Sometimes, some days, I get to be proud of the company that pays my checks. Today is one of those days, as AOL joins the ranks of the sane and dropped its support for the American Legislative Exchange Council, an industry lobbying group that has been the subject of much scorn these days. (Although that good-will is leavened by a healthy dose of WTF.)
Last week, ALEC received a full-helping of mockery and derision from our good pal, John Oliver.
The organization has already been made persona non grata at tech firms ranging from Microsoft to Google. In September, Eric Schmidt, Google’s Chairman, took to the radio waves to say that ALEC was ‘literally lying’ about climate change and that his company’s funding for the group was a mistake.
Since then, Facebook, Yelp, Yahoo, News Corp. (no friend to liberal causes), Overstock.com and SAP have all agreed to drop the organization.
The move by AOL is being hailed as a victory for the online organizing group, Common Cause, which managed to sign up 21,000 petitioners to get AOL to drop the lobbying group.
In true AOL fashion, the company was on ALEC’s communications and technology task force and tax and fiscal policy task force. Over that period, while AOL advocated for Open Internet protections, the group it was financing was battling the same initiatives.
ALEC was founded in the 1970s to link corporate executives and lobbyists with local lawmakers, bypassing the federal government to influence policy more directly at the state level.