The successful boycott of ALEC is the sending the organization into a PR tailspin, and forcing members to flee and rebuke the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Republic Report was the first to confirm that the for profit Washington Post owned education company Kaplan was a member of ALEC. Kaplan later confirmed that they were only a member for a year, and that they are currently no longer a member of the organization. The major development here isn’t that Kaplan dumped them. According to Kaplan Higher Education, they left ALEC in August 2011.
The fact that the ALEC brand name has become so damaged that previous members feel compelled to make it publicly known that they are no longer involved with the organization is a major development. The boycott has been so successful at negatively defining the organization that some companies no longer what their name associated with ALEC.
The boycott has made ALEC a dirty four letter abbreviation that is bad for business. Being associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council now carries a negative public perception. Companies don’t want to be publicly tied to an organization that actively works to suppress voting rights, champions stand your ground laws, and operates behind closes to doors to bypass the democratic process in order to enact a pro-corporate agenda.
Companies are not only dropping ALEC, but former members are speaking out against the organization. When Yum! Brands dropped ALEC, they gave their reason as, “We belief that the crafting of legislation should be done in public, rather than behind closed doors.”
Procter & Gamble said they left ALEC because, “In deciding to part ways with ALEC, Procter & Gamble has acknowledged that it can’t in good conscience market products to Black communities while at the same time handing over customers’ dollars to a right-wing think tank that has worked to suppress the Black vote.”
As these former members leave, the American people are getting confirmation ALEC’s real purpose. ALEC isn’t simply a pro-business organization. They have a vast conservative social agenda which they are looking to enact behind closed doors on a state by state basis. ALEC has been actively advocating for private school vouchers and public charter schools. ALEC has also been pushing model laws across the country that targets academic freedom and free speech for college students.
They were able to accomplish much of their agenda by forging close relationships with Republican legislators at both the state and federal levels. ALEC wrote the bills, and the state level Republicans introduced and passed them. The Republican/ALEC conspiracy to violate our nation’s democratic principles depended on secrecy.
After their secrecy was shattered ALEC should have known that some type of popular push back was coming, but they did nothing to prepare. The boycotters have been able define ALEC with shocking ease and simplicity. They have turned ALEC into an undesirable affiliation, and they have made life very uncomfortable for the organization’s remaining membership.
The counteroffensive by ALEC has been limited to begging right wing media for help, and cheap publicity stunts. ALEC still has the backing of many corporations and conservative billionaires, but their days of secretive agenda setting appear to be moving closer to coming to an end.
Just like a vampire exposed to sunlight, ALEC’s power and influence are beginning to turn to dust.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association