Color of Change’s ALEC Attack: Burning Black America in Order to Save It

iStock_000007292871XSmallMore and more companies, and at least one charitable foundation, are bowing to the demands of the Color of Change pressure group and ending their financial support of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Color of Change — a group that was co-founded by cast-aside Obama Administration “green jobs” czar Van Jones — is spearheading an effort to drive away ALEC’s financial benefactors based on ALEC’s promotion of state-level “stand your ground” self-defense and identity protection voter ID legislation.

Reacting to the claim from Color of Change that black consumer dollars shouldn’t fund things that hurt black America, Coca-Cola was among the first big corporations to give into Color of Change.  As noted by Project 21 last week, however, Coca-Cola’s explanation for dropping its support of ALEC is not being applied consistently — and neither is Color of Change’s concern.

Since early April, Kraft, Intuit, McDonald’s and Wendy’s publicly announced splits with ALEC.  So has the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which said it will not make any more donations to ALEC.

But is punishing ALEC really in the best interests of black America, or is Color of Change scaring big business just to punish a political opponent and using the black community as a prop?  Signs point to the latter.

The interesting thing about the Gates Foundation grant money in particular is that it reportedly had nothing to do with the legislation that drew Color of Change’s ire.  Instead, Gates Foundation money was said to be used to promote ways of helping teachers and schools be more efficient.  So, in the name of black Americans, Color of Change helped drain funding from a program that might have helped black students and the teachers and administrators catering to them.

Strike one.

And, in order to allegedly guarantee the continued patronage of black Americans, companies must essentially repudiate policies that will help make sure that identity fraud is not perpetuated at many of our nation’s polling places on Election Day?

Strike two.

Telling companies what they can and cannot do — when the preferred options of the left are not in the best interests of the companies or their shareholders — is strike three.

Such trade-offs are not in the best interest of black America.  It is not in the best interest of any American, since such a loss of voting rights or the safety of self-defense are freedoms that cut across all lines of race, gender and class.  And it’s also not in the best interest of the people who invest in these companies when their executives kowtow to radical demands.

P21CherylynLeBonProject 21 spokeswoman Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a former senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, certainly doesn’t think so.  An ardent proponent of ballot safeguards, Cherylyn admonishes apparent corporate fealty to the leftist rabble.  She said:

What’s worse than radical activists who think they can dictate corporate policy to some of the biggest multinational corporations around?  What’s worse is when allegedly powerful captains of industry are brought to heel by those same radical activists and their extremist whims.  These radicals appear to rule corporate giving right now.  At what point will they be controlling policies and practices with an impact on a company’s immediate bottom line?

At this rate, it won’t be long before the protestor with a sign and a bullhorn carries more weight with CEOs than shoppers and shareholders.

Kraft, Coke, Wendy’s and McDonald’s dropped their support of the American Legislative Exchange Council based on the demands of left-wing Color of Change activists.  These companies shouldn’t expect an influx of vegan, fair-trade customers as a result.  But they will likely see a loss of conservative customers, and they can bank on receiving new demands from the left since they folded so easily this time.

P21DeroyMurdockProject 21 spokesman Deroy Murdock, a nationally-syndicated columnist, feels the same way.  Deroy asks that companies and charities steel their spines against Color of Change’s demands and not shy away from promoting the principles of the free market and responsible citizenship.  He said:

Americans should be highly disappointed to see Coca-Cola, the Gates Foundation, Intuit and other organizations collapse after sometimes just hours of pressure from Color of Change and other left-wing groups.  They have demanded that these companies and charities withdraw their support from the American Legislative Exchange Council.  ALEC has advocated limited government, free markets, school choice and other causes that usually irritate the left.  All of that was fine.  However, once ALEC endorsed new requirements for showing voter IDs cards at the polls — that was a policy too far.

Rather than go utterly invertebrate, these firms and foundations — and others that soon may get hammered — should stand up to Color of Change.  Ask them why they oppose voter ID cards as a simple way to assure that voters do not have their ballots nullified through fraud.  If, as Color of Change claims, black Americans somehow are incapable of carrying photo ID — when will it launch a campaign to exempt blacks from the universal requirement to show photo ID cards to ride airplanes, cash checks and even visit the U.S. Department of Justice where they are working furiously to overturn these new rules.

Rather than cower beneath their desks, American companies and foundations should show some leadership and demand that America have a voting system worthy of this country’s First World status — starting with making everyone show photo ID at the polls and providing ID cards for free to those who lack them.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.