Another major corporation has decided to leave controversial corporate lobbying group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Common Cause has learned.
Allergan, a $7.2 billion pharmaceutical company recently acquired by Actavis, told Common Cause it “is no longer an active member of ALEC.” Allergan was previously ALEC’s state corporate co-chair in Tennessee and a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force. Records show Allergan was also previously a major funder of ALEC’s “scholarship” fund, a secret corporate slush fund where politicians are able to get free trips to attend ALEC’s meetings.
The company’s departure comes as more pressure builds on pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to end its membership in ALEC. In March, over 80 organizations sent Pfizer executives a letter urging the corporation to leave ALEC. At Pfizer’s annual shareholder meeting in April, investors and public interest advocates again called on the company to end its ALEC membership and disclose more of its political and lobbying spending.
Just this week, Common Cause and the Center for Media and Democracy filed new evidence to the IRS regarding ALEC’s nonprofit charitable status and illegal lobbying activities, which included a letter from Pfizer highlighting how the company uses ALEC to push legislation. Even though Pfizer has stated it disagrees with ALEC on climate change and is a member of ALEC to work specifically on health policy issues, the letter from Pfizer also revealed that the company joined an ALEC environment and energy committee to work on climate change issues within ALEC in 2014.
Allergan now joins numerous pharmaceutical companies that have cut ties with ALEC in recent years, including Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Sanofi. Over the last year, ALEC has been facing a corporate exodus, as numerous companies have cut ties with the organization due to its controversial stance on climate change issues and legal concerns about its nonprofit charitable status. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yelp, Yahoo, International Paper, Occidental Petroleum, News Corp, SAP, AOL, eBay, Northrop Grumman, BP, and T-Mobile have all confirmed that they have left or are planning to leave ALEC in the last ten months.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: More Democracy Reforms