-By Scott Keyes
April 17, 2012- In the face of mounting pressure from progressive activists and its own corporate sponsors, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a right-wing group funded by corporations like ExxonMobil and Koch Industries, announced today that it will shut down a task force that deals with “non-economic issues,” like voter suppression efforts and “stand your ground” gun laws. ALEC came under intense scrutiny over the past few weeks after progressive groups like Color of Change began pressuring corporations that fund ALEC to drop their support. The Center for American Progress also released a report highlighting the right-wing group’s role in pushing voter suppression efforts around the country. As a result, 10 companies, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Kraft, have pulled out from ALEC.
In response to the exodus of corporate funding, ALEC made the decision today to scale back its operations and focus on “economic” matters. The group released the following statement:
We are eliminating the ALEC Public Safety and Elections task force that dealt with non-economic issues, and reinvesting these resources in the task forces that focus on the economy. The remaining budgetary and economic issues will be reassigned.
This is a monumental move. The now defunct ALEC task force helped usher countless reactionary laws through state legislatures. Most prominent among these are “stand your ground” gun laws that came to the forefront in Florida after Trayvon Martin’s tragic death, and new voter ID laws that could suppress millions across the country, predominantly poor people and minorities.