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Posts Tagged ‘Terry Branstad and ALEC’

Should Iowans Hear Gov. Branstad’s Speech to ALEC?

email inboxFrom Matt Sinovic of Progress Iowa, Aug. 5, 2013.

The Speech Gov. Terry Branstad Doesn’t Want You to Know About

Branstad to deliver private address this week at the annual meeting of ALEC, the “stealth corporate lobbyist” front group

DES MOINES– Governor Terry Branstad will deliver a featured address this week at the 40th annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). However, his speech to the controversial organization has not been publicized by the governor and is not listed on his public schedule.

“It’s no surprise that the governor wants to keep this a secret,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “The more the public learns about ALEC and their secretive influence in our legislature, the more controversial it becomes. But despite his desire for political cover, the governor should be inviting the public to participate in the democratic process, not attempting to deceive them.”

“The public has a right to know what the governor is saying to this controversial group, whether tax dollars are being spent on his trip to Chicago, and what other legislators are attending the meeting. Unfortunately, as a founding member, the governor has played a major role in ALEC’s 40-year effort to undermine democracy, and it appears he will continue those efforts this week.”

Branstad’s picture appears on the ALEC website as a featured speaker, with no date or time listed for the general public to attend. In the past, ALEC meetings have been closed to the general public despite the use of Iowa tax dollars for legislative memberships in the organization.

ALEC has received mounting criticism over the past year and a half, due to their promotion of legislation such as the “shoot first” laws that gained national attention after the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida. In Iowa, ALEC has provided model legislation to suppress voter rights, withdraw from regional environmental partnerships, and require intellectual diversity reporting from our college campuses.

Branstad is a founding member of ALEC, the group media has called a stealth corporate lobbyist for its secretive influence and extreme conservative agenda. Branstad received ALEC’s Pioneer Award in 1996 and has received more than $200,000 in campaign donations from ALEC’s corporate funders.

In March of this year, Progress Iowa released ALEC Exposed in Iowa, a report detailing the history and influence of the organization in our state. To read the full report, click here.

Branstad’s Hero Scott Walker Coming To Town

scott walker truth

THURSDAY: Progress Iowa and One Wisconsin Now to Hold “Scott Walker Truth Squad” Before Appearance at Polk County GOP Dinner in West Des Moines

DES MOINES — Progress Iowa and One Wisconsin Now will hold a “Scott Walker Truth Squad” in advance of Wisconsin Governor Walker’s appearance with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad at a Polk County GOP fundraiser on Thursday, May 23rd in West Des Moines. The event on Thursday will pre-empt their propaganda and give Iowans the truth about their failed attempts to create jobs and their policies that put working and middle class families at risk.

“When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker joins Governor Branstad in Iowa on Thursday to promote his dangerous anti-middle class agenda, we’ll be there to fight back with the truth,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “Governor Branstad has said he’s ‘inspired’ by Walker, which must be why he has wasted our tax dollars on giveaways to foreign corporations and puts the needs of working Iowans dead last. We want Governor Branstad and every Iowan to know the truth about Scott Walker’s policies and the disastrous impact they have on working families.”

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “As he pursues his ambition for higher office Gov. Walker is spinning yarns of his Wisconsin ‘success’. But Scott Walker has one the worst job creation records in the nation and Wisconsin is rated dead last in short term job creation prospects, he enacted the biggest cuts to public education in state history and is now pushing a health care scheme that costs more to cover fewer people. The numbers don’t lie, the real Walker resume is a record of failure.”

WHAT: Scott Walker Truth Squad

WHO: Progress Iowa & One Wisconsin Now

WHEN: Thursday, May 23rd, 5:00 PM

WHERE: Sheraton Hotel, Chambers Room; 1800 50th St, West Des Moines, IA, 50266


Progress Iowa is a statewide, multi-issue advocacy organization focused on research, education, and promoting progressive values for a better Iowa. For more information visit

Invitation to Polk County GOP event featuring Governors Walker and Branstad

Branstad inspired to follow Wisconsin’s lead



Report: ALEC Has Significant Influence Over Iowa Legislators

ALEC: How Bad Public Policy Finds Friends In State Legislatures

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:

Our news release:

A link to the full report (PDF):

Peter Fisher’s blog post on Iowa Policy Points:

An excerpt:

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.

Moyers also reposted an article in Mother Jones by Erika Eichelberger, who wrote our report about the ALEC rankings.

And other folks around the country are seeing the connections between ALEC and political proposals, and noting the IPP/GJF perspective. See these links:



Dayton Daily News:

Tulsa World:

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 •


[Note from BFIA editor:  See links to our previous posts about ALEC on Blog for Iowa below]

More info.

Iowa’s Voter Id Bill can be found here:

ALEC Exposed:

ALEC Voter ID Act Template:

American Legislative Exchange Council:

Previously on Blog for Iowa

Every member of the [Iowa] [update] House Republican delegation is a member of ALEC by virtue of not opting out of such membership. Membership dues are paid by the state, that is, by taxpayer money. 

All House Democrats have resigned membership in ALEC.

And directly from the page:

Terry Branstad, founding member of ALEC

To find more articles about ALEC on Blog for Iowa, click on the category “ALEC” in the left-hand sidebar.