YELP, Facebook, Google & Yahoo—Don‘t Fund Evil!

    Media Contact
  • Helen Grieco

San Francisco CA, Tuesday February 18th. CA Common Cause, along with our allies and members, will hold a press conference in front of the headquarters of YELP, Facebook, Google and Yahoo to deliver an open letter to their CEOs and employees to urge them to withdraw their membership from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The actions will take place at the following locations and times:

YELP—San Francisco 11:30 am
Facebook—Menlo Park 1:00 pm
Google—Mountain View 2:30 pm
Yahoo—Sunnyvale 3:30 pm

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a corporate-funded nonprofit that brings together its member corporations and state member legislators to create “model bills” that often directly benefit its corporate members. But rather than acting as a tax-exempt charity, it has proven to be the lobbying arm of corporate America, as shown through the countless number of ALEC bills that have been brought to light on the ALEC Exposed website and introduced in state houses across the country.

Common Cause and the Center for Media and Democracy have linked ALEC to the creation of the Florida Stand Your Ground law that was used in the Trayvon Martin case, voter suppression legislation, legislative efforts to increase jail time that would benefit private prisons, and anti-immigration bills that boost revenues for detaining immigrants like Arizona’s infamous SB 1070 law.

Common Cause filed a whistleblower complaint with the IRS showing that ALEC misuses charity laws, massively underreports lobbying, and obtains improper tax breaks for corporate funders at the taxpayers’ expense. Over 4,000 pages of ALEC documents were submitted as evidence. A supplemental submission, as a follow-up to the original complaint, was filed in July 2013, documenting ALEC’s improper use of a corporate slush fund to finance lavish junkets for legislators and their families.

“To date, seventy-two major corporations — from Walmart to Coca Cola — have withdrawn their membership in ALEC. According to a December story in The Guardian, ALEC is facing serious financial troubles after hundreds of legislators and dozens of corporations have jumped ship. Associating with a group like ALEC — that flouts tax laws and hides behind a veil of secrecy to wield corporate influence over legislation — is the wrong way to go. YELP, Facebook, Google and Yahoo: Don’t fund evil!” said Helen Grieco of Common Cause.

If you would like to view the original whistleblower complaint to the IRS click here or to view the supplemental submission click here. Please contact Helen Grieco at hgrieco@commoncause,org or 415-531-1774 if you have any questions.