The world’s largest retailer and the biggest seller of guns in the country joins a cadre of corporations ending their membership in ALEC, American Legislative Council.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which joined ALEC in 1993, said its ending its relationship with the organization after pressure because of ALEC’s involvement in changing the voting laws and “stand your ground” gun laws, including the one under scrutiny in the Florida killing of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February. A coalition of liberal advocates targeted the group for its support of the self-defense laws.
That Wal-Mart splits from ALEC parallels the move of other intercontinental conglomerates leaving skidmarks away from ALEC in recent weeks and months. This is including Coca-Cola Co, Kraft Foods Inc, McDonald’s Corp, Procter & Gamble Co and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“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,’” Maggie Sans, Wal-Mart vice president of public affairs and government relations, said in a May 30 letter addressed to ALEC’s national chairman and executive director.
“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.”
ALEC, which serves as a forum for corporations and mostly Republican state lawmakers and lobbyists to discuss model legislation, has been criticized by liberals for promoting laws that require photo identification to vote. ColorOfChange, a liberal advocacy group for black Americans, has said the voting laws put the poor and minorities at a disadvantage.
As expected, ALEC remained defiant despite the mass exodus of high-profile corporations and organizations out of its group.
“While we are disappointed in Walmart’s decision, we understand the unique pressures they are under,” said spokeswoman Kaitlyn Buss.
“However, as we announced in April, ALEC is solely focused on limited government, free-market solutions in the states that create jobs and improve the economy.”
ALEC believes its member companies are being targeted with campaigns that produce “manufactured outrage and the facade of grassroots support,” she added.