General Electric, Four Additional Companies Depart ALEC

Five national and global corporations, including General Electric, Western Union and Sprint Nextel, have become the latest corporate giants to join the exodus from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The two others are Symantec of Mountain View, Calif., and Reckitt Benckiser of Parsippany, NJ. General Electric is based in Fairfield, Conn., Western Union is in Englewood, Colo., and Sprint Nextel is in Overland Park, Kan.

Their departures were announced Monday by the civil rights organization Color of Change, one of several groups which along with Common Cause have been working to expose ALEC’s tax-subsidized lobbying on behalf of state laws that put private profit ahead of the public interest

“Clearly the light bulb has gone on at General Electric that ALEC’s extreme agenda is not good for business,” said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause.

Amid complaints from Common Cause and other reform groups, 38 companies have left ALEC in recent months. Common Cause has filed a “tax whistleblower” complaint against ALEC with the Internal Revenue Service, challenging the group’s tax-exemption. ALEC casts itself as a charity, but Common Cause has provided the IRS with more than 4,000 pages of ALEC press releases, “issue alerts,” position papers and other materials documenting its lobbying activity.

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