General Electric, Sprint Nextel Latest Companies to Leave ALEC

The corporate exodus from the American Legislative Exchange Council continues.

The latest companies to withdraw from the public policy organization include General Electric Co., Sprint Nextel Corp., and Western Union Co., according to ColorofChange.org, a New York-based civil rights organization that has been pressuring corporations to end their membership.

ALEC has come under fire for championing voter identification laws, which studies have shown disproportionately affect minority voters, and “Stand Your Ground” laws that gained public notoriety after a killing in Florida. A state version of the law was cited by authorities in Sanford, Florida, when they didn’t initially arrest George Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense in the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin in February. Zimmerman later was charged with second-degree murder and pleaded not guilty.

The corporate exodus has continued even after Washington-based ALEC dropped the task force that drafted the voter-ID and “Stand Your Ground” laws and announced it would focus exclusively on economic issues. More than two dozen other companies previously said they were stopping their support of ALEC, including the Coca-Cola Co., General Motors Inc. and McDonald’s Corp. ALEC charges corporate dues of up to $25,000 a year, which allows company representatives to help draft bills that lawmakers then try to enact in their home states.

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