Google Comes Partially to Its Senses, Drops ALEC

Why did it take over 230,000 petitions and emails to get Google to pull out of ALEC? I don’t know, but the company says it won’t renew its membership next year.

Rather than announcing the decision, the news came in response to a question posed to Chairman Eric Schmidt during an interview on National Public Radio. When a caller asked if Google still funds ALEC which supports climate deniers, he replied, "We funded them as part of a political campaign due to something unrelated, but the general consensus within the company is that it was some sort of mistake."

He went on to say, "The company has a very strong view that we should make decisions in politics based on facts – what a shock. And the facts of climate change are not in question anymore. Everyone understands climate change is occurring, and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people – they’re just literally lying."

Last year, Google released the first time-lapse images of our changing planet from space:

Google time lapse

Schmidt pointed specifically to ALEC’s model legislation which slaps surcharges on solar energy and targets state Renewable Portfolio Standards.  

He also said the huge flood of money into campaigns is "tilting the political systems to extremes."

"We hope Google will also take this opportunity review its over $699,000 in contributions since 2008 to another group that is "just literally lying"- climate change deniers in Congress," retorts Forecast the Facts, which led the drive for Google to cut ties with ALEC through its #DontFundEvil campaign.

"Now Google should leave the US Chamber of Commerce, since,
like ALEC, it is a large, influential, conservative group working to undermine serious efforts against climate change for the sake of corporate profits, says Sam Jewler, communications officer for Public Citizen. "The Chamber advocates for policies
that benefit some of the biggest dirty energy companies in the world, such as demanding increases in fossil-fuel extraction in projects like the Keystone XL pipeline. The Chamber has even called for putting "the science of climate change on trial. Like ALEC, it pushes for an expanded role for fossil fuels at the expense of investments in renewables and energy efficiency, and it’s a major vector for dark money." 

So, if Schmidt has a problem with corporate money tilting the sytem, why on earth does it financially support a who’s who list of right wingers? These climate obstructionists got support from Google starting last year:

Indeed, Google has joined the ranks of top corporate political spenders, second only to General Electric in 2012 and coming in fifth in 2013, reports the Washington Post. In 2004, it ranked 213th.

Last month, Microsoft dropped ALEC, joining 90-plus corporations that have dropped out since 2011.

How About Facebook & Yahoo?

After hearing about Google’s decision, Facebook says they may also drop ALEC. "While we have tried to work within ALEC to bring that organization closer to our view on some key issues, it seems unlikely that we will make sufficient progress so we are not likely to renew our membership in 2015," a spokesperson from Facebook told the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Yahoo plans to hang in, telling the Chronicle that they limit their engagement to the Communications and Technology Task Force. "At Yahoo, we engage in the political process in a variety of ways to promote and to protect the long-term interests of our users and our company. We may not agree with all the positions of an organization."

Read our articles, Why is Google Funding ALEC?
and Google Rises to the Top, Of Lobbyists That Is.

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