AARP, which reps 37 million seniors, quit the American Legislative Exchange Council under pressure from Center for Media & Democracy, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, and other groups.
This was followed later in the week by a statement from the Alliance for Retired Americans that they were “deeply disappointed” to learn of ALEC’s sponsorship of the AARP meeting.
AARP then announced on its Facebook page Friday Aug. 5 that, “After hearing from many of you, we’ve decided not to renew our membership to ALEC.”
Said AARP, which had revenues of $146 million in 2014: “We would never work against the interests of older Americans and our engagement with ALEC was not an endorsement of the organization’s policies but an opportunity to engage with state legislators and advance our members’ priorities.”
CMD, which operates www.prwatch.org, says ALEC’s activities include drafting and promoting bills that would “undermine and privatize Social Security and Medicare.”
ALEC’s membership includes nearly 2,000 state legislators, most of them Republicans, as well as 300 reps of major corporations, according to The New York Times.
CMD Merged with The Progressive
Lisa Graves (L) and Ruth Conniff of the Center for Media and Democracy
CMD merged in 2014 with The Progressive, 105-year-old liberal monthly also based in Madison, Wis., and moved into the magazine’s offices. Circulation of the magazine is 47,000. Lisa Graves heads CMD and Ruth Conniff heads The Progressive.
CMD staffers have been barred from ALEC meetings for years. Its reporters are evicted from Marriott and other hotels used by ALEC.
NYT columnist Paul Krugman, in a June 30, 2014 column titled “Charlatans, Cranks and Kansas,” said ALEC is a “secretive group financed by major corporations that drafts model legislation for conservative, state-level politicians.” He said its “supply-side” theories that say lower taxes on the rich will create benefits for all “crashed and burned two decades ago.”
CMD, which said its “lightning campaign” resulted in AARP making a “rapid retreat,” dropping its dues-paying membership in AARP which takes in Americans who have reached the age of 50.
CMD’s website lists numerous companies and organizations that have quit ALEC in recent years including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Mars, Reed Elsevier, Procter & Gamble, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Amazon.com and Wal-Mart.