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The American Legislative Exchange Council is the 800 pound Gorilla in the room. Peeling back the onion on this self proclaimed ‘largest non partisan public-private association of state legislators’ is revealing. The outer layer suggests ALEC is a predominantly comprised of public sector members endorsing the interests of the general public. In actuality, if one follows the money, the public sector accounts for 1% of the organization’s annual revenue. Although the membership consists of thousands of State Legislators, in fact it is bankrolled by corporate America. Therefore, in effect, it places the State Legislators in the same room with the special interest of corporate industry.
As one delves deeper into the onion, it would appear to the objective observer, a link exists with respect to the enactment of legislation and the ties that bind ALEC. Indeed, one can come to the conclusion; this organization is the ghostwriter for over 100 laws enacted into State Capitols. The lobbying and ghostwriting behind the scenes is allied with the corporate defense firm Shook, Hardy and Bacon. This particular law firm is widely recognized for its strong ties with the Big Pharmaceutical and Tobacco industries. Although ALEC claims non partisanship, one needs only to visit their webpage to see for themselves; The banner under their logo reads; Limited Government, Free Market and Federalism. Clearly, upon further review, the site touts their pro business position and their agenda becomes apparent.
One has to ask, who is affiliated with this organization, which simply is flying under the radar? The website boasts, former speakers of the December 2010 National summit, supplementing video of names that may be familiar; Herman Cain, Eric Cantor, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry among others. Although that in itself is not evidence of corroboration against the people, and could be explained as a public appearance for speaking fees, given the agenda of ALEC and the current environment in D.C. suggests otherwise. The reasonable person most likely comes to a completely different conclusion. As for me, that is where my interest peaks. It is that particular layer of the onion that does it for me every time. It is the layer of the onion where one discovers what is behind the scenes. It is the layer that leads to an agenda, of those controlling those in a position of power; or as I prefer to call them, the Puppet Masters.
So, as questions often lead to further questions, one inevitably comes to suspicions confirmed; Charles and David Koch. An article by John Nichols of the Nation Magazine, “ALEC Exposed: The Koch Connection”, sheds some light upon the agenda and funding of this mysterious organization. “The Koch Brothers, big tobacco, insurance companies, and the drug industry: all behind the shadowy corporate front group known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). To access legislators to distribute radical legislation that puts corporate interests over American workers and consumers.”
So, upon inspection of ALEC’s legislative campaigns, the common denominator is a corporate revenue stream at the expense of the consumer. The American Legislative Exchange Council has worked on the following projects for corporate America.
- Oil companies to undermine climate change proponents;
- Pharmaceutical manufacturers, arguing that states should be banned from importing prescription drugs;
- Telecom firms to block local authorities from offering cheap or free municipally-owned broadband;
- Insurance companies to prevent state insurance commissioners from requiring insurers to meet strengthened accounting and auditing rules;
- Big banks, recommending that seniors be forced to give up their homes via reverse mortgages in order to receive Medicaid;
- The asbestos industry, trying to shut the courthouse door to Americans suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases; and,
- Enron to deregulate the utility industries, which eventually caused the U.S. to lose what the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) estimated as $5 trillion in market value.
It is reputed the Koch’s have provided a seven digit figure over the course of many years. Indeed, Koch Industries have been a corporate board member of ALEC for nearly two decades. The Koch’s have a history of paying their way out of serious Environmental violations. It is widely held; Governor George W. Bush signed a bill into law minimizing environmental liability and regulation, as per Koch order. As a vice presidential candidate in 1980, David Koch’s platform supported privatizing public schools. Americans for Prosperity, yet another Koch product, subsidizes the Tea Party movement. Further projects also include Citizens for a Sound Economy, which helped fuel the passage of NAFTA. CSE is also the group attempting to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act which prevents banks from gambling in financial securities.
If the layers of ALEC don’t bring tears to your eyes, consider this: The Supreme Court recently decided in the Citizens United case that corporation funding is protected under the 1st Amendment and cannot be limited. So, and this is the point the onion got to me, with the top 1% controlling more wealth than the bottom 90%, where does that leave the average American? My suggestion is simply this…Get out the Vote. If ALEC and the Koch Boys have their way, We the People will be turned away at the polling booths.