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ALEC Dropped by Reed Elsevier, Joins McDonald's and Pepsi in Mass Exodus

Reed Elsevier joins a mass corporate exodus from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), bringing the total number of corporations that have cut ties with the controversial organization to ten. Reed Elsevier is the parent company of Elsevier, which is one of the largest academic publishing companies in the world. It publishes about 2,000 academic journals and other information-related services, including Lexis Nexis and several scientific journals.

Reuters reported that Reed Elsevier announced on Thursday that it resigned its board seat and dropped its membership with ALEC.

"We made the decision after considering the broad range of criticism being leveled at ALEC," a Reed Elsevier spokesman announced.

ALEC has come under increased scrutiny over the past year in response to the Center for Media and Democracy’s ALEC Exposed Project, which revealed and analyzed more than 800 “model” bills voted on by corporate lobbyists and politicians. ALEC’s extreme agenda includes numerous NRA gun bills, bills to privatize public schools, prisons, and public assets, legislation to make it harder for American citizens to vote, bills to repeal rights of workers, and legislation to make it harder for juries to punish corporations for dangerous products that kill Americans, among other changes to U.S. laws.

CMD publicized ALEC's corporate leaders and funders last July, and numerous public interest organizations have helped shine a light on ALEC's operations -- which allow corporate lobbyists an equal vote with elected officials on legislative templates at closed-door ALEC task force meetings -- including Common CausePeople for the American WayProgress Now, and other groups and bloggers. This latest announcement follows increased scrutiny of ALEC in the aftermath of the NRA law used to try to excuse the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, a bill the NRA's lobbyist successfully urged ALEC's crime task force to promote as a national model for other states. Over a week ago, the civil rights group Color of Change -- joined by several public interest groups -- urged the public to start calling ALEC corporate funders, starting with Coca Cola. (CMD had begun featuring Coca Cola's role in funding ALEC's agenda when ALECexposed.org launched.) Color of Change has also been highlighting how corporate donations to ALEC were funding voter suppression.

Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft Foods, Intuit, McDonald's, Wendy's, Mars, the Arizona Public Service Company have also severed ties with ALEC. The Arizona Capital Times reported that another company, American Traffic Solutions, which promotes red light cameras, told the press Friday it would not renew its membership, after reviewing "how best to allocate" its resources. 

Reed Elsevier was one of 23 corporate representatives that sat on ALEC’s national Private Enterprise Board as of at least July 2011, when ALECexposed.org was launched. As noted by CMD's SourceWatch resource, its registered lobbyist Teresa Jennings represented the company on this board. Reed Elsevier had also been listed on ALEC's "Public Safety and Elections" Task Force.

As the New Jersey Star-Ledger recently documented -- in "Some of Christie's biggest bills match model legislation from D.C. group called ALEC" -- the controversial group's agenda includes getting states, like New Jersey, to pull out of regional agreements on addressing climate change. The Star-Ledger's editorial board recently expressed deep concerns about the invisible influence for corporate lobbyists that ALEC provides in a comment titled, "It may have found a loophole, but American Legislative Exchange Council is no charity."

ALEC's template bills on the environment include other bills to thwart measures to address climate change, as documented on ALEC exposed. At its annual convention last year, as CMD's PRWatch reported, ALEC even held a session for lawmakers and lobbyists titled, "Warming Up to Climate Change: The Many Benefits of Increased Atmospheric CO2," a workshop that included the spurious claim that more carbon dioxide increases human lifespans.

Elsevier has published numerous scientific journal articles that have reported on the causes and adverse consequences of climate changes underway.

This piece originally appeared on PR Watch.

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