Elsewhere online
September 26, 2014

Tech Giants Cut Ties With Conservative Lawmakers' Group ALEC

Following in Microsoft's footsteps, Google, Yahoo, and Yelp said this week that they have dropped their membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council, and Facebook has signaled it is may soon do the same, The Washington Post writes. Liberal organizations and activist investors have stepped up pressure on big firms to cut links to the nonprofit network of state legislators, which promulgates model bills that generally promote conservative and free-market policies.

Corporate members pay annual dues of $7,000 to $25,000 to ALEC, as the council is known, and serve on its policy committees. The tech firms offered different reasons for leaving or mulling an exit. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told NPR Monday that his company did not want to support an organization he characterized as skeptical of climate change. Consumer-review site Yelp said Wednesday that it let its membership lapse because it accomplished what it wanted to in joining ALEC, promoting legislation to make it harder for businesses to sue people who post negative reviews.

ALEC has drawn criticism and lost corporate members over its past support of "stand your ground" self-defense laws, but in recent months activism against the group has focused on climate issues. Bill Meierling, an ALEC spokesman, said the group does not deny climate change but has "serious reservations about how implementation [of climate policy] is being done by the government."