NPR: Coke and Pepsi Drop Membership in Controversial Lobby Group

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have dropped their memberships in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative business organization that is also behind the controversial “Stand Your Ground” gun laws and other socially divisive measures, according to NPR.  The two soda giants cut ties with ALEC after civil rights group launched an online drive that called on Coca-Cola to cease funding ALEC because of its support of voter identification laws that ColorofChange called discriminatory.

Shortly after the company ended its relationship with ALEC on Wednesday, Coca-Cola spokeswoman Diana Garza Ciarlante told NPR that, “We have a longstanding policy of not taking positions on issues that don’t have a direct bearing on our company or on our industry.”

In January, PepsiCo, which was a member of ALEC for 10 years, told that the company wouldn’t renew its membership in the organization for 2012. PepsiCo did not say that it was because of ALEC’s stance on voter ID laws, but did note that the issue would be brought up if the company ever considered rejoining ALEC.

While Coca-Cola and Pepsi have jumped ship from ALEC, one major food and beverage supplier is sticking with the organization. Kraft Foods said it was keeping its membership in ALEC, and a spokeswoman for the company told NPR that its membership is business-related and “has nothing to do” with Stand Your Ground or voter ID laws.