AT&T Drops ALEC for Hosting Hate Speech

David Armiak

David Armiak Researcher/Writer, Center for Media and Democracy

AT&T, the world’s largest telecom company with assets of $446 billion, is no longer a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

AT&T’s exit from the corporate bill mill follows Verizon’s decision to leave in mid-September, based on ALEC’s choice of hatemonger and anti-Muslim David Horowitz to headline a session at its annual meeting in New Orleans promoting the corporate lobby group’s radical plan to rewrite the U.S. Constitution.

Now AT&T is cutting ties for the same reason. “We have ended our membership with ALEC and their convention speaker was a key factor in the decision,” Jim Greer, AT&T’s spokesperson, said in a statement to The Intercept. The Intercept also reports that Dow Chemical and Honeywell have left ALEC.

The Center for Media and Democracy’s report of Horowitz’s bigoted remarks at the ALEC meeting inspired a coalition of 79 democracy reform, civil rights, and advocacy organizations to send a letter of protest to ALEC’s largest corporate backers, including AT&T, urging them to “make it clear that [they] will not stand for the sort of toxic, inflammatory claims ALEC has embraced” and depart ALEC.

AT&T has long held a seat on ALEC’s Private Enterprise Advisory Council, and was a regular high-level sponsor of its meetings.

The back-to-back departures suggest that telecom giants are concerned about the impact ALEC’s extremist policies and associations will have on their brand-sensitive customer base. Sprint left ALEC in 2012 after public uproar over ALEC’s promotion of controversial voter ID and “Stand Your Ground” legislation, and T-Mobile departed in 2015 amid a backlash against ALEC’s climate denial stance. That leaves Comcast, Charter Communications, CenturyLink, and Cox Communications as the last major telecom companies sticking with the corporate bill mill.

Comcast and Charter are Director Level sponsors, and CenturyLink a Trustee Level sponsor, of the 2018 States & Nation Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. this week.

“AT&T’s exit just further proves that ALEC is becoming too toxic for mainstream corporations to be affiliated with. Other telecom companies, like Charter and Comcast, must follow AT&T and Verizon’s lead and cut ties with ALEC,” said Jay Riestenberg, Deputy Communications Director at Common Cause.

More than 110 corporations and 19 nonprofits have severed their ties with ALEC in recent years. If ALEC continues to embrace extremists like Horowitz, it will likely see more companies head for the exits.


Reposted from Exposed

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Steel for Wind Power

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

Siemens Gamesa last month laid off 130 workers at its turbine blade manufacturing plant in Iowa, just months after GE Renewable Energy decided to close an Arkansas factory and eliminate 470 jobs.

The companies reported shrinking demand for their products, even though U.S. consumption of wind energy increases every year.

America’s prosperity depends not only on harnessing this crucial energy source but also ensuring that highly skilled U.S. workers build the components with the cleanest technology available.

Right now, the nation relies on imported steel and turbine components from foreign manufacturers like China while America’s own steel industry—well equipped for this production—struggles because of dumping and other unfair trade practices.

Steel makes up the bulk of turbine hubs and the wind towers themselves. It’s also used to make the cranes and platforms necessary for installing the towers.

Yet the potential boon to America’s steel industry is just one reason to ramp up domestic production of wind energy infrastructure.

American steel production ranks among the cleanest in the world, while China has the highest carbon emissions of any steelmaking nation and flouts environmental regulations.

The nation’s highly-skilled steelmaking workforce must play an essential role in the deeply-needed revitalization and modernization of the nation’s failing infrastructure. Producing the components for harnessing wind energy domestically and cleanly is an important step that will put Americans to work and position the United States to be world leaders in this growing industry.


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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work