ExxonMobil is the latest company to announce it is cutting ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive corporate lobbying group. According to a report by Bloomberg News, the oil giant is leaving the organization due to disagreements over climate change policy. ALEC brings together corporate officials and state legislators to draft and vote on “model” legislation that is then introduced in state legislatures around the country.
Exxon is the latest of over 100 major corporations to leave ALEC due its extreme agenda and anti-democratic operations. Other major companies that have cut ties with ALEC due to its anti-environmental policies that sow uncertainty about basic climate science in recent years include Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Ford, Shell, and BP. Additionally, ALEC lost major corporate sponsors including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonalds, Procter & Gamble, Walmart, and Johnson & Johnson due to pushing NRA-backed “Stand Your Ground” legislation and voter ID bills.
“This is yet another major sign that ALEC is out of touch with everyday Americans who want a democracy that works for everyone,” said Jay Riestenberg, campaigns & media strategist at Common Cause. “People are tired of ALEC’s pay-to-play politics and ready for change. Exxon’s departure should send a strong message to ALEC that it’s extreme agenda and undemocratic, secretive operations have no place in American politics.”
Common Cause has challenged ALEC’s tax-status as 501(c)(3) charity, where corporations are eligible for a tax-deduction for funding ALEC’s lobbying. Common Cause filed an IRS whistleblower complaint against ALEC in 2012, charging the organization with tax fraud, and supplemental complaints in 2013, 2015, and 2016. The 2016 submission focused exclusively on ExxonMobil’s use of ALEC to illegally lobby state legislators.
Common Cause, including its 1.2 million members and activists, and allies have also been instrumental in urging companies to leave ALEC.