This morning, a group of students and alumni delivered over 1,000 signatures to University of Wisconsin Foundation President Mike Knetter demanding that the university divest its holdings from the fossil fuel industry.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Internal records show ALEC corporations have spent an estimated $4 million to send legislators to posh resorts since 2006
For Immediate Release: October 26, 2012
Contact: Sara Jerving, Center for Media and Democracy, (608) 260-9713; Mary Boyle, Common Cause, (202) 736-5770
Corporate backers of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have funneled more than an estimated $4 million in gifts to state legislators for travel, hotel rooms, and meals at posh resorts since 2006, according to estimates based on internal ALEC records. The corporate lobby front group is already facing an Internal Revenue Service review of claims that it violated federal law by posing as a charity.
Despite promising U.S. universities that it would help ensure fair labor practices, Adidas, the world's second largest athletic shoe and apparel company, has told a Wisconsin court that it can't be required to "stand in the shoes" of its global suppliers who owe millions of dollars to workers, according to a court document reviewed by the Center for Media and Democracy.
It's big news when one of the largest corporations in the world changes its policy. And, today, the really big news is that Wal-Mart announced it was leaving the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has been called "a corporate lobby masquerading as a charity."
The Center for Media and Democracy launched ALECexposed almost a year ago to shine a spotlight on ALEC. CMD's analysis and ongoing investigation have fueled hundreds of news articles and other reports exposing deeply troubling information about ALEC's operations and extreme agenda. And, CMD has served as a research engine that has helped empower hundreds of thousands of people to speak out against ALEC's agenda and activities. Through ALEC's task forces, corporate lobbyists are voting behind closed doors as equals with legislators on templates to change our laws.
Finger-pointing over the Deepwater Horizon disaster resumed recently after the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Coast Guard issued a joint report (pdf) which concluded all three corporate participants in the calamity -- BP, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton -- were at fault.
The methane gas industry is snapping up land across the United States, and it's not only regions with gas reserves its after. Part of the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," which has become big business in the nation, requires a fine silica sand. The sand is most easily accessible in the state of Wisconsin, which means the industry is looking to scrape the Midwestern state of it's rolling hills by extracting its sand. This new scramble for sand mining has local residents concerned about the health and environmental impacts on their communities.
The industry of sand mining is booming along with the national increase in "natural" gas drilling. The industry is touting methane gas as a "bridge fuel" to wean the nation of its petroleum addiction, but the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing has citizens up in arms because the process leaks harmful toxins into the nation's water supplies -- and the overall process of methane gas drilling is just as dirty, if not dirtier, than using petroleum.
Fred Wilcox is a writing professor at Ithaca College and a long-time peace activist.
By Will Vickery
By John Aloysius Farrell, Ben Wieder and Evan Bush
The Center for Media and Democracy is re-posting this article from John Aloysius Farrell, Ben Wieder, and Evan Bush at iWatch News, a project of the Center for Public Integrity, as part of our effort to track Koch Industries and ALEC via our ALECexposed.org project and to expose corporate spin. The original can be found here. For more, see Farrell's April 2011 article "Koch's web of influence" and Cole Goins' August 2011 article "What's it like living near a chemical plant?," both also on iWatch. To find out about chemical plants near you, download the spreadsheet of data gathered from the risk management plans that Koch files with the EPA.