First, Coca Cola pulled its membership from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) after liberal groups launched a boycott over the company's support for the company because it supports voter ID laws and so-called "Stand Your Ground" gun laws. Now, another big company is caving. Kraft Foods appears to be bowing to liberals' demands, announcing in a statement that it's "made the decision not to renew" its ALEC membership, which will soon expire.
The company was vague in its reasoning for the move, citing "limited resources" but insisting that its involvement with ALEC "has been strictly limited to discussions about economic growth and development, transportation and tax policy."
The withdrawals of Coke and Kraft obviously pleases liberal ALEC detractors, including the left-leaning Center for Media and Democracy and Van Jones' Color of Change. Following Kraft's decision, Color of Change released a statement praising the move and promised to redouble its efforts in targeting ALEC's remaining financial supporters:
We welcome Kraft Foods Inc.'s decision to stop supporting ALEC, an organization which has worked to disenfranchise African Americans, Latinos, students, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor. We reached out to Kraft months ago and have been in dialogue with them since then to convey the concerns of more than 85,000 ColorOfChange members who called on major corporations to stop supporting ALEC.
We continue to call on all major corporations to stop supporting voter suppression through ALEC. Our members are prepared to hold accountable companies that continue to participate in ALEC's attack on voting rights.
The tragedy of Trayvon Martin's death – and the law that has prevented his killer from being arrested – is another example of how ALEC's agenda is dangerous for people of color. The NRA and ALEC exported Florida's “stand your ground” law to more than 20 states across the country, jeopardizing the safety of Americans nationwide.
We want to thank Kraft for making the right decision, and we want to thank ColorOfChange members and our partners.
Color of Change is also claiming credit for forcing PepsiCo withdrawing its ALEC membership -- the company quietly pulled itself off the ALEC Enterprise Board in January -- a month before the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
On Monday, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also announced it would no longer send funds to ALEC:
A foundation spokesman told Roll Call that it does not plan to make future grants to the conservative nonprofit, which has come under fire from progressive activists for its support of voter identification laws and other contentious measures.
The foundation, run by the co-founder of Microsoft Corp. and his wife, contributed more than $375,000 to ALEC in the past two years and was the target of an online petition launched today by the liberal Progressive Change Campaign Committee that garnered more than 23,000 signatures in a matter of hours.
“We have made a single grant, narrowly and specifically focused on providing information to ALEC-affiliated state legislators on teacher effectiveness and school finance,” said Chris Williams, the spokesman, noting that the foundation was never a dues-paying member. The foundation advocates for global health initiatives and efforts to reduce poverty.
MSNBC's Ed Schultz happily welcomed Color of Change's Executive Director Rashad Robinson onto his program to further discuss the ongoing boycott of the "right-wing, shadowy" ALEC:
ALEC helps businesses and individuals to draft model legislation to send to politicians. According to its website, the group's mission is "to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty."
Following the departure of Kraft, Coke and Pepsi, Color of Change is now setting its sights on AT&T, encouraging its membership base to "call AT&T and tell them to stop funding voter suppression."