Wendy’s, the nation’s newly crowned second largest fast-food restaurant, announced that they too have declined to renew their membership in corporate front group ALEC for 2012. The company sent out a tweet last night from its official account, saying that their withdrawal from ALEC had been anticipated for several months. “We decided late 2011 and never renewed this year. It didn’t fit our business needs,” read the message.
Wendy’s joins a quickly growing list of large corporations and other institutions that pulled their support and funding from ALEC, a conservative organization that has helped draft controversial voter ID bills in dozens of states. Coca Cola, Pepsi Co, Intuit, Kraft, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wendy’s fellow fast-food giant McDonalds all previously announced that they would drop ALEC as well.
As Mother Jones reports, the news that Wendy’s is turning its back on a group like ALEC is surprising and significant, given the company’s history of political activism:
Wendy’s departure is arguably more significant than McDonald’s given Wendy’s past support for conservative and staunchly pro-industry causes. For instance, Wendy’s International has funded the Center for Consumer Freedom, a phony grassroots group that fights regulation of the food and beverage industries. And Wendy’s political action committee has given significantly more of its money in recent election cycles to Republican lawmakers than Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The recent wave of departures from ALEC’s member rolls is attributable at least in part to progressive advocacy group Color of Change, which has targeted companies that do business with ALEC for its efforts to expand voter suppression laws and “stand your ground” laws.
ALEC released a statement today attacking the “Coordinated Intimidation Campaign Against Its Members” that has led so many organizations to drop the increasingly toxic conservative advocacy group:
ALEC is an organization that supports pro-growth, pro-jobs policies and the vigorous exchange of ideas between the public and private sector to develop state based solutions. Today, we find ourselves the focus of a well-funded, expertly coordinated intimidation campaign.
Our members join ALEC because we connect state legislators with other state legislators and with job-creators in their states. They join because we support pro-business policies that promote innovation and spur local and national competitiveness. They’re ALEC members because they’re more interested in solutions than rhetoric. . . . At a time when job creation, real solutions and improved dialogue among political leaders is needed most, ALEC’s mission has never been more important. This is why we are redoubling our commitment to these essential priorities. We are not and will not be defined by ideological special interests who would like to eliminate discourse that leads to economic vitality, jobs and fiscal stability for the states.
It’s not at all clear what preventing poor, minority and elderly voters from casting a ballot has to do with “economic vitality, jobs and fiscal stability.” Nor does ALEC clarify how “stand your ground” laws “promote innovation and spur local and national competitiveness.”