It’s not good for businesses these days to be associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Sallie Mae, the nation’s largest student loan lender, became the 50th business to publicly drop its membership in ALEC.

ALEC has worked to make the education system a for-profit entity and a Sallie Mae spokesperson said it thought carefully about pulling its membership.
“The noise level was distracting from the original business purpose.”

ALEC, a Washington, DC, based politically ultra-conservative non-profit, thrives on operating in the shadows of American government to push anti-worker, anti-union legislation in statehouses across the country.

Founded in 1973, ALEC supports free market principles and courts financial support from various foundations, including those controlled by the billionaire Koch Brothers.

This year alone, approximately 466 ALEC-model bills have been introduced in states that hurt the wages and rights of workers, including “Right to Work” laws debated in 15 states. ALEC has also pushed legislation that has been harmful to fire fighters’ rights to collectively bargain.

The controversial organization is also behind other state efforts to preempt local living or minimum wage ordinances and the privatization of public services and advocates change to defined benefit plans and other policies that undermine unions ability to organize.|

In its 40th year, ALEC sponsors private meetings allowing state lawmakers and corporate executives to frame legislation that is later introduced in state legislatures. The laws tilt in the favor of big business.

Here is a list of businesses that have ended their membership in ALEC over the past year and half: Sallie Mae, Bristol-Myers Squibb, WellPoint, Bank of America, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), General Electric, Western Union, Sprint Nextel, Symantec, Reckitt Benckise, Amgen, General Motors, Walgreens, Hewlett-Packard, CVS Caremark, Deere & Co., Miller, Coors, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Kaplan, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Mars, Inc., Intuit, Proctor & Gamble, Reed Elsevier, America Traffic Solutions, Louis Dreyfus Commodities, Amgen Inc. , Entergy Corporation, Arizona Public Services,  National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, YUM! Brands, Amazon.com, Medtronic, John and Johnson, Dell Computers, Express Scripts/Medco, Energy Solutions, Connections Academy, Well Fargo, Merck, Brown-Forman Company, Conoco Phillips, Walgreens, Unilever, Lumina Foundation for Education and National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA).

See how fire fighters are taking a stand against ALEC.