Behemoth defense contractor Northrop Grumman is the latest blue-chip corporation to end its affiliation with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that has endured the departure of several prominent tech companies in recent months, National Journal has learned.
Grumman officially ended its ALEC membership in December, according to a company letter obtained by the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes. The Catholic nonprofit for women is a Grumman shareholder and filed a resolution in December asking Northrop to review its lobbying affiliations, a review that it said prompted the withdrawal.
“As a major defense contractor, it is significant that the company follow the lead of many major corporations that have left ALEC in recent months,” said Sister Sally Ann Brickner.
A spokesman for Northrop Grumman refused to comment on the departure from ALEC. But ALEC suggested the defense giant did not fit in with the group’s free-market priorities.
“Northrop Grumman was a member of ALEC for a year and a half, and they never really found a home among the task forces, and the relationship ran its course,” an ALEC spokeswoman said in a statement. “Like any other membership group, membership in ALEC ebbs and flows, and in 2014 we gained far more private-sector members than we lost.”
Left-leaning groups have for years picked fights with ALEC over its views on climate change and other policy matters and have aggressively lobbied its corporate membership to divest from the nonprofit.
“Northrop Grumman’s decision to leave ALEC shows that individuals and groups like the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes can use their shareholder rights to bring about positive change and transparency in large corporations,” said Jay Riestenberg, a research analyst with Common Cause, a progressive advocacy group that opposes ALEC.
A spate of tech companies bolted from ALEC in recent months, in part because of the group’s controversial views on climate change. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt began the exodus by calling out ALEC for “just literally lying” about global warming, a salvo that was followed by an announcement that the search engine was leaving the nonprofit.
Several other tech companies quickly began publicly distancing themselves from ALEC, including Yelp, Yahoo, Facebook and, most recently, eBay. Occidental Petroleum, the fourth largest producer of oil and natural gas in the U.S., also ended its relationship with ALEC last year.
ALEC is a conservative coalition that brings state legislators and corporations together to craft model legislation that is introduced in legislatures around the country. The group last suffered a wave of departures in 2012, as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Kraft left the organization amid public outcry over the group’s then-sponsorship of controversial “Stand Your Ground” gun laws. The organization says it no longer works on legislation related to firearms.
Common Cause and other anti-ALEC groups have suggested that telecom companies were likely to be their targets from the conservative group in 2015.
Virginia-based Grumman employs tens of thousands of people around the world and rakes in more than $25 billion in annual revenue.
What We're Following See More »
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions — at the public urging of President Donald Trump — has been pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, but Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was removed, according to three sources with direct knowledge."
"A tsunami warning was issued Tuesday for the Pacific Coast from Washington to Alaska after a major undersea earthquake hit southeast of Kodiak," with a magnitude reported by the USGS at 7.9 and the NWS as 8.2. "The warning was in effect for more than 3,000 miles of coastal zones north of the Washington border: British Columbia and Alaska’s entire southern shoreline including the Aleutian Islands."
"Trump is expected to invite French President Emmanuel Macron to Washington for an official state visit later this year...While a date for the visit has not yet been officially set and the White House has not made an announcement, sources say that could come as soon as this week, while Trump attends the World Economic Forum in Davos."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he's accepting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's offer to hold an immigration vote at a later date, "clearing the way for passage of a bill to reopen the federal government" today. "McConnell early Monday promised to take up an immigration bill that would protect an estimated 800,000 Dreamers from deportation, under an open amendment process, if Democrats would agree to end the government shutdown."