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ALEC’s Corporate Funders Are Complicit in State-Based Assaults on Voting Rights and Democracy

After the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, the CEOs of a number of corporations made the smart public relations move of distancing themselves from members of Congress who voted to decertify the Electoral College results that confirmed the defeat of Republican Donald Trump and the election of Democrat Joe Biden as the nation’s 46th president. Then, in April, when Georgia Republicans enacted voter suppression measures, many of those same CEOs very publicly objected to assaults on democracy in that state and others

Media headlines portrayed corporations as righteous defenders of democracy:

“America’s Business Community Shows Its Own Disgust Over Capitol Riot,” declared U.S. News & World Report.

Bloomberg announced, “Wall Street Rethinks Campaign Donations in Wake of Violence.”

The Washington Post ruminated on how “[m]ounting corporate opposition to proposed voting restrictions tests long-standing alliance with GOP.”

“Corporate America is wading into the voting rights brawl,” chirped NBC News.

It seemed almost as if the term “corporate responsibility” were ceasing to be an oxymoron.

But, of course, “almost” is the operative word in that last sentence.

Dozens of the largest businesses in the United States continue to fund the American Legislative Exchange Council, the shadowy advocacy group that for the better part of 50 years has coordinated the efforts of right-wing legislators to influence policy-making in the states. “ALEC puts partisanship and pay-to-play over principle,” explains Arn Pearson, the executive director on the Center for Media and Democracy, a watchdog group that has, along with The Nation, kept tabs on ALEC for decades. “So it’s no surprise that they have fully embraced the doctrine of racist and undemocratic voter suppression to preserve GOP minority rule.”

Pearson says, “Corporations that are serious about fair elections should publicly denounce ALEC’s voter suppression efforts and quit the organization.”

He’s not alone in that view.

This week, more than 300 voting rights organizations and their allies, including Common Cause, Public Citizen, Fair Fight Action, Color of Change, the AFL-CIO, and the League of Women Voters, demanded that major corporations cut their financial ties with ALEC.

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