T-Mobile Cuts Ties With ALEC

Mobile wireless company T-Mobile is the latest to leave the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive corporate lobbying group.

A T-Mobile spokesperson issued the following statement to Common Cause on Wednesday:

T-Mobile is affiliated with many public policy organizations, and we regularly evaluate these affiliations and associations based on our priorities. In line with this practice, in 2015 we decided not to renew our membership with ALEC. 

T-Mobile joins a growing number of corporations who have recently left ALEC, largely due to the organization’s controversial position on climate science and secretive activities. In recent months, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Yelp, eBay, SAP America, AOL, Northrop Grumman, BP, Occidental Petroleum, and International Paper have all left ALEC. T-Mobile is the second large telecommunications firm to cut ties with ALEC, after Sprint left in 2012. T-Mobile had been a member of ALEC’s Communications and Technology Task Force.

Despite T-Mobile and other corporations’ exit, many telecom companies remain members of ALEC, including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable.

“The Uncarrier strikes again,” said Todd O’Boyle, director of Common Cause’s Media and Democracy program. “In recent years, AT&T and Verizon have been taking their cues from wireless maverick T-Mobile which has relieved customers of many of the billing practices they so despise. Big Telecom should once again follow T-Mobile’s example by exiting ALEC straightaway.”

Common Cause is pursuing a tax “whistleblower” complaint against ALEC with the Internal Revenue Service, accusing the organization of masquerading as a charity while functioning as a corporate lobby. ALEC’s non-profit tax status allows its corporate supporters to deduct their contributions to the organization on their corporate tax returns, in effect providing a tax subsidy for ALEC’s lobbying.