Coke responds to ALEC boycott. Will Walmart follow?
Posted on April 11, 2012 by
Walmart continues to be criticized for the company’s membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative policy group funded by dozens of major corporations. The group, which has mostly flown beneath the radar, has been attracting an increasing amount of negative attention. In particular, ALEC has been under scrutiny for the organization’s role in pushing two hot button issues related to voting rights and gun control.
First, ALEC has been aggressively pushing legislation that would require voters to present photo identification at the polls. The stated purpose of the law is to prevent voter fraud, but critics say that it will unfairly target seniors, low-income individuals, students, and people of color. As a result, several civil rights groups are calling for a boycott of companies that support ALEC.
Second, ALEC has been a long-time supporter of so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws, which allow the use of deadly force if an individual feels threatened. The Florida version of the legislation is a major issue in the Trayvon Martin case, since his alleged shooter may be able to avoid prosecution because of the law.
It appears that the pressure is having an impact. Last week, several companies announced that they would be withdrawing from ALEC—including some very high profile brands:
On Wednesday, Coke announced they would no longer renew their membership in ALEC, the more conservative leaning legislative group.
“The Coca-Cola Company has elected to discontinue its membership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC),” company spokeswoman Diana Garaz Ciariante said in a written statement. “Our involvement with ALEC was focused on efforts to oppose discriminatory food and beverage taxes, not on issues that have no direct bearing on our business.”
Will Walmart follow suit? That’s the question many are asking, including civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson who recently called out Walmart on national television. Stay tuned.