- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Coca-Cola ends ties to conservative law writers
Question of the Day
WASHINGTON (AP) — Coca-Cola Co. has terminated its relationship with a conservative group seen by some as an incubator for a string of new state voter ID laws and a marketer of laws such as Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense statute.
The Atlanta-based soft-drink maker said its focus with the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, was on combating “discriminatory” food and beverage taxes, not on issues “that have no direct bearing” on its business.
Coca-Cola declined to respond to additional questions, including whether it had already paid membership for the year.
ALEC brings together state and federal lawmakers, who pay $100 for a two-year membership, and corporations, which pay between $2,500 and $25,000 for an annual membership. The legislators and corporate representatives draft templates of legislation that can be used by lawmakers and lobbyists as models for state or federal legislation.
Koch Industries — whose top executives, Charles and David Koch, are prominent supporters of conservative causes — is one of the largest corporations supporting Washington-based ALEC.
Ms. Buss previously has said the group did not put a lot of effort or resources into promoting voter identification legislation. She also has said ALEC had no involvement in the “Stand Your Ground” law when Florida enacted it. She has criticized people who turned the “tragedy” of teenager Trayvon Martin’s death into politics.
Several states have passed laws requiring voters to show specific ID, toughening voter registration or reducing early voting days. The voting laws have been seen by civil rights and other groups, as well as many Democrats, as an attempt to suppress the votes of blacks, Latinos, the elderly and students.
The Justice Department has blocked voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina after finding they violated the Voting Rights Act. The Florida “Stand Your Ground” statute is under scrutiny following the fatal shooting of Martin. The shooter, George Zimmerman, has said he fired in self-defense and has not been arrested or charged.
Rashad Robinson, ColorofChange executive director, estimated that 300 to 400 calls and emails were made in the few hours of the Coca-Cola campaign, based on written reports from participants. In a statement, Mr. Robinson thanked Coca-Cola for its decision.
“Our message has been clear: These corporations can’t come to black folks for our money by day and support laws that try to take our vote or potentially our lives by night,” Mr. Rashad told the Associated Press on Thursday.
In December, ColorofChange began targeting corporations that financially support ALEC as a campaign against the passage of voter ID laws. The group also started an online petition regarding the Martin youth’s death.
Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo, which ColorofChange asked in letters and emails to end its ALEC membership, said in a Jan. 25 letter to Mr. Robinson that its membership had expired. PepsiCo said it reviews its membership organizations each year and would keep the concerns raised by ColorofChange in mind.
Other corporations also have been asked to end their memberships.
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Allowing states to innovate could reduce dependency on bureaucracy
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
- D.C. plans to seek stay of order striking down ban on handguns in public
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq