Progressives using Jesse Jackson shakedown tactics to outsmart ALEC
By Rachel Alexander
The left's latest target du jour is ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for state legislators. It promotes limited government, free markets and federalism. ALEC provides model legislation for legislators to copy for their states. More than 2000 Republican and Democrat legislators are members. Almost one thousand of ALEC's bills are introduced every year and 20% become law. ALEC has been around for 40 years, but operated under the radar until conservatives started making record gains in state legislatures.
Funded by left wing billionaire George Soros, the left started an intimidation campaign against ALEC nine months ago, launching an "ALEC Exposed" website that lists 800 bills the organization has promoted. Obama's former controversial green czar Van Jones, who co-founded the race-baiting organization Color of Change, is spearheading the shakedowns. Other progressive organizations involved include George Soros's Common Cause, People for the American Way and Progress Now. The Occupy movement has made ALEC one of its top targets. Last fall, the left organized disruptive protests in Scottsdale, Arizona outside of ALEC's annual meeting.
Color of Change recently began a shakedown campaign against corporations that are members of ALEC, meeting face to face with them to intimidate them. Color of Change used race-baiting to convince Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Wendy's, PepsiCo, Mars, Intuit and Kraft to withdraw their membership over ALEC's support for "stand your ground" gun legislation. Blue Cross Blue Shield will not be renewing its membership. The Gates Foundation said it will cease contributing to ALEC. Color of Change's next targets are Walmart, State Farm, AT&T and Johnson & Johnson. The left is also targeting state legislators, inundating them with threatening emails demanding they resign their membership.
The "stand your ground" law allows someone to attack a perceived assailant if they believe they are in imminent danger. 24 states have adopted it. Florida's version of that legislation initially provided protection from prosecution for George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting case. Even though the case has not yet been adjudicated in a court of law, and the evidence appears to exonerate Zimmerman, the left is exploiting the Trayvon Martin shooting case with race-baiting to drum up negative publicity against ALEC and other associated organizations on the right like the NRA. Color of Change has Martin's photo featured prominently at the top of its website.
How is "stand your ground" legislation, also known as "shoot first" legislation, racist? Democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan and former Democrat Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona both signed "stand your ground" legislation.
ALEC responded and clarified that it had not drafted Florida's legislation, but merely copied it for its model legislation. If the left can convince enough corporations to withdraw their memberships, it could cripple ALEC. Over 98% of ALEC's budget comes from corporations, not membership dues. ALEC has over 300 corporate members.
The left is also attacking ALEC's support of voter ID legislation, claiming that these laws are racist. Liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote, "ALEC has played a key role in promoting bills that make it hard for the poor and ethnic minorities to vote." The left chooses to ignore that the opposite is true. Earlier this month, a young white male, directed by video journalist James O'Keefe, asked for and was offered Attorney General Eric Holder's ballot at a polling place without showing any identification. Even the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that voter identification requirements are constitutional. Other ALEC-supported legislation which the left is attacking include school vouchers, border security, unions, private prisons and stopping Agenda 21.
The left demands that the Koch Brothers, conservative financial backers who support ALEC, resign from the organization. The Koch Brothers refuse to leave, saying that the left intends "not only to intimidate, but to silence supporters of free-market principles." ALEC calls it a "campaign launched by a coalition of extreme liberal activists committed to silencing anyone who disagrees with their agenda."
The left is attempting to force the Koch Brothers to resign through a boycott of their products. Of course, those on the right will start their own "buycott" and urge Americans to go out of their way to buy their products; paper towels, napkins, plates and cups by Brawny, Dixie, Sparkle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair and Zee, and toilet paper by Angel Soft, Quilted Northern and Soft'n'Gentle.
ALEC finally retreated last week under pressure, and shut down its public safety and elections task forces in charge of gun and voting rights legislation. ALEC announced it would no longer be involved in socially conservative legislation, but would be sticking to economic issues. This is unfair because many of these corporations are members of ALEC for other kinds of legislative assistance. Now they will no longer receive help with legislation in their interests.
This is nothing less than legalized extortion. The left is using threats and the race card to stamp out conservative activism. Instead of fighting it out fairly in the battlefield of ideas, the left is blackmailing corporations into making irrational decisions they do not want to make, which are detrimental to their interests. Corporations are being threatened that they will be boycotted and branded as racist if they do not withdraw from ALEC. This is a repeat of the tactics Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have successfully used in the past to coerce corporations into contributing money to radical left wing causes and hiring their cronies.
It is no coincidence that this is occurring during Obama's reelection year. It is part of an overall strategy by the left to stir up the race card in order to gin up support for Obama's reelection. The left knows they cannot win fairly, so they are resorting to false accusations of racism to force a victory. They have taken one isolated shooting incident that most likely did not involve racism, and turned it into the reason why a perfectly harmless nonprofit organization must be destroyed, and why Obama should win reelection.
Rachel Alexander and her brother Andrew are co-Editors of Intellectual Conservative. Rachel practices law and social media political consulting in Phoenix, Arizona. She has been published in the American Spectator, Townhall.com, Fox News, NewsMax, Accuracy in Media, The Americano, ParcBench, and other publications.