The American Legislative Exchange Council announced Tuesday that it's "refocusing" on pushing business-friendly laws in states across the country instead of legislation like Florida's Stand Your Ground law or Arizona's illegal immigration law. In the last couple weeks, the group lost several major corporate members -- Coca-Cola, Mars Inc., Wendy's, McDonalds, the Gates Foundation -- following a boycott from progressive groups angry about the Florida law initially prevented George Zimmerman from being arrested for killing Trayvon Martin.
"Today we are redoubling our efforts on the economic front, a priority that has been the hallmark of our organization for decades," ALEC national chair David Frizzell said in a statement. "We are eliminating the ALEC Public Safety and Elections task force that dealt with non-economic issues, and reinvesting these resources in the task forces that focus on the economy. The remaining budgetary and economic issues will be reassigned."
Only last week, ALEC was defiant, issuing a statement on April 11 "on the Coordinated Intimidation Campaign Against Its Members." The statement read in part:
"Today, we find ourselves the focus of a well-funded, expertly coordinated intimidation campaign… At a time when job creation, real solutions and improved dialogue among political leaders is needed most, ALEC’s mission has never been more important. This is why we are redoubling our commitment to these essential priorities. We are not and will not be defined by ideological special interests who would like to eliminate discourse that leads to economic vitality, jobs and fiscal stability for the states."
That redoubling lasted six days, as it was followed by more companies pulling out. Many of those corporations explained their decision the way Coca-Cola did on April 4: "We have a longstanding policy of not taking positions on issues that don't have a direct bearing on our company or on our industry," it said in a statement.