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A 'Progressive Victory'? ALEC Disbands Non-Economic Task Force


Groups like ThinkProgress & Color of Change claiming victory.

Some of the sponsors that abandoned ALEC

The campaign against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has paid off: “The American Legislative Exchange Council will disband the task force that tackled non-economic issues [i.e. voter ID and “stand your ground” laws],” Hot Air’s Tina Korbe reports.

David Frizzell, Indiana State Representative and 2012 National Chairman of ALEC, issued the following statement today (via ALEC’s website):

Today we are redoubling our efforts on the economic front, a priority that has been the hallmark of our organization for decades. Fostering the exchange of pro-growth, solutions-oriented ideas is precisely why ALEC exists.

To that end, our legislative board last week unanimously agreed to further our work on policies that will help spur innovation and competitiveness across the country.

We are refocusing our commitment to free-market, limited government and pro-growth principles, and have made changes internally to reflect this renewed focus.

We are eliminating the ALEC Public Safety and Elections task force that dealt with non-economic issues, and reinvesting these resources in the task forces that focus on the economy. The remaining budgetary and economic issues will be reassigned.

While we recognize there are other critical, non-economic issues that are vitally important to millions of Americans, we believe we must concentrate on initiatives that spur competitiveness and innovation and put more Americans back to work.

Our free-market, limited government, pro-growth policies are the reason ALEC enjoys the support of legislators on both sides of the aisle and in all 50 states. ALEC members are interested in solutions that put the American economy back on track. This is our mission, and it is what distinguishes us.

Translation: because groups like Color of Change and the the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) successfully incited a mass exodus of sponsors, ALEC has been forced to bow out of certain issues.

Unsurprisingly, liberal activists groups who have long targeted ALEC cheered the decision, viewing it, in part, as a victory (with ThinkProgress referring to it as a"progressive victory") for their campaign to get “corporations and other groups to drop their support for the Washington, D.C.-based organization,” the AP reports.

ALEC believes it has been unfairly targeted as part of a broader campaign against its conservative agenda.

"This is an all-out intimidation campaign designed to promote government-based solutions rather than the free-market principles that we have seen work," said Ron Scheberle, the group's executive director.

Lisa Graves, a leader at the Center for Media and Democracy who has been targeting ALEC over the past year, said the announcement was unexpected but likely a public relations move.

So where does this put us?

“ALEC’s decision was an unfortunate one, but, under the circumstances, it does make sense,” Korbe writes. “They have a vested interest in keeping their focus narrow so as to retain support on both sides of the aisle and to continue to be effective at influencing legislation at the state level.”

She continues:

… ALEC’s decision to sharpen its focus on economic issues doesn’t exonerate the corporations who succumbed to outside special interest groups to go against their own interests…McDonald’s, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Intuit, Kraft, Arby’s and Walgreens showed their true colors when they quickly abandoned ALEC. Apparently, they prioritize political correctness above all — even above free and fair elections, not to mention the free markets that enabled the success of such corporations in the first place.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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