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Microsoft cuts ties with climate change denier legislation group ALEC

Microsoft headquarters in Redmond
Microsoft headquarters in Redmond
Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

A group called ALEC has been quietly operating under the radar since 1973 and has been responsible for recruited companies, lawmakers and conservative nonprofit organizations to fund anti-government agendas like regulations to curb carbon emissions and renewable energy, while promoting “limited government, free markets and federalism at the state level.”

Ultimately, ALEC’s ascension has been marred by increasingly unpopular moves to suppress votes, privatize education, ax unions, gut Social Security and more recently, the promotion of laws to thwart climate change regulation.

ALEC brings together policy makers beholden to the fossil fuel industry with corporations that would not benefit from climate change policies. The organization has led the charge against renewable energy in recent years.

“Across the country we have seen efforts by ALEC to take over our statehouses and put profits over people, and now it’s time that the people stood up and fought back,” said Arshad Hasan, executive director of Progress Now.

This week Microsoft became the latest of over 80 members to drop funding for the organization.

In a statement published by Common Cause, Microsoft said:

In 2014, Microsoft decided to no longer participate in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Communications and Technology Task Force, which had been our only previous involvement with ALEC. With this decision, we no longer contribute any dues to ALEC … we are no longer members of ALEC and do not provide the organization with financial support of any kind.

Previous members that have fled the group according to an EcoWatch report include Coca Cola, PepsiCo, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Kraft Foods, General Electric, Wells Fargo, Procter & Gamble, Sprint, General Motors, Walgreens, Best Buy, Hewlett-Packard, MillerCoors, Amazon.com and WalMart, to name a few.

Nonetheless, Google, with its infamous motto “Don’t Be Evil” is still a member of ALEC and under constant pressure by environmental groups to drop out.

Critics say the slogan should be more like, "don't be evil yourself, but it’s okay to give money to help others do evil,” and that ALEC’s motto should be something like, “do as much evil as you can get away with.”

Google isn’t the only company getting pressed to drop out of ALEC as Yahoo, eBay and Facebook, are still participating members.

Microsoft is taking steps to stop talking out of both sides of its corporate face, but it still belongs to energy and climate policy attacking groups like the US Chamber of Congress, CEI and State Policy Network.