Kaplan Joins Companies Leaving ALEC

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  • Dale Eisman

Kaplan: ALEC Flunks Our Test

14 Companies, 28 Legislators Have Left Secretive Corporate Lobby

Kaplan Inc., an online education, tutoring and testing firm that says it serves more than 1 million Americans each year, has decided that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) no longer meets its standards.

Media outlets are reporting today that Kaplan’s college division quit ALEC last August after one year as a member.

Kaplan’s membership in ALEC’s Education Task Force is documented in task force agendas and materials obtained by Common Cause and publicly released yesterday.

“Good corporate citizens like Kaplan are coming to the realization that joining ALEC was a mistake. They should be commended for putting the needs of their consumers ahead of a secretive, corporate-backed organization that works in every state house in the nation to advance legislation that puts corporate profit ahead of the public interest,” said Bob Edgar, President and CEO of Common Cause.

Common Cause filed an IRS whistleblower complaint against ALEC last week, alleging that it is masquerading as a charity and exploiting its federal tax-exempt status. The Common Cause submission is supported by more than 4,000 pages of ALEC records, and was prepared by Phillips & Cohen attorneys Eric R. Havian and Erika A. Kelton.

The IRS classifies ALEC as a 501 (C)(3) organization, which means that it is tax exempt and that donations to it are tax deductible. The law limits lobbying by groups with that designation, specifying that “no substantial part” of their activity can be devoted to influencing legislation.

Kaplan, part of the Washington Post Co., joins 13 other corporations which have fled ALEC in recent weeks, including Procter & Gamble, YUM! Brands, Blue Cross Blue Shield, American Traffic Solutions, Reed Elsevier, Arizona Public Service, Mars, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Intuit, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola.