On March 15th, University of Wisconsin Professor Bill Cronon posted a study guide on his blog on the history and actions of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). He asked: What is behind the “sudden and impressively well-organized” wave of right-wing legislation targeting workers, students, women, immigrants, and the environment in state legislatures? He found that all roads led to ALEC.
ALEC is a conservative think-tank run by right-wing politicians and corporate and financial interests within the banking industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the big oil and gas industries, and others. They are aligned to many right-wing and conservative interests, including the election-manipulating Koch Industries. ALEC is funded by the Koch brothers to promote an agenda that curbs individual liberties, attacks unions, the social safety net and seeks to insure that corporations pay no taxes, but benefit from all sorts of tax-payer dollars in return. Much of the legislation passed in the during the 2011 Kansas Legislative session was ALEC inspired, including cuts to public education, the "administrative reforms" Governor Brownback has imposed on the state, and Kris Kobach's Voter ID bill.
ALEC Exposed, website - a project of the Center for Media and Democracy.
Publicopoly Exposed: How ALEC, the Koch brothers and their corporate allies plan to privatize government, Beau Hodai, In These Times, August 2011.
Corporate Con Game: How the private prison industry helped shape Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, Beau Hodai, In These Times, June 19, 2010.
ALEC Exposed, John Nicholas, The Nation, July 12, 2011.
ALEC Exposed: The Koch Connection, Lisa Graves, The Nation, July 12, 2011.
ALEC Bills in Wisconsin, Mary Bottari, PR Watch, July 14, 2011.
The Latest Threat to Health Care, Andres Grimes, MS Magazine Blog, July 15, 2011.
ALEC Exposed: State Legislative Bills Drafted by Secretive Corporate-Lawmaker Coalition, Democracy Now!, July 15, 2011.
Billy Bragg website.
From Common Cause:
The American Legislative Exchange Council is a secretive front group of hundreds of corporations that are investing millions of dollars a year to write business-friendly legislation at the expense of the middle class.
ALEC has drafted more than 800 model bills for state legislators, including efforts to privatize everything from schools to prisons, to weaken workers' rights, and to make it more difficult for citizens to vote. They even wrote a resolution in support of the horrendous Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates for corporate money in our elections.
Worse, they are lobbying in state capitals across the country, all while claiming to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that they are a charitable organization. That means that their corporate backers can take a tax deduction by giving money to ALEC to – guess what? – push for more tax breaks and less regulation for their companies!
Under the law, charities are allowed to lobby, up to certain limits, and they must disclose what they spend on that lobbying work. ALEC's annual filings state that they have engaged in zero lobbying activity.
Tell the IRS to launch an immediate investigation into whether ALEC is committing tax fraud.