BREAKING: Coke and Pepsi Sever Ties With Right-Wing ALEC, Which Pushes Voter Suppression Efforts
Two of the world’s largest beverage companies—Coca-Cola and PepsiCo—have both pulled from their membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that pushes voter suppression efforts and other cookie-cutter bills into state lawmakers’ hands.
Coca-Cola dropped its support from ALEC just hours after advocacy group Color of Change launched a campaign asking major companies like Coke and Wal-Mart to sever ties with the group. In addition to pushing voter suppression efforts to state lawmakers, ALEC has helped advance other right-wing legislation including “Stand Your Ground” laws. Such a law in Florida has helped George Zimmerman, who fatally shot Trayvon Martin in February, from being arrested.
“We have a longstanding policy of not taking positions on issues that don't have a direct bearing on our company or on our industry,” Coca-Cola Co. spokeswoman Diana Garza Ciarlante told NPR after leaving the group on Monday.
NPR reports that Color of Change is working to target other large companies:
It's part of a much broader campaign to spotlight companies that sell products to a public that might object to hard-line conservative policies such as stand your ground laws or requirements that voters show a photo ID at the polls.
Some civil rights groups say voter ID laws are discriminatory and suppress minority voter turnout.
“The clear and simple message was that you can't come for black folks' money by day and try to take away our vote by night,” said Rashad Robinson, director of ColorOfChange.
The news comes on the heels of a new report by Campus Progress—produced with our parent organization Center for American Progress and Legal Progress—that highlight’s ALEC’s role in advancing Voter ID laws and other suppression efforts around the country. Read our report here. Last year, a Campus Progress investigation revealed ALEC's involvement in Voter ID legislation.
Brian Stewart is the communications manager at Campus Progress.
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