Wal-Mart’s recent decision to drop its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council is a milestone in the remarkable effort to drive a wedge between ALEC and the large corporations that have used the organization to promote their self-serving policy agenda at the state level.
At least 18 companies are reported to have cuts ties to ALEC in the face of a pressure campaign which has ben spearheaded by groups such as Color of Change, Common Cause, People for the American Way and the Center for Media and Democracy.
The campaign — which has also prevailed against the likes of Amazon.com, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, McDonald’s and Procter & Gamble — is already one of the most successful corporate accountability initiatives ever undertaken, and more wins are likely to occur. Yet there are also high hurdles to overcome.
Those companies that have succumbed to the anti-ALEC pressure are pretty much all consumer products firms concerned about the possibility of boycotts by customers outraged at ALEC’s role in promoting “stand your ground” laws like the one in Florida at the center of the controversy over the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
A decisive win against ALEC will require splitting off a much larger portion of ALEC’s sizeable corporate membership, including companies that are not fazed by consumer unrest. Quite a few firms of this sort are represented on ALEC’s Private Enterprise Board, whose membership roll reads like a rogue’s gallery of corporate irresponsibility.