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Archive for April 5, 2011

Is Your Republican State Legislator A Member Of ALEC?

Is there any aspect of governing that multi-national corporations do not own within the Republican Party? When we vote for a local legislator, our expectation is that he or she will be somewhat attuned to local interests. We are under the impression that the concerns that we have are taken to our state legislature and are deeply considered as new laws are discussed and voted on. We also believe that before the governor signs bills into law, he or she deeply considers the long term impact on the state and its people.

Now we find that there is a group that is in the business of promoting right wing agendas at the state level and then having a piece of legislation tailor-made for the crisis du jour.  Create a budget crisis and pass laws busting public unions. Jump on the back of the health care crisis and create laws claiming states’ rights in health care, or ban single payer laws in states.

Like many behind the scene, out of the spotlight groups that the right wing has in their toolbox, ALEC has worked largely unknown for decades. But recent attempts at pushing union busting legislation that was nearly identical in many states caused a search for the source of this legislation. What is slowly being uncovered should not surprise anyone who is even a bit familiar with right wing tactics.

ALEC is an acronym that stands for American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is a members only group that works at the state level to influence legislation that greatly favors corporate interests. [Editor’s note:  ALEC’s website claims it is non-partisan but touts “Limited Government, Free Markets, Federalism]. Policies such as recent union-busting attempts, tactics and strategies to fight health care reform, anti-union legislation in general, all sorts of corporate tax cutting and rebate legislation, privatizing schools and even privatizing prisons. Yep, if your state has recently passed or even talked about legislation that favors corporations it probably came from ALEC.

And those supposed locally oriented Republicans? Forget it. They will simply tell you that the ideologically driven, corporate developed legislation is just what your state needs.

ALEC is mostly funded by corporations (no surprise), but they claim over 2,000 state legislators as members. As dues paying members these guys are ripe to be told what to do.

The ALEC website is supposedly open only to members, but for some reason today folks can get in there. Perhaps you would like to glance around to get an idea what else is coming?

Here are a couple of links that may or may not be available by the time you  read this:

Perhaps the best and most thorough article I have read on ALEC is from progressive states network. One of the key observations made in the article is that:

“WHY STATE POLICY MATTERS What the rightwing recognizes is that with a coordinated strategy, a movement can govern the nation from the statehouses. Progressives need to fully understand why state policy matters and how powerful, pervasive and influential those policies are in our everyday lives.”

This article is well worth the read. And at your next legislative forum, ask the Republican legislators if they are members of ALEC and if they use ALEC model legislation in laws they propose.

REMEMBER – boycott Koch products. I saw today that the Brothers Koch make @ $15,000,000 a day each. That gives them a lot of pocket change to buy politicians.

Dave Bradley
E-mail Dave here

Dave Bradley is a self-described retired observer of American politics “trying to figure out how we got so screwed up.”  An Iowa City native currently living in West Liberty,  Dave and his wife Carol have two grown children who “sadly had to leave the state to find decent paying jobs.”