Best Buy has joined the steady stream of companies and organizations giving up memberships in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
ALEC bills itself as a membership organization in which corporate and ideological members, who pay tens of thousands of dollars to join, exchange model legislation with lawmakers from around the country. Legislators pay dues of just $50, and are eligible for scholarships for themselves and family members to attend meetings, typically at posh resorts.
ALEC is best known for its most ideological model legislation, including “shoot-first” laws like Florida’s and voter-ID measures like the one on Minnesota’s ballot this year. The bulk of the group’s activity, however, centers on formulating proposed legislation that benefits its corporate members.
In recent weeks, the previously little-known group has been the subject of numerous negative headlines. In addition to Trayvon Martin’s killing, controversy has been generated by a trove of internal ALEC documents released by a whistleblower and complaints to federal and state campaign finance and lobbying regulators.
Best Buy’s explanation, as reported by Minnesota Public Radio: Its work on two ALEC committees had come to an end and so the company decided not to renew its membership.
Some two dozen corporate and foundation members have quit ALEC. Minnesota’s Scantron announced its departure in May. Best Buy’s withdrawal leaves just two major corporate members from Minnesota, Xcel and UnitedHealth.