Posts Tagged ‘ALEC in Iowa’
*BFIA post updated 10:41 am 12/5/13.
In documents released about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) yesterday, it was revealed that Senator Bill Dix and Representative Linda Miller, as Iowa state chairs for ALEC, were asked to pledge,
“I will act with loyalty and put the interests of the organization first.”
“Newly revealed documents demonstrate that Representative Linda Upmeyer believes her first responsibility is to ALEC, above even her constituents. The loyalty oath for legislators proves ALEC’s true colors – corporate special interests first, citizens last. We call on Upmeyer and all ALEC members to publicly renounce the loyalty oath, retract their membership in this secretive corporate front group and instead work on behalf of their constituents.” – Matt Sinovic, Progress Iowa
[See BLOG FOR IOWA ACTION ALERT below.]
Here is a link to yesterday’s story in the Guardian.The state chair pledge is highlighted on page 20 of the embedded document: theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/03/alec-funding-crisis
And here is the ALEC website listing Dix and Miller as the Iowa chairs: alec.org/about-alec/state-chairmen/
ALEC – the American Legislative Exchange Council, is in D.C. this week for its “State and Nation Policy Summit” has been the moving force behind legislation including the Stand Your Ground laws that protect reckless killers, voter suppression schemes and laws to strip workers of their right to bargain collectively for fair wages, benefits and working conditions.
ALEC is funded by massive “donations,” from corporations who in return are given full voting rights in all decisions. Corporations draft legislation that directly benefits their bottom line, sit with legislators at ALEC conferences and vote on ALEC policy and legislation, then set the legislators loose to push these bills on their behalf in state governments around the country.
ALEC’s legislative agenda for 2014 includes plans to harass navigators who help uninsured Americans sign up for affordable health coverage and continue to push for a repeal of the minimum wage.
Matt Sinovic, Progress Iowa
BLOG FOR IOWA ACTION ALERT
BFIA Action Alert: We have a right to expect that our elected officials in Des Moines will represent the best interests of the people of Iowa, NOT the best interests of the Koch Brothers and their ALEC corporate friends.
If you live in Iowa Iowa Senate District 9 (Bill Dix), or Iowa House district 94 (Linda Miller), contact these two corporate shills and remind them that their loyalty is to you and your fellow constituents, not a lobbying group for the Koch Brothers. Scroll down for contact info.
Contact Senator Bill Dix here:
Legislative Email: email@example.com
Home Phone: 319.885.6790
Cell Phone: 319.269.3664
Home Address: 317 S. Walnut Street, P.O. Box 220 Shell Rock IA, 50670
Contact Rep. Linda Miller here:
Legislative Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Home Phone: 563.449.9956
Home Address: 6766 Ridges Court, Bettendorf IA, 52722
Capitol Phone: 515.281.3221
Business Phone: 563.650.9539
ProgressIowa.org has this:
Out-of-State Special Interest Group Students First Hires New Director to “Increase Presence” in Iowa
Students First has track record of supporting ALEC-Backed Education Proposals, Providing Financial Backing for Conservative Candidates, Involvement in Cheating and Anti-Gay Controversies
DES MOINES – Late last week, Students First announced hiring Patty Link, a former Des Moines School Board Member, as State Director, signaling an attempt to increase their presence in Iowa. In the past, Students First has promoted anti-union policies such as targeting collective bargaining laws, expanding charter schools and school vouchers, and working with anti-labor allies like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the conservative front-group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Last fall, further cementing their conservative credentials, Student’s First provided over $350,000 in campaign contributions to defeat pro-public education legislative candidates in Iowa [italics BFIA's]. Nationally, Michelle Rhee, the Founder and CEO of Students First, has been embroiled in scandal, having been accused of failing to act to prevent “widespread cheating” while Chancellor of Washington, DC public schools.
More recently, Rhee and Students First honored Tennessee State Representative John Ragan as “Reformer of the Year” despite Ragan’s attempts to exempt “religious or political bullying” from a measure to prevent anti-gay harassment in schools. Ragan also co-sponsored legislation that would have forced teachers and school therapists to “out” students suspected of being gay to their parents.
“It is not surprising that Students First wants to attempt to expand their reach in Iowa after investing a considerable amount of money in last year’s elections. What is surprising is that former Des Moines School Board member and co-owner of Link Strategies Patty Link is involved,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “Iowa’s educators, labor unions, and anyone paying attention to right-wing organizations and their undue influence in politics understand what Students First is all about. Michelle Rhee’s controversial background and caustic influence on public education have no place in Iowa. Link would serve our state better if she denounced the Students First agenda and instead focused on promoting policies that truly further the best interest of Iowa students, rather than an out-of-state special interest group.”
Leaked documents show Michelle Rhee coordinating with Connecticut astroturf group to push ALEC’s “Parent Trigger”
Michelle Rhee’s group stands by anti-gay honoree
Did Michelle Rhee ignore her own cheating scandal? A new memo suggests clear evidence was discounted
Former DM School Board Member Patty Link to lead Students First group in Iowa
Students First gives Iowa ‘F’ for education policy
“Last year, Rhee visited with Gov. Terry Branstad and select lawmakers on education reform topics. The organization also spent more than $300,000 on state legislative races this year, more than any other independent expenditure group in the last cycle.”
Patty Link Des Moines School Board Biography
$355,541.95 in Independent Expenditures by Students First in 2012
Jane Jech for Iowa Senate: $85,450.31 total expenditures
Friends for Breitbach: $78,922 total expenditures
Committee to Elect Shawn Hamerlinck: $191,169.64
Not only have the media not properly conveyed what ALEC really is if they do talk about it which is extremely rare, but they are also not mentioning ALEC when it would make perfect sense to. Even the “liberal” media such as Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Melissa Harris-Perry, fail repeatedly to connect the dots to ALEC when discussing the phenomenon of voter ID laws being introduced in Republican controlled states across the country. In Iowa, Jason Noble covered a press conference held by ProgressIowa about ALEC’s involvement in Iowa but as far as we can tell, no journalist is mentioning ALEC while covering particular bills, such as loosening gun safety laws and voter ID just to name two. Has any member of the Iowa media once mentioned Matt Schultz’s voter purge and ALEC in the same article? Has any member of the Iowa media asked the SOS or Governor Branstad (founding member of ALEC), questions about ALEC and voter ID? Has any member of the Iowa Press pressed GOP legislators about whether they might be attending ALEC’s Spring Task Force Summit this weekend? http://www.alec.org/meetings/spring-task-force-summit-2013/ Democracy cannot survive without a functioning press. Please watch. Please share. More links and info below.
What ALEC does is criminal, and it needs to be stopped. Please click on the links below for more information on how you can help:
Visit AlecExposed to view the model legislation and learn more about ALEC:
Sign a petition to get corporations out of ALEC:
Read here why ALEC should have its 501 c3 tax status revoked:
Go here for regular ALEC-related updates:
Ritz Carlton meeting -
Stand Your Ground law-
The ALEC scholarhip fund (an example):
ALEC corporate PAC spending:
CCA, Russell Pearce, SB 1070 and ALEC:
Fracking fluids, XTO, disclosure requirements and ALEC:
Voter ID laws, other methods of disenfranchisement, the 5 million Americans and ALEC:
Rep. Greg Forristall Ignores Public Records Request, Claims All Iowa Legislators are ALEC Members
Des Moines, Iowa — Rep. Greg Forristall ignored a request to release information about the May 2-3 meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where he will serve as Chair of the Education Task Force, according to correspondence released by Progress Iowa today. Forristall also claimed that all Iowa legislators are members of ALEC, despite reports to the contrary from members of the Iowa House and Senate.
“Representative Forristall failed to meet his own definition of participatory democracy,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “In order for Forristall’s constituents and all Iowans to fully participate in the democratic process – which he claims to want – the Representative should release all documents related to the ALEC meeting in May, as well as information detailing how much of our tax dollars are being spent to fund this secretive organization.”
The records request was sent in part as a response to a column Forristall wrote last month defending ALEC. Progress Iowa has engaged in a longstanding effort to educate the public about ALEC, which has been described as a “corporate bill mill” by local and national media due to the influence it grants to corporations with legislators.
Rep. Forristall’s column, published in the Des Moines Register on March 20, 2013, described the “participatory” nature of government, and described ALEC as having a “voluntary membership.” Despite what he wrote, Forristall chose to ignore a request to make public documents that would shed light on the otherwise secret activities of ALEC. The Iowa Supreme Court has denoted the House is exempt from disclosing the data Progress Iowa is seeking.
In an email message to Rep. Forristall on April 17, Progress Iowa’s Executive Director Matt Sinovic requested that he release the following information: any “35-Day Mailing” from ALEC (they typically send a mailing 35 days prior to their meeting with information about upcoming proposals); the roster of ALEC members in Iowa; the roster of membership in Forristall’s education task force; financial records detailing payments from the State of Iowa to ALEC for the payment of membership dues and any other payments.
Forristall responded with just one sentence, ignoring the remainder of the requests: “Mr. Sinovic, All Senate and House members of the Iowa Legislature are members of ALEC, NCSL, and CSG.” However, the Iowa House Democratic caucus sent a request before the legislative session that none their members join ALEC. During the past several years House members have automatically been “opted in” to ALEC membership, and their request was meant to pre-empt that membership and any taxpayer funded dues associated with membership.
Progress Iowa is asking all Iowans to contact Rep. Forristall to ask him to live up to his definition of participatory democracy, and release the requested information about ALEC membership and the May 2-3 meeting in Oklahoma City. For more information visit progressiowa.org.
Here’s more video from last week’s press event to highlight the completion of the ALEC in Iowa report. Featured in this video: Matt Sinovec, ProgressIowa; Lisa Graves, Center for Media and Democracy; Peter Fisher, Iowa Policy Project, and State Senator Joe Bolkcom. Click here to read the complete report about how corporations are writing laws, pushing them off on your state representative whose re-election campaign they likely support financially, who then passes it off to you and fellow Iowans as a home-grown bill. These ALEC McBills have nothing to do with what is best for Iowa. Contact your state representative or state senator to find out if he or she is a member of ALEC.
Matt Sinovic, ProgressIowa
*UPDATE: CLICK HERE TO READ THE REPORT RELEASED TODAY
Des Moines, Iowa — Local and national leaders will speak out on Tuesday, March 12th about the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, and its influence on Iowa’s legislative process. Lisa Graves, the executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy and publisher of ALECexposed.org, Senator Joe Bolkcom, chair of the national Progressive States Network, and Peter Fisher, research director for the Iowa Policy Project, will attend and participate on an expert panel about ALEC, a group that has been described as “stealth lobbyists” for its clandestine pursuit of a corporate agenda across the country.
In partnership with Center for Media and Democracy and Common Cause, the event will feature a screening of the Bill Moyers program “United States of ALEC” and a new research report entitled “ALEC Exposed in Iowa,” scheduled for release on Tuesday morning. Key findings in the report include:
- A detailed listing of the more than $500,000 in campaign donations from ALEC member corporations to ALEC members in Iowa, including more than $200,000 to Governor Terry Branstad, a founding member of ALEC.
- The secretive nature of ALEC’s taxpayer-funded membership in Iowa due to a lack of transparency in the Iowa legislature
- Examples of ALEC ‘model’ bills, written by and for corporate interests, then introduced by Iowa legislators
- Ongoing efforts to shed light on the influence of ALEC in Iowa
Iowa State Capitol, Room 22, Des Moines, Iowa
Tuesday, March 12th, 12:00 – 1:00 PM
ALEC is a Washington DC based group funded almost entirely by corporations, big business associations, insurance companies, and the super-rich. ALEC was formed in 1973 by a group of conservative activists who came together to advance a national corporate agenda in state legislatures across the country. Among the founders of ALEC was now-Governor Terry Branstad.
ALEC is made up of more than 300 corporate and 2,000 legislative members, the overwhelming majority of them Republicans, who work outside of the public view to approve ‘model’ legislation to increase corporate profits at public expense and promote a conservative national agenda.
Contact Matt Sinovec, 515-423-0530
The event will include:
- Screening of the Bill Moyers program “United States of ALEC”
- Release of a new research report, “ALEC Exposed in Iowa”
- An expert panel on the influence of ALEC across the country and in Iowa, featuring:
Lisa Graves Executive Director of Center for Media & Democracy
Joe Bolkcom, State Senator
Peter Fisher, Iowa Policy Project
Executive Director | Progress Iowa
A new report from the Iowa Policy Project and Good Jobs First is warning folks around the country to take note: Ideas for bad public policy have friends in state legislatures, and Iowa is no exception. Here’s what IPP sent out last week:
One purveyor of those bad ideas is a corporate-oriented outfit called the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. That organization puts out a report annually called Rich States, Poor States, ranking states for their adherence to what ALEC likes to tell people are policies that promote growth. One problem: They don’t promote growth. And now Iowans and residents of other states have a research-based resource that will help them to sort fact from fiction when the traveling medicine show rolls into their state capitals.
That resource is the new report from IPP’s Peter Fisher and GJF’s Greg LeRoy and Philip Mattera, who dissect the ALEC report and not only expose its flawed methodology, but show what happens when you look at all 50 states and how well (or poorly) they actually do on important economic measures when they follow the ALEC formula.
The report by IPP and Good Jobs First is not an academic exercise; the Iowa General Assembly starts up again in January, and ideas about what’s ahead already are circulating. The report shows that when politicians are peddling tax cuts as a sure path to economic prosperity, it’s time to check the bottle for the ingredients. Snake oil is going to be at the top of the list.
Here are links to resources on the IPP website and blog:
A link to the full report (PDF): http://www.iowafiscal.org/2012docs/121128-snakeoiltothestates.pdf
Peter Fisher’s blog post on Iowa Policy Points: http://iowapolicypoints.org/2012/11/29/states-should-beware-alec-brand-snake-oil/
ALEC’s rankings are based on arguments and evidence that range from deeply flawed to nonexistent, consistently ignoring decades of peer-reviewed academic research.
What we know from research is that the composition of a state’s economy — whether it has disproportionate shares of high-growth or low-growth industries — is a far better predictor of a state’s relative success over the past five years. Public policy makers need to stick to the basics and recognize that public services that benefit all employers.
We are seeing a lot of attention from around the country, as we noted above. On Saturday, Bill Moyers posted about it on Facebook:
A new study shows that recommendations from ALEC, the pro-corporate organization we investigate in this week’s rebroadcast, have a negative impact on state economies.
And other folks around the country are seeing the connections between ALEC and political proposals, and noting the IPP/GJF perspective. See these links:
Finally, if you agree that work like this is important to helping Iowans engage in the policy debates at our State Capitol, please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Iowa Policy Project. You can donate securely online at the link below. There’s no better way to greet the medicine show when it rolls into the capital city than with strong messages backed by good research in support of the investments that represent Iowa values.
20 E. Market St. • Iowa City, IA 52245
(319) 338-0773 • ipp@Lcom.net
[Note from BFIA editor: See links to our previous posts about ALEC on Blog for Iowa below]
Iowa’s Voter Id Bill can be found here: http://coolice.legis.state.ia.us/Cool-ICE/default.asp?Category=billinfo&Service=Billbook&ga=84&hbill=HF95
ALEC Exposed: http://alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed
ALEC Voter ID Act Template: http://alecexposed.org/w/images/d/d9/7G16-VOTER_ID_ACT_Exposed.pdf
American Legislative Exchange Council: http://www.alec.org/
Previously on Blog for Iowa
All House Democrats have resigned membership in ALEC.
And directly from the ALEC.org page:
To find more articles about ALEC on Blog for Iowa, click on the category “ALEC” in the left-hand sidebar.