Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) is the latest company to withdraw from the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-funded public policy group under attack for pushing voter-ID and “Stand Your Ground” state laws.
About a dozen companies, including Coca-Cola Inc. (KO) and Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT), previously ended their membership in the group under pressure from ALEC opponents.
“Historically, we found value in working with ALEC and its legislative members on issues related to tax, commerce, and economic development,” Maggie Sans, a Wal-Mart vice president, said in a letter to ALEC.
“Previously, we expressed our concerns about ALEC’s decision to weigh in on issues that stray from its core mission ’to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets,’” Sans said. “We feel that the divide between these activities and our purpose as a business has become too wide. To that end, we are suspending our membership in ALEC.”
An ALEC spokeswoman, Kaitlyn Buss, said yesterday the group was disappointed in Wal-Mart’s decision.
“ALEC companies are being targeted with smear campaigns that produce manufactured outrage and the façade of grassroots support,” Buss said in a statement. “In reality, these groups are bankrolled by extreme liberal front groups and union leaders and their goal is to simply demonize anyone who rejects their big-government agenda. ALEC will not be silenced because our free market, limited government ideas are needed more than ever and are at the core of every well-run state in the country.”