published Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Coca-Cola halts ties to conservative law drafters

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    Shoppers select from wide selection of Coca-Cola products in a Springfield, Ill., file photo from Feb. 6, 2006. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

WASHINGTON - Coca-Cola Co. has ended its membership in a conservative organization seen as the incubator for a string of new state laws on voting and a marketer of laws like Florida's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense statute.

The Atlanta-based soft drink maker says its focus with the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, was on combating "discriminatory" food and beverage taxes, not on issues "that have no direct bearing" on its business.

The decision came Wednesday, just a few hours after online advocacy group ColorofChange began a boycott of the company.

Several states have passed laws requiring voters to show specific identification. The Justice Department says some violate the Voting Rights Act. The Florida "Stand Your Ground" law has come under harsh scrutiny following the fatal shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin.

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