To: John Eick,
Subject: URGENT - ALEC needs your help
Date: Tue Sep 23 21:50:57 MDT 2014
Dear Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Members:
Yesterday, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt publicly announced his company’s departure from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in an interview on NPR. In the interview, Schmidt went on to say that ALEC has been “literally lying” about the reality of climate change and insinuated that ALEC is “hurting our children and grandchildren and making the world a much worse place.”
In the coming days, we plan to send the attached letter to Google leadership, and we want to add your signature to the letter. While ALEC will miss Google’s important perspective in our conversations, we want to use their departure as an opportunity to educate their leadership about the value of ALEC, the organization’s expansive legislative membership, and the membership’s participation and shared belief in limited government, free markets and federalism.
To sign the letter, please click here and fill out the form. We will circulate the finalized letter including hundreds of signatures as soon as we reach a critical mass.
Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force
American Legislative Exchange Council
2900 Crystal Drive, 6th Floor
Arlington, VA 22202
P: (571) 482-5008
F: (703) 373-0927
September 23, 2014
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
Larry Page, CEO and Co-Founder
Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman
Sergey Brin, Co-Founder and Board Member
David Drummond, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer
Patrick Pichette, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Craig Barratt, Senior Vice President, Access and Energy
Kent Walker, Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Rachel Whetstone, Senior Vice President, Communications and Policy
Susan Molinari, Global Head of Government Relations
John Burchett, Director of Policy, Latin America, Canada and U.S. States
Ron Barnes, Head of State Legislative Affairs
We the undersigned state lawmakers are deeply concerned by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s recent comments in regard to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). On September 22, 2014, during an interview with Diane Rehm on NPR, Mr. Schmidt announced Google’s departure from ALEC.
ALEC is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators. The organization advances limited government, free markets and federalism. Legislative members determine the course and policy priorities of the organization, and always engage in vigorous debate to ensure the best policies are advanced.
Many of us have worked side-by-side with Google at ALEC and in our states to ensure the continued growth and innovation of the technology-sector and the American economy. It is a shame that you would harm this working relationship by falsely attacking ALEC, an organization of which we are proud.
In the radio interview, Mr. Schmidt emphasized a need for an environment that provides vigorous debate and disagreement without negative consequences. ALEC is exactly the venue called for by your Chairman. Daily, ALEC members and staff are challenged to stick to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism while engaging in debate and finding common ground on cutting-edge issues. While we understand how hard it can be to stick to principles, we are disappointed that contrary to your chairman’s statement, there have been negative consequences for an organization that provides just such a forum for debate and exchange.
Schmidt also stated Google has a very strong view that decisions in politics should be based on facts. However, your calculated departure from ALEC is based on misinformation from climate activists who intentionally confuse free market policy perspectives for climate change denial.
The facts are: ALEC recognizes that climate change is an important issue and just hosted a roundtable conversation for a variety of companies—including Google—on this very issue. Indeed, no ALEC model policy denies climate change; however, the organization does maintain model policy designed to address the scientific and economic aspects of the issue of climate change. The organizations that pressured you consistently conflate climate change denial with having significant concerns over government mandates, subsidies and climate regulations. To ALEC, nothing is more anathema than the government picking winners and losers.
ALEC is often the subject of attention because our unique public-private partnership is so effective at sharing and debating policy perspectives and educating legislators. We appreciate that Google has an important perspective on innovation in the public policy arena, and it will be missed in future discussions as a result of short-sighted decision making.
2014-09-23 Letter to Google (letterhead) final.pdf