Google Chairman Eric Schmidt distanced his company from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on Monday, calling Google’s funding of one ALEC campaign “a mistake” and declaring that “we're trying to not do that in the future.” Google later confirmed that the corporation would not renew its membership in ALEC at the end of the year.
On National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm Show, Schimdt denounced ALEC’s association with climate change deniers and said there was a “consensus within the company” that funding ALEC was a mistake. Google has concluded that “we should not be aligned with such people -- they're just, they're just literally lying,” he said.
ALEC, which calls itself a charity but operates as a lobby, is a secretive organization of state legislators and corporations. It is the force behind hundreds of state laws, often drafted by corporate representatives, which have weakened clean air and clean water laws, endangered public safety, privatized public schools and prisons and rolled back workers’ rights. Google now joins over 80 corporations to sever ties with the group since 2011, including Coca-Cola, Kraft, General Electric, Wal-Mart, General Motors, and Microsoft. A full list is available here.
Google’s connection to ALEC was first reported last year. Since then, a coalition of labor, environmental, and citizen advocacy groups, including Common Cause, have called on the company to reconsider its association. In September, Common Cause joined 55 organizations in a letter to Google executives, asking the corporation to leave ALEC due to its stances on clean energy and net neutrality.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: More Democracy Reforms