These companies argue that their participation is limited to issues that directly affect their business. They note that the organization is split into nine task forces made up of state legislators and private sector representatives that serve as a clearinghouse for the legislative proposals.
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the powerful Washington lobby for prescription drug manufacturers, told Roll Call it would continue to support the organization.
“PhRMA has a long history of partnering with and supporting diverse stakeholders and organizations who share our goals of helping patients access the medicines and care they need and fostering medical innovation,” Matthew Bennett, a senior vice president of the trade group, said in a statement to Roll Call. “As such, our involvement with ALEC concentrates on public health issues that directly relate to these goals.”
Dennis Bartlett, the executive director of the American Bail Coalition, another ALEC board member, said he has received upward of 3,000 e-mails prompted by the Color of Change campaign but has no plans to cut ties with ALEC because of the access it gives him to state legislators.
“I’m getting literally thousands of these ‘dump ALEC’ communications,” Bartlett told Roll Call. “They go directly into a spam folder.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.