Yum! Brands, the owner of Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell has yielded to the ColorofChange boycott and left ALEC.
ColorOfChange.org Executive Director Rashad Robinson said in a statement, “This week, ColorOfChange members have been calling executives at Yum! Brands to ask the company to end its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Today, employees in Yum! Brands’ corporate headquarters have told our members and ColorOfChange staff that the company has in fact dropped ALEC. In doing so, the operator of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell has restored our belief that it stands in favor of crafting legislation in view of the public, rather than behind closed doors.”
Yum! Brands joins an ever growing list of corporate partners who have decided that supporting or being involved with ALEC is bad for business. Twelve companies have now abandoned. Yum! joins a list that includes, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Mars Inc., Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Intuit, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Reed Elsevier (owner of LexisNexis), American Traffic Solutions and Arizona Public Service.
There are some supporters and members of ALEC who have dared the American people to boycott them. ALEC has also mounted an aggressive push back campaign through right wing media to try to regain the public relations advantage. (The biggest tell-tale sign of this effort has been the segments on Fox News recently devoted to pushing back against the boycott).
According to the Center for Media and Democracy, the Koch Brothers have also gotten involved through their tea party front group Americans For Prosperity. AFP has been sending out emails painting the boycotters as anti-free market, and urging their supporters to say no to the “extremists” who are attacking ALEC. (Isn’t it fascinating that when the free market is used against the Koch Brothers’ interests, they are suddenly anti-free markets)?
The key development here isn’t that Yum! Brands decided to dump ALEC. What is significant is their reason why. Yum! Brands left ALEC because they belief that the crafting of legislation should be done in public, rather than behind closed doors.” With one sentence, a former ALEC member confirmed all of the allegations that critics have been making against the secretive organization for years.
ALEC isn’t a trade association, or an interest group. Yum!’s statement confirmed that ALEC is an anti-democratic organization that privately manipulates the legislative process for their own political and financial gain. ALEC is anti-democracy. The organization itself is anti-free market. They don’t want a policy competition. They want to own the market. ALEC wants a political monopoly that only represents their interests, and they are circumventing representative democracy in order to get it.
The American Legislative Exchange Council will throw their money and influence at this boycott, but this is a battle that they have already lost. Yum! Brands’ statement is proof that their opponents have already defined them. Their name is now toxic, and bad for business. ALEC will never be able to operate in the shadows again.
ALEC has lost the war of message and perception, but for the boycotters the real hard work is just beginning. The next step is to get ALEC out of American politics.