S.C. legislators are calling for their co-workers in the state's General Assembly to distance themselves from the American Legislative Exchange Council as national pressure increases on the little-known policy organization.
The detractors include state Rep. Ted Vick, a Chesterfield Democrat and 7th Congressional District candidate who resigned his membership from ALEC on Tuesday, calling it "part of the problem."
The conservative organization has pushed legislation in statehouses across the country, including the controversial "Stand Your Ground" law that was used as an initial defense in the Florida shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Through hundreds of legislative members across the county, ALEC has promoted conservative bills like the "Stand Your Ground" laws. Last week, the group bowed to public criticsim and the defection of corporate finances, saying it would stop working on gun laws, as well as other controversial legislation.
In a statement, Vick said he joined ALEC in 2004, but that the group had drifited from its nonpartisan goal of limited, but effective government.
"ALEC has become too partisan and too extreme," he said. "I believe we need more bipartisanship, statesmanship, and less divisive political rhetoric."
On Monday, Rep. Boyd Brown (D-Fairfield) called for his fellow legislators in both parties to abandon their association with ALEC. In a letter, Brown cited ALEC's corporate funding and its influence in crafting legislation.
"Your support for this organization is harmful to your constituents and folks all across the United States," Brown wrote. "And I urge you to withdraw your membership today."
ALEC has been losing more than just members and clout in the past few weeks. Corporate sponsors that have financed the organization are also heading for the door, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Mars, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble.
Also making news in Columbia today: