For Immediate Release
April 10, 2012

Chris Korzen

More corporate sponsors flee ALEC; still no word from Maine members

McDonald's, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Intuit withdraw from conservative group amid growing controversy

Portland, ME - McDonald's, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Intuit Inc. are the latest corporations to withdraw their support from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The conservative group, which allows corporations to write big-business friendly model legislation for state lawmakers, faces mounting criticism over its backing of "Stand Your Ground" gun laws, which have been implicated in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. Last week, it was revealed that Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Kraft Foods, Inc. left ALEC under pressure of a boycott launched by the group Color of Change.

On Friday, Maine's Majority urged several prominent Maine Republicans to follow Coke, Pepsi and Kraft's lead and terminate their ALEC memberships as well. To date, none have responded. Known ALEC members who currently serve in the legislature include:

  • Rep. Andre Cushing (R-Hampden)
  • Rep. James M. Hamper (R-Oxford)
  • Rep. R. Ryan Harmon (R-Palermo)
  • Sen. Brian D. Langley (R-Ellsworth)
  • Sen. Debra Plowman (R-Hampden)
  • Sen. Christopher W. Rector (R-Thomaston)
  • Sen. Richard Rosen (R-Bucksport)
  • Sen. Mike Thibodeau (R-Winterport)

ALEC remains an influential player in Maine's current legislative session. Since January 2011, more than 20 bills with known ALEC connections were introduced in Maine, including LD 1810 “An Act To Implement Recommendations of the Committee To Review Issues Dealing with Regulatory Takings,” which may reach the House floor as early as Tuesday. Another ALEC bill, LD 1859 “An Act To Protect Firearm Ownership during Times of Emergency,” quietly passed last week. Dozens more pieces of legislation have suspected ALEC ties.

"ALEC constitutes a serious threat to the interests of working people in Maine and beyond, and lawmakers who continue to associate themselves with this organization will be held accountable for choosing to do so," said Maine's Majority executive director Chris Korzen. "Intuit, the Gates Foundation and McDonald's have now joined the ranks of Coke, Pepsi and Kraft in leaving ALEC, and others will soon follow suit. Maine's ALEC members must do the same."

Maine’s Majority's call for Maine legislators to sever ties with ALEC has sparked a growing national campaign to pressure lawmakers to leave the group. The Nation's John Nichols wrote about Maine's Majority's campaign on Saturday, and activists in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, and several other states have launched similar efforts.

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