Common Cause, Fair Fight Action, and over 300 organizations penned a letter demanding large corporations, including Anheuser-Busch, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, CenturyLink, Eli Lilly, UPS, FedEx, Oracle, State Farm, Raytheon, Salesforce, Pfizer and others, cut financial ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) over its support of voter suppression legislation throughout the country.
The letter is going to: 1-800-Contacts, Alibaba, Alkermes, Altria, American Electric Power, Anheuser-Busch, Arizona Public Service, Bayer, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, CenturyLink, Charter Communications, Chevron, Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated, Credit Union National Association, CTIA, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, EDP Renewables, Eli Lilly, Enova Internal, FedEx, First Solar, GlaxoSmithKline, Guarantee Trust Life Insurance, Koch Industries, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, National Automobile Dealers Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, Novartis, Oracle, Peabody Energy, Pfizer, PhRMA, Sanofi, Salt River Project, State Farm, Sunovion, UPS, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Vistra Energy.
According to the Brennan Center, over 389 bills that would suppress the right to vote have been introduced in 48 states during legislative sessions. ALEC has used its power to draft and advance Jim Crow-style voter suppression legislation throughout the country. They have partnered with extreme, dark money groups like the Heritage Foundation to try to implement the most suppressive and dangerous pieces of voting legislation that our country has ever seen. Quoting the letter, which can be seen in full below:
We are writing to urge you to cease your association with, and end your funding of, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) based on its active efforts to restrict the American people’s freedom to vote and spread lies about the integrity of our elections to undermine American democracy.
Faced with public outrage over legislation that creates barriers to voting rights enacted or proposed in more than 47 statesi, and the bills’ disproportionate impact on people of color, young people, and the elderly, hundreds of companies have publicly denounced any discriminatory legislation that makes it harder for people to vote.ii Perhaps your company is one of them.
Nonetheless, your participation in ALEC serves to promote and legitimize the group’s anti-democratic efforts to create more barriers to voting.
Despite claiming it would stop working on electoral issues in 2012, ALEC has reengaged on highly controversial policies related to elections and redistricting in recent years, perhaps without your company’s knowledge. In 2019, ALEC created a secret working group on redistricting, ballot measures, and election law, known as the “ALEC Political Process Working Group.”iii
The group is led in part by Cleta Mitchell, a controversial attorney who has spread disinformation about the results of the 2020 election and served as a legal advisor to former President Trump as he secretly pushed election officials in Georgia to overturn the results of a free and fair election.iv Another leader of ALEC’s secret working group is Arizona state Representative Shawnna Bolick, who recently proposed a bill to allow the state legislature to overturn the results of a presidential election.v
ALEC’s own CEO, Lisa Nelson, said in February 2020 that ALEC was already working with state legislators on efforts to challenge the 2020 election results and “question the validity of an election.”vi Nelson’s comments were made nine months before the election even took place. Then, in June 2020, ALEC held an exclusive call for its members on the topic of mail-in voting featuring the Honest Elections Projectvii, a group that pushes voter restriction laws and which spread disinformation about the integrity of mail-in voting during the 2020 election.viii But ALEC’s spread of disinformation about voting pre-dates the 2020 election cycle. In 2017, ALEC hosted a panel featuring three members of former President Trump’s disbanded and discredited election integrity commission (Hans von Spakowsky, J. Christian Adams, and Christy McCormick), where they made unfounded claims of voter fraud and pushed for legislation to restrict the right to vote.ix
Make no mistake, ALEC and its allies’ involvement in spreading disinformation about voting and undermining the integrity of our elections led to the violent insurrection we witnessed on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol. And now your company’s funding and support of ALEC is being used to pass new Jim Crow-style anti-voter laws at the state level and block federal voting reform from passing in Congress.