Ford Drops Membership in ALEC Lobbying Group

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By Ari Natter

Feb. 17 — Ford Motor Co. dropped its membership in the conservative lobbying group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the company confirmed in an e-mail Feb. 17 to Bloomberg BNA.

“As part of our annual budget review in 2015, we adjusted our participation in several groups. We will not be participating in ALEC in 2016,” spokeswoman Christin Baker said in an e-mail without elaborating.

In leaving ALEC, Ford joins companies such as Google, Microsoft and others that have raised concerns about the group's position denying climate change and other stances deemed to be anti-environmental, according to the watchdog group the Center for Media and Democracy.

It also comes as Ford makes strides to portray itself as a leader on climate change and fuel efficiency and has touted itself as a leader in corporate sustainability, highlighting green buildings, waste reduction and building the largest solar array in Michigan at its headquarters in Dearborn.

Sustainability Conflict

ALEC's environmental initiatives “seem in stark contrast to how Ford describes itself publicly,” Nick Surgey, the Center for Media and Democracy's director of research, told Bloomberg BNA. “I think it's very likely that ALEC’s policies blocking action on climate change is the motivation for Ford to leave.”

A spokesman for ALEC, based in Arlington, Va., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The organization has drawn criticism for opposing state environmental and clean energy policies through the crafting of model legislation destined for state legislatures .

Other companies that recently left the organization include BP Plc., Occidental Petroleum Corp. and technology companies Facebook Inc., Google Inc. and Yelp Inc.

“This is another example of how major companies do not want to be in bed anymore with ALEC, which acts as a secretive corporate lobbying group while being registered with IRS as a tax-exempt charity,” Common Cause, a Washington, D.C., group that has challenged ALEC's status as a nonprofit organization, said in an e-mail about Ford's departure.

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