Verizon Leaves Lobbying Group ALEC Over Ties to Anti-Muslim Activist

The telecom company had been a major donor for three decades.

Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire/AP

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Telecom giant Verizon has decided to leave the American Legislative Exchange Council, a powerful corporate lobbying group, over its connections to David Horowitz, an anti-Muslim activist, according to a report from the Intercept. The group had hosted Horowitz as a featured speaker at its annual meeting in August. Horowitz and his think tank, the Freedom Center, have repeatedly espoused anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views, including spreading false claims that former President Barack Obama was Muslim.

“Our company has no tolerance for racist, white supremacist or sexist comment or ideals,” a Verizon spokesperson told the Intercept. Verizon has been a major donor to ALEC for three decades. 

This is not the first time companies have ended their affiliation with ALEC. In 2012, civil rights advocacy group Color of Change launched a national campaign against ALEC’s push for voting ID and “stand your ground” laws, after which Coca-Cola, Wendy’s, Kraft, and other companies chose to drop their ties. Following public outcry, ALEC said it would no longer push bills on “non-economic” issues.

ALEC, which has historical ties to the Koch brothers and other conservative groups and foundations, works with businesses to draft legislation focused on their key interests. It then hands out these pre-drafted bills to state legislators all over the country. Over the years, the group’s work has influenced state policies on everything from criminal justice to municipal broadband

Since Horowitz’s appearance at ALEC’s summit in August, numerous civil rights groups have pressured companies like Verizon to withdraw their support. 

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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