No Gates for ALEC: who’s next to jump off the crony capitalism ship?

Apparently the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave more money to ALEC than Pepsi, Coke, Kraft, and Intuit combined, but no more. Who’s next?

Jessica Pieklo wrote yesterday for care2, Bill And Melinda Gates Dump ALEC,

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation became the latest high profile backer of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council to withdraw financial support after pressure from groups opposed to ALEC’s support of “stand your ground” laws and Voter ID.

And private prisons, such as the one CCA wanted to build in Lowndes County, and “anti-immigrant” bills that creat many new crimes to fill those private prisons. And charter schools, such as the referendum for charter school tax credits on the ballot in Georgia in November. Some of our local “white fathers” pushed school consolidation a few months ago and charter schools are yet another attack on public education, backed by ALEC.

Roll Call reports that a foundation spokesperson said it does not plan to make any future grants to the organization. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation contributed more than $375,000 to ALEC in the past two years.

Meanwhile, according to ALEC Watch:

ALEC’s more than three hundred corporate sponsors pay annual membership dues ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to advance their agendas, plus additional fees of $1,500 to $5,000 a year to participate in ALEC’s various task forces, where, according to an ALEC publication, “legislators welcome their private-sector counterparts to the table as equals.”

That’s the very model of a bad public-private partnership and crony capitalism. (More detail by ALEC Exposed.)

So what excuse does the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have? Jessica Pieklo’s article says:

“We have made a single grant, narrowly and specifically focused on providing information to ALEC-affiliated state legislators on teacher effectiveness and school finance,” said Chris Williams, the spokesman, noting that the foundation was never a dues-paying member. The foundation advocates for global health initiatives and efforts to reduce poverty.

Oh, they weren’t a dues-paying member! They merely contributed more than all four ex-dues-paying corporations put together! Well, that’s all right then!

Who’s next?

AT&T is the latest target. Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson said the group is using Internet appeals to pressure companies that have made explicit efforts to build a strong relationship with African-American customers. “Our goal is to ensure that these companies can’t have it both ways,” he said. “AT&T touts its support of civil rights groups and unions, which ALEC works to weaken.”

Plus we’ve already got a couple of fence-sitters!

Bartholomew Sullivan wrote today for the Commercial Appeal of Memphis, Tennessee, IP weighs membership in ALEC,

“We are a member of ALEC, but we are members for business issues of importance for International Paper, not all policy issues that their members deal with,” said its spokesman, Thomas J. Ryan on Monday. “We review all of our memberships on an annual basis and will continue to do so.”

The response followed a similar statement from Memphis-based FedEx last week.

“Like any global business, FedEx participates in a range of civic and political engagement groups that represent or could impact our customers’ business interests,” said spokesman Maury Donahue. “We cannot speculate on our future relationships, but we regularly review our membership in all of these organizations.”

Don’t just sit on the fence, IP and FedEx, jump, jump!

And how about UPS, based in Atlanta? If Coke can do it, UPS can!