Google is one smart alec: Company severs ties with ALEC and calls funding ...


With the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) hugely unpopular advocacies already making their way to the public, more and more companies consider it high time to sever ties with the conservative organization, with Google being the latest company to break off its association with ALEC.


In an interview with NPR's Diane Rehm, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt cited ALEC's denial of climate change as the reason why Google will no longer renew its partnership with ALEC and will no longer provide the funding the organization needs to lobby for its interests at the White House. He also admits that the consensus at Google is that joining up with ALEC was 'some sort of mistake' in the first place and accuses ALEC of 'literally lying' about the state of the environment.


'The facts of climate change are not in question anymore,' says Schmidt. '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. And so we should not be aligned with such people -- they're just literally lying.'


This comes after Microsoft dropped support for ALEC in August, saying that the organization's stance on climate change 'conflicted directly with Microsoft's values.' Earlier this month, advocacy groups penned an open letter to Google, urging the search company to end its affiliation with ALEC, which is also pushing laws against net neutrality and the construction of community broadband networks by local municipalities. Other multi-billion dollar companies bowing out of the partnership include General Motors, Hewlett-Packard and Best Buy.


With many of its deep-pocketed backers giving up their links to ALEC, the organization will be hard-pressed to look elsewhere for funding its initiatives, which mostly include drafting model legislation that can be used by state assemblymen to pass into law. ALEC has been known to have written state laws that prevent business incentives for using renewable energy and deregulate coal-powered plants. It is also known as a staunch supporter of the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and has pushed for new laws that require schools to teach climate change denial.


ALEC, which calls itself an organization for 'limited government, free markets, federalism and individual liberty,' also opposed individual health insurance and insurance coverage for birth control, called for the repeal of state taxes for the wealthy and appealed for tax cuts for tobacco companies.


It's unclear why Google joined ALEC in the first place and how much Google has raised in funding for ALEC's causes. Schmidt says, 'We funded them as part of a political campaign for something unrelated,' but did not specify what the campaign was for.


'It is unfortunate to learn Google has ended its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council as a result of public pressure from left-leaning individuals and organizations who intentionally confuse free market policy perspectives for climate change denial,' says Lisa B. Nelson, ALEC CEO. 'ALEC believes in freedom of speech and opinion. Google is an important voice on these and many other issues, and we will miss their perspective in our discussions.'


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