With Yahoo becoming the latest company to cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council in a matter of days, it's official: ALEC has lost favor with tech giants. ALEC is the right-wing organization that writes model legislation on everything from unions to regulations and tries to push it at the state level. Its tally of losses now includes Microsoft, which quit in August, Google, Yelp, and possibly Facebook.
Google, the only company to explain its reasoning for quitting, attributed it to the conservative state network's position on the climate. "Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place," CEO Eric Schmidt told the Diane Rehm Show. "And so we should not be aligned with such people -- they're just, they're just literally lying."
ALEC has been shedding donors for a while now. Before, the issue was guns. Following the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012, and the ensuing controversy, the organization's part in advancing pro-gun Stand Your Ground laws lost it Amazon, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Kraft, McDonald's, and Walmart.
But it's important that climate change denial is now the controversy to drive donors away. While ALEC's role in climate change policy is not new, it’s gotten more publicity lately. In late August, Mike De Souza reported that ALEC hosted a meeting sponsored by energy companies Chevron, Devon, ExxonMobil and TransCanada, where they discussed how to best cast doubt on climate science, nix energy regulations, and discourage the expansion of renewable energy in states.
And there’s been more pressure on the tech companies to do something. Investors from the Walden Asset Management—an investment firm that promotes social responsibility and has put up some $3 billion in investments that include Google, Facebook, and Yahoo—requested companies reassess their involvement because of ALEC's "climate change policies and efforts to weaken state renewable energy standards with the Heartland Institute." In addition, climate change is a bigger activist issue than ever before. The biggest climate march in history happened this weekend, kicking off a week where top corporations have announced partnerships with the federal government in cutting greenhouse gasses and investing in clean energy. Meaning, their ALEC hypocrisy stands out quite a bit more today than it did a few months ago.
But, hey—at least ALEC should have no problem retaining ExxonMobil's generosity.
OBAMACARE A new HHS study suggests that hospitals will save about $5.7 billion this year. The reason? Less charity care, since fewer people are showing up without health insurance. (Kaiser Health News, Wonkblog)
GUN VIOLENCE Mass shootings are on the rise, according to a new study from the FBI—an average of 16.4 "active-shooter" incidents a year between 2006 and 2013, compared to an average of 6.4 a year between 2000 and 2006. (Wall Street Journal)
NFL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: ESPN suspended Bill Simmons, editor-in-chief of Grantland, for three weeks because of his comments on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Simmons called Goodell a liar for statements the commissioner made about the Ray Rice saga. Simmons also challenged ESPN to suspend him in his profanity-filled podcast, and the network obliged. Danny Vinik has the full story—and brings the outrage. (QED)
TAXES: Neil Irwin explains how the rich can easily turn a dinner with old college friends into a business-related expenditure for tax purposes. And the IRS can't do much about it. (The Upshot)
What we're reading
Reproductive rights are creating a rift on the right: Some Republicans are trying to defuse the issue, by offering to make birth control pills available without a prescription. But, Sophie Novack reports, that idea has some religious conservatives fuming. (National Journal)
Department of depressing polls: Everyone—across different age groups, education levels and political ideology—have less faith in the American Dream now than they did just two years ago. (Christopher Ingraham, Wonkblog)
What a surprise: The Affordable Care Act has had a lot of success recently, but if you get all your news from conservative media, you probably don't know that. (Ezra Klein, Vox)
What we're watching
We'll wait and see if any other companies decide to ditch ALEC. And just where NFL's problems with violence will take the controversy next.