ALEC and others like it are buying our democracy. So far – thanks to pressure from progressive and good governance groups – ten major corporations have left ALEC. Putting public pressure and shaming companies who bankroll ALEC is important because as long as the organization and any others that might pop up in her wake remain – the notion of a country of the people, for the people, by the people will remain as lifeless as the statue that resembles our 14th President at 900 Ohio Drive, S.W. Washington, DC 20024 in the National Mall.
ALEC literally writes bills and then hands them to legislators to pass…with campaign donations in tow. An excellent recent and what I consider egregious example is written about below…a Florida state Rep proposes a bill and forgets to take off the ALEC logo etc. This is happening in every single “conservative” state…the only difference is that they’re not stupid enough to leave the ALEC logos on the bill that ALEC pays them to pass; it’s scandalous. If any other country operated like this – we would call it corruption but in America – it’s just business as usual.
Nancy Scola at The Atlantic writes a powerful account of ALEC and the progressive groups that are trying to break it up – full story HERE:
Having the bills all in one place painted a certain picture. “If it’s voter ID, it’s ALEC,” observed Doug Clopp, deputy director of programs at Common Cause. “If it’s anti-immigration bills written hand-in-glove with private prison corporations, it’s ALEC. If it’s working with the NRA on ‘shoot to kill’ laws, it’s ALEC. When you start peeling back state efforts to opt out of the regional greenhouse-gas initiative, it’s ALEC.” Adopted first in the states, by the time these laws bubble up to the national level, they’re the conventional wisdom on policy.
For years, political types had vague notions of the state-to-state connections, but it was difficult to see the whole picture. ALEC Exposed launched with a series of companion articles in The Nation, detailing not only the bills themselves but the involvement of the Koch brothers, early ALEC funders. Graves said she was eager to avoid the fate of past interest-group reports that focused on ALEC then sat on shelves, unread. “I know the only way that we could possibly tell the story of this corporate bill mill across 50 states was to use, in essence, crowdsourcing that engaged other journalists, citizens, researchers, and writers.”
In January, the push against ALEC got a small bump when Republican Florida state Rep. Rachel Burgin submitted a bill calling for the federal government to cut corporate tax rates. Burgin had forgotten to strip the ALEC boilerplate from its top. Whereas, it read, “it is the mission of the American Legislative Exchange Council,” so on and so forth. Burgin yanked the bill back a day later, but it was too late. Common Cause researcher Nick Surgey posted about it on the organization’s blog. It got picked up in social media and joked about on cable news.
The Kansas City Star explains what ALEC is doing in Missouri:
At least 30 bills have been introduced in the Missouri statehouse in recent years that are nearly identical to legislation originally written by a conservative organization whose membership includes some of the country’s largest corporations.
Nearly 50 current and former legislators in the Show-Me State have ties to ALEC, including House Speaker Steven Tilley, House Majority Leader Tim Jones and Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer.Its corporate membership has included national companies such as Koch Industries Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp., Wal-Mart and local entities such as Kansas City Power and Light Co.
To encourage attendance at their conferences, where the work drafting model legislation is done, ALEC offers “scholarships” to members to pay for transportation, hotel and meals. In addition to working groups that actually craft the organization’s model legislation, lawmakers are treated to corporate-sponsored events, such as golf tournaments and evening receptions.
Some propaganda directly from ALEC in the form of professional analysis – HERE.
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