ColorOfChange.org, which describes itself as a the largest African-American online civil rights organization, said it is pressuring companies such Coke to drop their ALEC support. At issue is support they say ALEC has given in crafting legislative language that would limit voter identification to driver's licensing and for helping to establish "Stand Your Ground" laws like the one used in the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, said ColorOfChange Executive director Rashad Robinson
ALEC officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.
ALEC is well known in state capitals, including Georgia’s Gold Dome. Georgia Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, is ALEC’s national treasurer and he and Rep. Calvin Hill, R-Woodstock, are ALEC’s Georgia’s co-chairmen. Efforts to reach Rogers were unsuccessful.
Since 2006, the group has contributed more than $9,000 to eight state lawmakers, all Republicans, according to campaign finance reports. In 2011, lobbyists spent more than $4,000 on meals and other gifts for Georgia lawmakers at ALEC conferences. Only one Democrat, Rep. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, is listed in disclosure reports as having attended.
But the group’s influence is perhaps greatest when it comes to legislation. ALEC produces “model” legislation that lawmakers around the country can access and introduce in their statehouses.
In Georgia, for example, lawmakers this year passed a bill that would allow certain businesses to declare workers as “independent contractors” or franchisees. Critics say it allows companies to strip workers of employee protections. ALEC has been touted as an ally to the bill's supporters.
Other Georgia bills with ALEC ties include one that put new restrictions on scrap-metal recycling as well as the major revamping of state criminal sentencing laws.