The list of companies and organizations who have publicly committed to leaving extreme right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) continues to grow, with Google, Yelp and Yahoo! all announcing in the last week that they would sever ties with the organization.
Meanwhile, the Walton Family Foundation, the not-so-charitable organization run by the heirs to the Walmart fortune, has ignored calls to publicly distance themselves from ALEC. In 2011, Walmart and the Walton Family Foundation were listed side by side as chairmen-level sponsors of ALEC’s national meeting. Since then, Walmart has publicly withdrawn from ALEC, but the Waltons have remained silent.
But, the Waltons’ ties to ALEC and their ideological allies run deep. In 2012, while many were distancing themselves from ALEC, the Walton Family Foundation hired Lori Drummer Armistead, the former director of ALEC’s education task force. And, though ALEC’s membership lists are not public, we do know that the Waltons continue to support close ideological allies of ALEC. A prime example is the Cato Institute, a supporter of the controversial stand-your-ground laws that ALEC, with Walmart’s support, pushed nationwide.
Even after Walmart, the nation’s largest seller of guns and ammunition, distanced itself from ALEC, the Waltons have continued to support the right-wing Cato Institute, one of the most vocal supporters of stand-your-ground laws.
Several of the companies who withdrew from ALEC this week, cited the organization’s continued climate change denial. Google CEO Eric Schmidt said:
“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,” he said. “And so we should not be aligned with such people — they’re just, they’re just literally lying.”
But, the Waltons’ self-professed commitment to the environmental is contradicted by the fact that the Institute for Local Self Reliance has called the company “one of the biggest and fastest growing climate polluters in the country.” And, perhaps not surprisingly, the Waltons have remained silent on ALEC. Instead, the WFF funds climate change deniers like the American Enterprise Institute (which calls legislation to help address climate change “disingenuous environmentalism run amok” and Americans for Prosperity (who has found “no evidence that global warming is either man made or likely to be harmful.”)and the Waltons disproportionately fund political candidates who vote against the environment.
If the Waltons truly support action on climate change, the repeal of stand-your-ground laws, and an end to racist voter-ID laws supported by ALEC, they should join the growing list of companies and organizations that have publicly ended their ties with the organization.