AOL is joining a veritable hit parade of major companies to abandon the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
The news, first reported by National Journal, comes "a number of weeks" after AOL decided to cut ties with the conservative non-profit, which convenes state legislators and corporations to craft model legislation on issues like curbing collective bargaining rights, opposing action to combat climate change, and undermining health care reform. ALEC also helped design voter suppression initiatives and “stand your ground” laws, only abandoning support for such policies amid mass protests.
In September, Google chairman Eric Schmidt announced that his company would discontinue its membership in ALEC, accusing the group of "literally lying" about climate change. Yahoo and Yelp jumped ship in the weeks that followed. Companies like Coca-Cola, General Motors, Bank of America, and Proctor & Gamble have also severed ties with the group in the face of pressure campaigns, while Facebook says it's "not likely" to renew its membership.
For progressive activists opposed to ALEC's agenda, the group serves as a "secondary target"-- groups or individuals that somehow support activists' main target (in this case, conservative politicians and policies). And as the growing number of companies leaving ALEC attests, secondary targets are soft targets.