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.

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Reposted from Exposed

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

America’s Wealthy: Ever Eager to Pay Their Taxes!

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Why do many of the wealthiest people in America oppose a “wealth tax,” an annual levy on grand fortune? Could their distaste reflect a simple reluctance to pay their fair tax share? Oh no, JPMorganChase CEO Jamie Dimon recently told the Business Roundtable: “I know a lot of wealthy people who would be happy to pay more in taxes; they just think it’ll be wasted and be given to interest groups and stuff like that.” Could Dimon have in mind the interest group he knows best, Wall Street? In the 2008 financial crisis, federal bailouts kept the banking industry from imploding. JPMorgan alone, notes the ProPublica Bailout Tracker, collected $25 billion worth of federal largesse, an act of generosity that’s helped Dimon lock down a $1.5-billion personal fortune. Under the Elizabeth Warren wealth tax plan, Dimon would pay an annual 3 percent tax on that much net worth. Fortunes between $1 billion and $2.5 billion would face a 5 percent annual tax under the Bernie Sanders plan.

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No Such Thing as Good Greed

No Such Thing as Good Greed