Corporate Members Fleeing Heartland, ALEC

June 1 Update: Walmart and medical device firm Medtronic have dumped ALEC, bringing the total to 19 companies and 54 state legislators.

Walmart says:

"Previously, we expressed our concerns about ALEC’s decision to weigh in on issues that stray from its core mission ‘to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets,’" Maggie Sans, Wal-Mart vice president of public affairs and government relations, said in a May 30 letter addressed to ALEC’s national chairman and executive director.

"We feel the divide between these activities and our purpose as a business has become too wide. To that end, we are suspending our membership in ALEC."

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That Heartland Institute bomb, the billboard that compares people who accept the science of climate change with Charles Manson, Osama bin Laden and the Unibomber, is having a lethal effect on the right-wing group.

At its annual Climate "Reality" conference last week, Heartland President Joseph Bast announced it would be their last because of lack of funds.

Thanks to a public outcry that spread virally on the Web, the billboard has cost the group more than $1 million worth of members – about half its budget. 19 member companies have fled including Pepsico, GM, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Verizon, State Farm, Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, the Credit Union National Association. The latest is auto parts recycler LKQ, which was expected to contribute $150,000 this year.

Many of Heartland’s members aren’t engaged in Heartland’s climate denial agenda, which also includes classroom curriculum  – we’re not sure what they get from the arrangement.

Heartland plans to reach out to the coal and natural gas fracking industry to make up their losses.

Heartland’s annual "International Conference on Climate Change" which began in 2008, brought people together who believe acting on climate change is a conspiracy meant to create a one-world government dominated by the United Nations. Only 300 people showed up this year.

At the conference, Congressman Sensenbrenner (R-WI) talked about how much they’ve achieved. "Things are a lot better now than they were three years ago," he said, referring to the "dead" cap-and-trade bill and the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol.

In related news, Heartland’s sister organization, ALEC, has lost 3 more corporate members since our last update, bringing the total to 16. Amazon.com is #16. Over 500,000 people signed a petition for Amazon to leave – it was delivered at its annual shareholder meeting in Seattle.

Attacks on science and scientists by Heartland and ALEC (both backed by the Koch Bros and big oil) are behind the poisoned debate over climate change policy. While Heartland stokes the attitude of climate denial,  ALEC writes and pushes the laws to turn back the clock.

ALEC is currently working on dismantling state Renewable Portfolio Standards, pressuring the EPA to designate palm oil as a renewable fuelpushing for loopholes in disclosure of natural gas fracking chemicals, and killing regional climate cap-and-trade pacts, along with eliminating clean air and water regulations.

And ALEC is behind the voter suppression laws sweeping the country – did you hear about Florida yesterday? And the governor recall coming up in Wisconsin is all about ALEC’s agenda.

Read about Florida: 

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