    Many people and organizations, including the ABA, have submitted model bills to congresspeople, and if these are openly mooted about, adapted, and adopted through the regular legislative process, with plenty of time for public input, nothing is wrong with that. This is different. This is a private legislature dictating law to ostensibly public ones, and by the time it becomes law, it’s too bloody late for the governed to give consent or deny it.

  8. The organization called ALEC has actively fostered the spread of  “STAND YOUR GROUND” laws to many states. These are the very same laws that led to the Trayvon Martin murder in Florida….laws that “allow” vigilantes to be judge-jury-and-executioner. We need to bring some good out of this terrible tragedy. We need to prevent MORE of these senseless killings. Some mainstream corporations have funded ALEC. BUT… as their funding has been publicized, they have withdrawn their support. Call or write or email the following two ALEC supporters: JOHNSON and JOHNSON, & STATE FARM insurance ….or.. visit www.pfaw.org/ditchALEC. Please urge these two companies to their cut ties with ALEC. Tell them that they should not want their brands associated with the dangerous laws ALEC promotes — including voter suppression, NRA-backed “stand your ground” laws, extreme racial profiling laws targeting immigrants, privatizing public education and protecting corporate polluters. If you do not want YOUR hard earned money to be used AGAINST your best interests, then Stand YOUR Ground and tell State Farm & Johnson and Johnson, in no uncertain terms: DON’T FUND ALEC!

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