Google, Facebook, Yelp Abandon ALEC

by Joye Barksdale  |  September 24, 2014

Google, Facebook, Yelp Abandon ALEC

If you Google “companies that have cut ties with ALEC,” you’ll find…Google.

AFSCME was one of 50 organizations that earlier this month urged the Internet giant to stop funding ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a vehicle for corporate members to lobby state lawmakers. ALEC is well-known for developing cookie-cutter bills that lawmakers introduce in their states.

The legislation typically supports corporate tax cuts; opposes workers’ rights, collective bargaining and regulations that protect the workplace and the environment; and denies climate change. Whatever the focus, the bottom line of the bills is the same: They advance a corporate agenda at the expense of working people.

Erick Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, announced the decision this week. He said in an interview on The Diane Rehm Show that ALEC was “literally lying” about climate change. That, he said, led to Google’s decision.  He said it was a mistake for Google to have gotten involved with ALEC at all. The company will not renew its membership at the end of the year.

With this decision, Google joins a growing list of companies that are backing away from ALEC, including Coca-Cola, CVS, General Motors, Kraft, McDonald’s and Microsoft. Even the oil company Occidental Petroleum has cut ties with ALEC. And just this week, one of the latest to indicate it would leave is Facebook, the global social media giant, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. Yelp, an online referral service, also reportedly is abandoning ALEC, as is Yahoo.

As of this month, 86 corporations and 19 nonprofits made that choice.

Lisa Nelson, ALEC’s chief executive, said Google cut ties with ALEC “as a result of public pressure” from several organizations. AFSCME is proud to be one of them.

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