By Tom Hamburger, The Washington Post
The shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida is reverberating today in an unlikely place: the executive suites of major corporations.
In recent days, advocacy groups have targeted more than a dozen corporations over their financial support for the conservative organization that encouraged states to pass the â€œStand Your Groundâ€ legislation cited as a defense for George Zimmerman, the man charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 shooting.
The advocates are celebrating decisions by several major food and beverage companies to sever financial ties with the organization, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, McDonaldâ€™s, Kraft Foods and Wendyâ€™s have cut their support for the group, although all played down any connection to the Florida shooting.
The tension in corporate boardrooms over the case is the latest example of the pitfalls companies can sometimes face when they donate to political and lobbying groups, even those that seem safely below the radar of public consciousness.
The ALEC controversy is now sparking a broader debate about corporate participation in politics and the polarized state of political discourse. At a minimum, it has strengthened calls for companies to develop clear policies explaining their spending.
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