Common Cause and More Than 50 Other Groups Call on Google to Quit the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

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  • Jay Riestenberg

Common Cause and 54 other organizations joined Wednesday in asking Google to drop its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive corporate lobbying group.

In a letter to Google offices across the country, the coalition partners urged Google to follow its motto of “Don’t Be Evil” by giving up its ALEC’s membership. The groups cited ALEC’s hidden role in writing state laws; a Common Cause complaint to the IRS challenges ALEC’s status as a nonprofit charitable organization and asserts the group functions as a lobby for its corporate members..

The letter, which comes just a few weeks after Microsoft announced its departure from ALEC, also argues that ALEC’s opposition to clean energy and net neutrality does not fit Google’s public policy agenda. ALEC, which is heavily funded by telecom and fossil fuel giants including Comcast, AT&T, ExxonMobil, and Koch Industries, has pushed “model” legislation undermining the development of clean energy and opposing net neutrality.

ALEC has been called a “stealth business lobbyist” by the New York Times. The group brings state legislators and corporate lobbyists together in private, often at posh resort hotels, to fashion a variety of legislative proposals that advance the interests of its corporate members, often at the expense of the American people.

Over the past three years more than 80 corporations and at least 400 state legislators have dropped their memberships in ALEC.

Organizations signing the letter to Google include environmental, labor, religious, citizen action, and public interest groups. The signers agreed that “in the spirit of what Google purports to be, and in the spirit of what is best for the American public: it is time for Google to end its membership in ALEC.”

You can read a copy of the letter here.

The list of organizations who have signed the letter is below:

American Family Voices
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)
Americans United for Change
Alliance for Retired Americans
Center for Effective Government
Center for Media and Democracy/ALECExposed
Christopher Reynolds Foundation
Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW)
Climate Parents
Common Cause
Communication Workers of America (CWA)
Courage Campaign
CREDO Action
Democracy for America
Energy Action Coalition
Forecast the Facts
Free Press
Friends Fiduciary Corporation
Good Jobs First
Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, U.S.A.
In the Public Interest
International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
Jobs With Justice
League of Conservation Voters
Money Out Voters In (MOVI)
Montana Environmental Information Center
New Energy Economy
Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment
People For the American Way
Progress Now
Progress Florida
Progress Missouri
Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order Milwaukee
Public Campaign
Public Citizen
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Sierra Club
Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Share Action
Social Security Works
Stand Up to ALEC
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)
United Steelworkers (USW)
We Act Radio
Working America
Zevin Asset Management