Microsoft Quits “Stand Your Ground” Lobbying Group ALEC

I retweeted this out yesterday—that Microsoft has severed ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—but was surprised to see that the story wasn’t picked up by our local media:

Microsoft announced Tuesday that it’s cutting ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative public-policy lobbying group. It appears this decision was made due to ALEC’s lobbing efforts to block the development of renewable energy.

Microsoft had previously been a member of ALEC’s Communications and Technology Task Force. In a statement, the company said it has halted all participation in this group.

“In 2014 Microsoft decided to no longer participate in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Communications and Technology Task Force, which had been our only previous involvement with ALEC,” the company said. “With this decision, we no longer contribute any dues to ALEC…we are no longer members of ALEC and do not provide the organization with financial support of any kind.”

Microsoft’s decision comes on the heels of other major corporations dropping membership with ALEC, including Coca-Cola, General Motors, Bank of America, and Proctor & Gamble. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates stopped financially supporting ALEC in 2012.

Weird. Microsoft farts, and it tends to garner front page headlines around here, but local media crickets. Yet this is actually pretty big news.

ALEC is the corporate-backed  lobbying group behind such far-right-wing public policy gems as Stand Your Ground, Voter ID, and the ironically-named Freedom Foundation’s recent round of union-busting local initiatives. So it should’ve been a bit of a scandal here in progressive Microsoft country that the company was ever involved in ALEC at all. Amazon quit ALEC two years ago in the midst of shareholder protests. So you’d think Microsoft quitting ALEC would be a local news story too. Huh.

In any case, good on Microsoft for finally leaving the Koch-suckers at ALEC behind. And boo on our local media for largely ignoring the story.


  1. 2

    Theophrastus spews:

    yep… at least every “tech reporter” locally ought to have covered this story, but unaccountably had that notion ‘spiked’. curious how that happens, isn’t it?

    When ALEC started out (good-grief in the 1970s!) it was all about promoting fiscal conservatism, (that is, promoting wealth accumulation). The usual: union busting, (microsoft needs more H-1 visas!) weakening patent laws, destroying government regulations, widening tax loopholes… and it was good, and all the local industry leaders loved it. Then, something shifted, (one of the Koch brothers had a stroke or something). ALEC pivoted to more social issues, more hobby-lobby, more stand-your-ground, and a bit less fulminating over the national debt. That’s when the heads of large corporations, which, really don’t see the profit in such icky morality tales started to peel away. More slow to change than smart(?), microsoft, was among the last to give up on them.

  2. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    It’s about time. ALEC is a special interest group, nothing more. Any business with a broad customer base should not associate with them simply as a matter of good business because they alienate a significant number of their customers when they do. You expect an oil company to belong to an anti-climate-change group, but you do not expect a grocery store or dentist’s office to do so, and I would shop and get my teeth fixed elsewhere if they did.

  3. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 “microsoft, was among the last to give up on them”

    I wonder how much that correlates with the departure from Microsoft of the L.A. Clippers’ new owner? He looks the part of a rightwing thug.