Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s No. 1 retailer and the biggest seller of firearms in the United States, is dropping out of a U.S. conservative advocacy group that has been a lightning rod over voting and gun laws.
Wal-Mart said late Wednesday it is suspending membership in the American Legislative Council (ALEC), which the retailer joined in 1993.
ALEC sparked controversy recently because of its involvement in voting laws and in “stand your ground” gun laws, including the one under scrutiny in the Florida killing of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February.
A coalition of liberal advocates targeted the group for its support of the self-defense laws.
ALEC, which serves as a forum for corporations and mostly Republican state lawmakers and lobbyists to discuss model legislation, has been criticized by liberals for promoting laws that require photo identification to vote.
My general feeling on all of this is that most businesses don’t want anything to do with groups like ALEC (KOCH and wingnut industry titans aside). Why the hell would they? They basically pay into it because there is an inherent sense of intimidation, and a fear that if they don’t there will be repercussions. What would you do if a shitload of important legislators across the country come to you with their hand out? It’s basically a legalized protection racket, but instead of whacking people and cutting them up at Satriale’s, they will be subjected to hostile legislation. So when a group like ALEC or Komen are exposed for the political lunatics they are, and it shows the slightest bit of liability to the bottom line for a company like Wal-Mart, they cut and run at the first chance.