Rashad Robinson on Fighting ALEC

September 28, 2012

GritTV’s Laura Flanders talks with Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorofChange.org, about his efforts to convince corporations to drop their affiliation with the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

An organization that works to strengthen black America’s political voice, ColorofChange began lobbying corporations to quit ALEC in response to new voter ID laws, backed by ALEC, that disporportionately affect minority voters. Then a young African American named Trayvon Martin was gunned down in a Florida suburb. His killer initially avoided arrest, pointing to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which was promoted by ALEC as a model for laws across the country. In the wake of the Martin tragedy, ColorofChange’s anti-ALEC campaign picked up steam. To date, 40 major corporations have left ALEC.

Says Robinson:

We have to do all we can to stay vigilant and hold corporations accountable for how they use their dollars in the public space…. My membership doesn’t have the type of money that Walmart or McDonalds or Coca-Cola has.  All we have is our voice. And when our voice is put in peril by laws like voter I.D., then we not only need to stand up to those state legislators who put those laws in place.  But we need to stand up to anybody who supports those state legislators.  And if those are corporations that come into our community and seek to do business, then they need to understand that they will not be able to do it without being held accountable.


  • submit to reddit
  • Lee

    Moyers and Company staff,

    Thanks to all of you for airing such an important influence group. I am referring to you expose on ALEC. You all and Mr. Moyers should feel very good about your contribution to deep in-depth policy review and coverage of our on-going democratic processes. My wife and I are very appreciative of your hard work and Bill’s excellence in I.F. Stone style journalism.

    Many thanks,

    Lee and Leslie Swenson – Bloomington, MN.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Moyers & Company, thanks again for your work to save United States’ democracy for the PEOPLE. Is there a list somewhere of ALEC members that we can boycott and hold to the fire? What else can we do? I missed the show last week.

  • T.ROSA


  • Silverio Ontiveros

    Many of the anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona originated in ALEC meetings with then State Senator Russell Pearce. One of the corporate contributors to ALEC benefited from this legislation because they own and operate private prisons and holding facilities for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE.)

  • Diane Noland

    Thank you. I loved this interview. First of all, I love Laura Flanders and it is wonderful to see that she is allied with Bill Moyers, whom I also love. Secondly, I’m going to be changing my insurance company. I learned that State Farm is an ALEC member. So goodbye State Farm. Rashad Robinson knows how to fight smartly. Good to know he’s out and about!

  • Mark M.

    Thank you for the expose on ALEC. This well funded organization is in reality acting as a sub-government in collaboration with republican legislators to write new far reaching law and undo current law for the benefit of wealthy corporations and individuals. They are merely exercising their liberty. Liberty, after all, is a person’s (or a corporation’s) right to spend their money, in the best way they see fit, to further their own best interests. ALEC is nothing new, its approach is just much more pervasive and sophisticated. It does not strengthen American democracy, but weakens and distorts it. ALEC goes beyond lobbying, it is acting as an unelected sub-government which should irk the overwhelming majority of Americans.

  • PaulRevere101

    the corporate control of USA thru ALEC, Media, pols is unprecedented, unAmerican and ILLEGAL. If Co’s cant serve the public good, they should be dissolved & CEOs prepwalked! they distract us while they steal our wealth & rights. Secretive ALEC laws sh/be repealed & legislators IMPEACHED: People over Profits! people not corporations controlling USA, having rights!

  • Dee

    Bill Moyers you are my hero! Thanks for all you do for America.

  • quikcarl

    If not for people like Bill Moyer, Laura Flanders, Amy Goodman, et. al., the American public would never have heard of ALEC, the Koch brothers and the secret cabal of the filthy rich who are working tirelessly to undermine “we the people.” Certainly not from CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, Faux News, etc.

  • frances

    Is Josh Silver,s United Nation a ligetiment organization. I want to get involved, but with the right movement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nan.s.oneill Nan Sayles O’Neill

    How can I find out if Virginia Legislators are connected to ALEC?

  • E Gavin

    The BEST: Bill Moyer’s featuring Laura Flanders interviewing Rashad Robinson of Color of Change, taking on the WORST: ALEC, funded by large corporations to suppress the vote, write stand your ground laws, etc. The OUTCOME: PROGRESSIVE VICTORY!! More Laura Flanders please!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zoe-Brown/100000984759509 Zoe Brown

    I dis;ole ALEC

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zoe-Brown/100000984759509 Zoe Brown

    I dislike ALEC

  • Anonymous

    You can do better than “dislike” Zoe!

  • Anonymous

    I have only known of ALEC for a week yet I can already identify four laws in my state (MN) that have ALEC written all over them: 1. Voter ID 2. Gay Marriage Ban 3. Public Land use by private citizens and 4. The MN Wolf Hunt (which allows 400 of our Grey Wolves to be sport/trophy-hunted or cruelly trapped). All of these laws are chipping away at our rights if not taking them away all together. I know of four ALEC laws already–I wonder how many more malicious ALEC laws are either passed or pending in our legislative system! Please speak out to end ALEC and let the corporate sponsors know how you feel about it too!

  • http://twitter.com/jmike1400 michael devine

    Leave a list of those former ALEC members. I’ll urge everyone within he sound of voice NOT to shop there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/keith.lebrun Keith LeBrun

    It seems to me that we’re fighting the wrong battle here. ALEC is popular because we have accepted that corporations are people too. If corporations are people, then they have the same rights as flesh and blood citizens to influence how government works. Since they have a vast percentage of the economical clout, the political influence they can exert overwhelms all but the richest of us.

    Killing ALEC specifically, and most corporate political funding generally, is straightforward – take away their voices. Eliminate corporate taxes, reduce some of the costly regulations, and fully repeal the Stabilization Act of 1942 which tied our health insurance responsibilities to our employers. This allows companies to pursue profits – which is THEIR responsibility – and decouples them from the government.

    ObamaCare has already provided us with the base necessary to change part of the problem.

  • mmac

    The color of change is not just black. I signed up and I’m not black. I just support what the group does and don’t find it just fighting for black issues but for everyone’s issues….I have made call to companies ALEC and other groups I support have asked us to make because I support these efforts of change.

  • Roslyn Rawls

    There is a link right on this page. Above and to the left. Interactive Map: Is your State legislator a member of ALEC?

  • castello

    Alec is bad for America!

  • Greg Britten

    Awesome interview, Laura. I guess, though I had heard of ALEC, I did not realize how pervasive it is, or was.

  • Constance Carter

    “[W]e have accepted that corporations are people too”? Really?

    Who is this “we” you refer to? I have yet to meet a flesh-and-blood person who acknowledges the legitimacy of corporations as people.

  • Tom Youngjohn

    I would share this, because Zimmerman is obviously guilty as hell, and Rashad seems a nice, intelligent guy. But I’m totally for voter ID. What’s not to make sense about it? I think the new politically-correct speech-censorship is a form of Shariah Law. I’m against linking church and state the same way I’m against the politically correct censorship of speech. I’m against ALEC, but what’s not to like about voter ID laws? I voted for Obama twice. I love my President. But voter ID laws make a hell of a lot of sense. So much sense that I may very well vote for a Republican for president for the first time in my life in 2016. At least if it’s Bobby Jindal. And if he says, a few times, that God wants us to protect the environment. But Rashad is a smart man, and articulate.

  • GDP

    Whats not to like is that it suppresses the vote. Why have the cost of it when there is no voter fraud. What we have is election fraud! If you support Jindal who uses the ALEC playbook II highly doubt you ever voted for President Obama!

  • steve

    It just occured to me that ALEC could be a very effective tool for radical Islamists to hide behind and use in order to operate clandestinely within and against the USA. Conservatives and businesses would believe that their engaged in ALEC for their own interests when in fact radical Islamists could very effectively use enacted ALEC legislation to further their agenda within the USA. Think about it, what better way to destroy the “great evil one”, than from within!

  • brit

    I agree I learn t very quickly money talks bull —- walks very sad in a country built on a constitution where our voice as a citizen could be heard, not any more greed of the the people we voted in do not listen we need to clean house and support our President. He must really love his country to put up with the constant repugnant nit picking of his every move I am so sad as a independant voter the rep. make me sick to my stomach

  • Tom Youngjohn

    If you look at the pie chart, and then consider the composition of our Nation’s highest court, you’ll see something a lot scarier than requesting people to show proof of US citizenship before voting in National elections. http://churchandstate.org.uk/2010/12/the-unhappy-marriage-of-religion-and-politics/ But this might not make it through the Sharia morality Law of our politically correct speech censors. And I did indeed vote for Obama twice for President and I am proud to have done so. And you’re racist to suggest that I did not.

  • keith archie

    I support you in this, there is an underlying issue here..

  • ghostofzigz

    any special interest access to government displaces public access.. yet the very foundation of governments worldwide is the separation of public and governance. power brokering. since the beginning….. the only way to guarantee public interest served is with public government. Direct Democracy under human rights. Its time the people ended the charade.

  • Anonymous

    I can introduce you to an entire political party full of them…

  • Constance Carter

    I stand by my original statement.

  • Shasta

    I cannot place her accent?