OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- The American Legislative Exchange Council has been quietly influencing state laws around the country for decades, focusing on fairly mundane areas like tax policy and cable television regulations.
Along the way they've enjoyed private sector support from the likes of the Coca-Cola Co. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. But the fatal Florida shooting of Trayvon Martin has spotlighted another area ALEC has pursued -- the replication of so-called "Stand Your Ground" laws that gives people wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat during a fight.
The controversy surrounding the Martin shooting have given liberal groups a chance to cast a spotlight on the organization, one that ALEC says is unfair. Several major companies, including Coca-Cola Co. and McDonald's Corp., have said they are no longer financially supporting ALEC.