Business & Lobbying

Conservative group pressing states to adopt laws protecting companies from ‘political boycotts’: report

AP Photo/Matthew Brown
A flare to burn methane from oil production is seen on a well pad near Watford City, North Dakota, Aug. 26, 2021.

A conservative organization is planning to push state lawmakers across the country to adopt legislation to shield American companies from “political boycotts.” 

The Guardian reported on Friday that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will lobby legislators to back its proposal at its States and Nation Policy Summit in Washington later this month. 

The plan would require all government entities to include a clause in their contracts with businesses that they will promise to not “engage in economic boycotts.” 

The move comes amid strong GOP pushback to financial institutions seeking to distance themselves from industries such as fossil fuels.

“Banks are increasingly denying financing to creditworthy companies solely for the purpose of marketing their environmental or social justice credentials, to the detriment of their clients and shareholders,” the legislation states. 

The text of the proposal is written so that a state legislature would only have to fill in the name of their state. It comes after a summer meeting in Atlanta where those present pledged to oppose “woke capitalism,” according to The Guardian. 

State attorneys general would be empowered to “examine” any person under oath in relation to a boycott and review any record or document deemed “necessary.” 

The Guardian reported that the proposal is based in legislation in effect in more than 30 states to prohibit boycotts of Israel as a result of its actions affecting Palestinians. 

The proposal would not affect individuals after several laws preventing boycotts of Israel needed to be amended when courts found legislation impacting individual people violated their free speech rights. 

The plan would expand on one that the council introduced earlier this year to try to protect oil companies from shares being sold off in protest of the industry’s role in climate change. 

The council told The Hill in a statement that, as a non-partisan education and research think tank, it does not “push” state lawmakers to adopt laws. 

“ALEC works with state legislators and stakeholders from across the policy spectrum dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism,” it said. “ALEC is a forum for stakeholders to exchange ideas and develop real, state-based solutions to encourage growth, preserve economic security and protect hardworking taxpayers.”

The council pointed to a few parts of The Guardian’s story that it said are inaccurate. It said nothing in the legislation is aimed at protecting gun manufacturers, as The Guardian reported.

It also said The Guardian’s reporting that this legislation and the one protecting oil companies were written by the council’s lawyers is incorrect, as members draft, write and vote on its model policy.

—Updated at 5:56 p.m.

Tags American Legislative Exchange Council boycotts political boycotts States and Nation Policy Summit
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