Another One Bites the Dust — Microsoft Leaves ALEC

Another One Bites the Dust -- Microsoft Leaves ALEC

Microsoft, one of the nation's largest companies, has dropped its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Microsoft, one of the nation’s largest corporations, has ended its membership and support of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive corporate lobbying group. Microsoft had been a member of ALEC’s Communications and Technology Task Force. 

Here is Microsoft’s statement regarding its ALEC membership:

“As we discussed, in 2014 Microsoft decided to no longer participate in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Communications and Technology Task Force, which had been our only previous involvement with ALEC. With this decision, we no longer contribute any dues to ALEC…we are no longer members of ALEC and do not provide the organization with financial support of any kind.”

Microsoft’s message was sent to The Sustainability Group of Loring, Wolcott and Coolidge and Walden Asset Management. The Sustainability Group is a Boston-based socially responsible investment group that had questioned Microsoft’s ALEC membership in light of the company’s expressed support of renewable energy.

Microsoft joins more than 90 private sector members, including major corporations like Coca-Cola, General Motors, Bank of America, and Proctor & Gamble, that have dumped ALEC. The exodus was triggered by public exposure beginning in 2011 of ALEC’s carefully-hidden efforts to write and secure passage of legislation including “Stand Your Ground” bills, restrictive voter ID requirements, anti-union measures, and  proposals blocking the development of renewable energy.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, named for Microsoft’s founder, stopped financially supporting ALEC in 2012; over 400 state legislators have also dropped their affiliation with ALEC.

Common Cause has filed a tax whistleblower complaint against ALEC with the Internal Revenue Service, charging the group with masquerading as a charity and violating the terms of its nonprofit status by underreporting its lobbying activity.