Did ALEC steal our democracy or buy it?
Have you ever wondered how many states suddenly pass similar bills to block climate change agreements, or make it tougher for people to sue large companies for personal harm, or enable the privatization of schools and prisons at taxpayer expense, or do away with employee collective bargaining rights?
Knowing about ALEC or American Legislative Exchange Council answers many of these questions.
ALEC describes itself as “America’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism. Comprised of nearly one-quarter of the country’s state legislators and stakeholders…”
Here’s another definition: ALEC is the most influential, corporate funded political organization you never heard of. One with a corporate take on what life in America should look like from health and safety, to the environment and taxation.
This scam involves our legislators, corporations, campaign donations, resort style vacations, and nearly 1,000 model bills per year drafted for our elected officials by corporations…bills that often turn up as legislation, pushing a corporate agenda.
In state capitols across America hundreds of pieces of boilerplate ALEC legislation are voted upon annually that would, among other things, make it harder for some Americans to vote, and dismantle the public school system – each accomplished without the public ever knowing who’s behind it.
ALEC’s power to promote a corporate agenda can also be used to preempt citizen-driven local laws, like initiatives – or simply just take away our right to the initiative process. For me, this is the scariest part about ALEC. A citizen’s initiative is often our last resort to finding a remedy that represents the interests of the people.
Say you want to start an initiative to put legislation into effect in your local area to protect a river from a factory that is polluting it upstream. But what if your state has already passed an ALEC-written bill that preempts your ability to file this petition on the local level?
Why can ALEC an organization that influences legislators, operate without registering as a lobbying effort but rather as a tax deductible non-profit? How is it our rights have been removed courtesy of your very own legislators who are working on behalf of ALEC’s corporate sponsors? How can these unethical campaign donations be legal and not considered bribery with jail sentences attached?
This is not the democracy our founding mothers and fathers gave their lives to preserve, but rather a cheaper, dirtier version with a for ALEC sale sign on the lawn.
Bill Moyers and a few others who support independent journalism put together a (30 min) documentary on ALEC. We can’t stop this scheme if we don’t know about it…pass it on.
Watch it here: http://billmoyers.com/segment/united-states-of-alec/
Then go look up who in your state is an ALEC politician:http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=ALEC_Politicians