Common Cause Lauds BP’s Withdrawal from ALEC

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  • Dale Eisman

Common Cause and other public interest and shareholder organizations joined Monday in praising BP’s announcement that it is ending its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

“BP made the right decision in joining the over 100 companies that have left ALEC, which misleads taxpayers and the IRS about its extensive lobbying activities,” said Arn Pearson, Vice President of Litigation at Common Cause. 

“BP’s decision to stop funding ALEC underscores how ALEC is too extreme for mainstream companies, even oil companies. Despite its spin, ALEC continues to play a central role in peddling climate change denial with its ongoing campaign to thwart efforts to mitigate the climate changes under way and its ongoing efforts to tell lawmakers that increased CO2 is good for you, in spite of the science,” said Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy, publishers of PRWatch and ALECexposed. 

Tim Smith of Walden Asset Management stated “ Obviously BP in its annual review assessed the pros and cons of continued membership in ALEC and this year decided that it was wise to step back and drop membership. In doing so, they have followed decisions by over 100 companies including Conoco Phillips and Occidental Petroleum. Obviously BP’s decision  adds pressure on companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron and Pfizer that are longstanding and ongoing members of ALEC.”

BP becomes the latest corporation to cut ties with ALEC and follows Occidental Petroleum as the second major fossil fuel company to leave the group. Microsoft announced its departure in August. A month later, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt declared on a nationally-broadcast radio program that ALEC was “literally lying” about climate change and that Google’s funding for the organization was a “mistake.” Following Google’s lead, Facebook, Yelp, Yahoo, International Paper, Occidental Petroleum, News Corp,, and SAP have all confirmed that they have left or are planning to leave ALEC.

Common Cause is pursuing a tax “whistleblower” complaint against ALEC with the Internal Revenue Service. The complaint accuses the organization of state legislators and corporations of abusing its tax-exempt status by operating as a lobby for its corporate members while claiming to be a charity.