Liberals pressure utility in Charlotte to cut ties with conservative group

Rogers is a major player in the Democratic gathering. He is the co-chair of the official host committee and a fundraiser for the Democrats’ effort.

Duke has also provided a $10 million line of credit to convention organizers, and has donated office space, according to news accounts.

Several large companies have terminated their association with ALEC in recent months. Those firms include Walgreens, General Electric, Sprint, Western Union and General Motors Co.

ALEC attracted national attention earlier this year for designing “Stand Your Ground” laws in several states. Those laws let people use force in self-defense if they perceive a reasonable threat to their safety.

Such a law is on the books in Florida, where George Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a case that made headlines across the country.

ALEC also has pushed laws that require voters to present photo identification to cast their ballots. Many say that disenfranchises the poor and minorities, two significant Democratic voting blocs.

Tom Williams, a spokesman with Duke, told The Hill on Wednesday that it was “absurd” to think the company supported all of ALEC’s positions. He said the firm participated in ALEC’s conventions as a way to access state legislators for the six states in which the utility operates.

“Duke contributed to a recent convention that this group had in Charlotte ... as a way to network with legislators, not all of whom we agree with,” Williams said.

Williams commented that Duke participates in events held by groups it does not support for purposes of “monitoring the debate.”

“If they’d like to talk to us,” Williams said of the groups that signed the letter, “they know how to reach us.”

Letter signatories include: Energy Action Coalition, Greenpeace, Common Cause, CREDO Action, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Public Citizen, Friends of the Earth, Oil Change International, Center for Media & Democracy, Southern Energy Network and the Checks & Balances Project.

This post was updated at 6:26 p.m.