In recent times I have been gathering a mega-file of references to articles and media exposes of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Break time is a good time to share the sources with a nonpartisan suggestion that readers of this blog might want to learn what others have had to say about ALEC.
Since ALEC has taken immediate and targeted aim on environmental action — particularly climate change – and since ALEC has the firepower to take action – thoughts of forewarned and constant vigilance leap to mind. Forewarnings of ALEC’s intent and power are abundant.
Basically, ALEC provides a cushy environment for state legislators and corporate lobbyists to craft “model” legislation that individual legislators at the state and federal levels can take home and introduce as their own. More than 98 percent of ALEC’s funding comes from corporations and corporate foundations, the Koch Brothers and their friends. ALEC does not allow journalists to cover their deliberation of issues ranging from voter registration and health care to promotion of fossil fuels and blocking renewable energy initiatives.
At an ALEC sponsored meeting in Washington, DC earlier this month state legislators were advised of the dangers of transparency. As reported in PR Watch elected officials were treated to a session on ”Playing the Shame Game: A Campaign that Threatens Corporate Free Speech.” Elected officials were warned of “an increasing chorus of anti-business activists calling for an end to corporate political participation in the name of ferreting out so-called ‘dark money’.”
The Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit nonpartisan organization located in Madison, Wisconsin, maintains a steady eye on the ALEC. CMD is the critical source of updates on all things ALEC, including the widely reported parting of the ways of Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Google and Yelp, all of which have publicly cut their ties with ALEC in recent times.
In her article on an August 2014 ALEC-sponsored meeting of legislators Candice Bernd offers a cautionary note about ALEC’s carefully-crafted next steps, including launch of the American City County Exchange (ACCE), the initiative to apply ALEC’s mindset and techniques to influence elected representatives in city and county position, en route to influencing state initiatives.
A major effort to thwart the power of ALEC was officially launched earlier this month at the annual winter meeting of the Democracy Alliance. The initiative is headed by Nick Rathod who has previously served as President Obama’s liaison to the states. Rathod envisions that SiX will eventually set up a political action committee to be known as SiX PAC.
Where humor reigns there is hope.
Just a few resources that illuminate the dark recesses of ALEC:
- Center for Media and Democracy – ALEC Exposed. CME is the main ALEC watchdog agency. http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/About_ALEC_Exposed
- Bill Moyers has devoted so many programs to exposing the influence of ALEC that there’s a special website: http://billmoyers.com/spotlight/eye-on-alec/
- Candice Bernd, Protests greet lawmakers gathering in Dallas as new arm of ALEC is announced,” Truthout Report, August 2, 2014.
- “ALEC Fumes: Transparency threatens corporate free speech” (http://www.prwatch.org/news/2014/12/12686/alec-dark-money