Thursday, April 12, 2012

ALEC's Grip on Government Slipping

I'd been reading about several giant corporate backers of a private nationwide organization - ALEC - which has been steadily writing legislation and getting states to pass them by having members of state legislators become 'board members' of ALEC - and that recently these huge companies are dropping their support for ALEC.

For one reason, thanks to online writers, the dirty details of what ALEC has been doing got told. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation dropped away from supporting ALEC, mainly due to Voter ID laws and the now-notorious Stand Your Ground law.

And the Foundation isn't alone - Kraft Foods, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Intuit, McDonald's, Wendy's -- all have stopped the support and made sure the press and the online world knows it. It's good news, but it's quite telling that for many years, these companies have been working hard to increase their control of our cities and towns and our nation as a whole. Two of the best blog writers in Tennessee took up the story today:

R. Neal at KnoxViews: "State Reps. Curry Todd and Steve McDaniel are members of the illustrious ALEC Board of Directors, and Todd is ALEC's Tennessee state chairman. You may recall that Rep. Todd recently helped kill the "Influence Disclosure Act" that would would have required disclosing the source of astroturf legislation such as ALEC's."

Southern Beale: "But as ALEC and the Chamber wade into the weeds of extremist ideology, they’re alienating some of their biggest corporate supporters, whose profits depend on being a little less reactionary and appealing to a broad range of consumers."

ALEC, The American Legislative Exchange Council, is a hardcore conservative group, with more than 2,000 state legislators from all 50 states (about  one-third of all existing legislators), some 85 members of Congress and 14 sitting or previous governors. They've been steadily cranking out what they innocently call "model legislation". Pre-written and crafted for easy passage, these bills touch nearly every aspect of your life and of government and get handed out to members and they file the bills in state after state. As Neal pointed out, Rep. Curry killed a law to require legislators disclose how and who funds or writes legislation they present. ALEC demands secrecy, but the secret is finally out.

Repairing the damage done by a national, self-serving and deceptive campaign meant to erase each state's government will take too many years and hours -- and electing new legislators not yet addicted to the corporate trough. As of now, ALEC will fight to keep the power they've taken - and they'll seek other ways to move and act in secret by forming new groups with new names not yet tarnished with deception.


  1. I wouldn't get too excited about this. They've already made great gains in their goal of making sure that millions will be barred from voting, and those in need of assistance will be humiliated through forced drug testing. Why aren't gun owners required to be drug-tested randomly? After all, carrying around a lethal weapon should have some constriction when the owner might be whacked out on drugs or synthetics!

    They've made sure that fraidy-cats can carry guns around and shoot people with no recourse by claiming they were threatened.
    Keep up the pressure, but there is no victory.

  2. yes, JW, the damage as been done, as I wrote in the last paragraph above. they are re-grouping, certainly, but with this kind of new attention also arises the opportunity to reverse the recent laws accepted by legislaturess --- and that means each of us have to push for change.