Wal-Mart To Leave Conservative Legislative Group

May 31, 2012
Originally published on May 31, 2012 10:58 pm
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Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, says it's leaving the American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC. The conservative organization of state legislators and corporate lobbyists has drawn criticism for advocating Stand Your Ground laws and strict voter ID standards. NPR's Peter Overby reports.

PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: Wal-Mart vice president Maggie Sans told ALEC that it has strayed from its core mission of promoting free markets and the divide between its recent activities and Wal-Mart's business purpose had grown too wide.

Wal-Mart shareholders meet tomorrow amid concern about unrelated allegations that it bribed officials in Mexico. A spokesman said Wal-Mart was upset by ALEC's role in promoting Stand Your Ground laws based on the Florida statute involved in the Trayvon Martin murder case. Wal-Mart is the nation's largest retailer of firearms.

The spokesman said an even bigger issue was ALEC's push for restrictive voter ID laws. ALEC spokeswoman is Kaitlyn Buss.

KAITLYN BUSS: While we're disappointed in Wal-Mart's decision and sad to see any member leave, we understand the unique pressure that they're under.

OVERBY: Liberal groups are running consumer campaigns targeting ALEC's corporate funders. Buss calls it manufactured outrage. About 20 companies have left ALEC, including Coca Cola, McDonald's and, as of last week, Amazon. The IRS and Minnesota have been asked to investigate alleged lobbying by ALEC.

Peter Overby, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.