For Immediate Release
April 6, 2012

Chris Korzen

Corporate sponsors quit ALEC; Maine's Majority urges Maine Republicans to do the same

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods leave conservative group over controversial stands

Portland, ME - To date, 3 major corporate sponsors of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have indicated they will not renew their memberships to the controversial conservative organization. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Kraft Foods, Inc. made the announcements in recent days amid mounting criticism over ALEC's backing of "Stand Your Ground" gun laws, which have been implicated in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

Maine's Majority is now urging several prominent Maine Republicans to terminate their ALEC memberships as well. These known ALEC members 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)

A recent Maine's Majority Education Fund report detailed the full effect of ALEC - which allows large corporations to write big-business friendly bills and helps legislators advance this legislation on the state level - on Maine's political system. At least 20 bills introduced in the current legislature are directly traceable to ALEC, including 3 that were intended to allow greater freedom to carry concealed weapons:

  • LD 446 “An Act to Allow Law Enforcement Officers from Out of State to Carry Concealed Firearms”
  • LD 658 “An Act to Modify the Requirement of a Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon”
  • LD 1176 “An Act to Enhance Reciprocity Agreements regarding Permits to Carry Concealed Firearms”

Laws like these have been widely criticized for promoting the sort of "vigilante justice" mindset that contributed to Martin's death.

"Given what we now know about ALEC and its detrimental effect on Maine's public policy, there's no excuse for Maine legislators to continue their involvement in the organization," said Maine's Majority executive director Chris Korzen. "The fact that Coke, Pepsi and Kraft have left ALEC speaks volumes to how toxic the group has become. It's time for Maine's ALEC members to follow suit."

The Maine's Majority Education Fund report also found that corporate members of ALEC's elite private enterprise committee have poured more than $750,000 into Maine's campaign finance system in the past decade, overwhelmingly to Republican interests. The amount of ALEC money in Maine politics has increased dramatically in recent years, as has the proportion going to Republican candidates and political action committees.

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