ALEC: One Stop Shopping For Legislation Meant To Be Shared By Each And Every State! ALEC Writes Our Laws!

Follow The Money

The Coordination And Sharing Of Laws! Good For One, Good For All!

06/02/2011 When Wisconsin has a new law that destroys collective bargaining, how does that same law almost instantaneously show up in ten other statehouses? When Florida presents anti-abortion legislation, why are 25 other states doing the same thing at the same time? When Michigan decides that it is a good idea to privatize, well, everything, why do other state legislatures follow suit so quickly? For years, I thought this was just dumb luck or even some kind of political ESP, or maybe even some sort of wild conspiracy theory, but then thought I was being foolish! How could states be reading from the same playbook? Could it be possible that there was a conspiracy? No! More than likely, I concluded, it was dumb luck!

Not only is it not dumb luck, it is a well-orchestrated, well-financed, corporate conspiracy that has successfully infiltrated every state legislature in the United States. The legislation that you see repeated daily in states across the country is actually from a playbook brought to America by way of ALEC, a group that seeks to influence legislation that benefits corporations and seeks to rob consumers and the electorate.

ALEC is short for the American Legislative Exchange Council. It is a not-for-profit (aren't they all?) organization designed to be a one-stop shopping experience for state legislators. The legislation offered by ALEC is usually always geared to the advancement of corporate interests and the laws are actually written by corporate lobbyists. Shocked? No? Nothing shocks me anymore, either. The idea that real statesmen might still exist would be a more shocking premise. ALEC has its grubby hands in every single legislative body in this country. They are so blatantly outrageous that their website shows each legislator chairperson that handles and promotes "friendly" corporate laws. The legislative contact for each state is also the legislative sell-out.

ALEC was founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich, who also helped found the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority. It has been reported that the major funders are the Koch Foundation, Exxon Mobil, the Coors family and several other ultra right-wing corporate interests. Their list of board members are from AT&T, Wal-Mart, Johnson & Johnson, State Farm, Bayer, Coca-Cola, etc.

Legislative exchange are the key words for this non-profit, because that is precisely what they do. The lobbyists write the legislation that they would like to see passed and then, through the elected representatives in each state, personalize it for each state and pass it around. It really is an exchange. ALEC's website will let you know the names of the legislators from your state that 'work' with them to promote ALEC's product.

How Insidious Is ALEC? The Current Laws That Come From ALEC!

ALEC says they do not lobby. That is how they get away with maintaining their non-profit status. They simply write the legislation and the mostly Republican legislators (only 3 are Democrats) from all of the different states then present the bills in their respective statehouses and pass them off as their own. It is similar to buying a term paper or hiring another student to write your term paper for you. In school, it is called cheating. In America, it is called a non-profit organization.

ALEC is not ashamed of their activities. ALEC is proud of the fact that their lobbyists and corporate members are the authors of most of the legislation pending or passed in every state. Their own website touts the fact that they are directly responsible for :

  • Voter ID bills being passed that tighten registration requirements and disenfranchise up to 20 million voters. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, over 20 million will be disenfranchised by the new laws. They are mainly students, the elderly, the poor and the disabled.
  • The bills that have assaulted and destroyed collective bargaining rights in states such as Wisconsin and Michigan. ALEC stands behind laws that would roll-back employee protections, worker's compensation and even do away with the minimum wage.
  • The bills that eliminate pension plans and turn them into 401K's.
  • The bills designed to overturn the Affordable Care Act. ALEC offers each state a "Guide to Repealing Obamacare".
  • The bills that eliminate environmental protections. Not only are the bills already written(ALEC says they have 15 model bills), the state legislators can work with ALEC's task force to launch an all out assault on EPA rules and regulations.
  • The bills that lower corporate tax rates. In fact, to assist in this effort, ALEC has written the "State Budget Reform Tool Kit". It is a must have for states that want to lower taxes for the wealthy and raise taxes for the middle class and poor.
  • The bills that strip education of funding and decimate local control of schools.

This list could go on and on. It includes prison reform legislation, legislation designed to "protect innocent corporations from liability for asbestos poisoning", how states can effectively market pharmaceuticals, as well as "how to privatize" almost every sector of government, along with instructions on how to frame the bills to make them sound as advantageous as possible.

ALEC itself, says that the organization is responsible for at least 1,000 bills a year that are introduced in every statehouse. From ALEC: " ALEC's far-reaching national network of state legislators that crosses geographic and political boundaries, and affects all levels of government, is without equal. No other organization in America today can claim as many valuable assets-both people and ideas-that have influence on as many key decision-making centers."

Far- reaching? If this organization is responsible for 1,000 bills a year, they are more far-reaching than I would like to think.

Who Are These Lawmakers That Create Our Laws?

ALEC boasts of over 2,000 members. Private sector membership can range in price from $7,000 per year to join the Washington Club all the way up to $25,000 per year for the Jefferson Club. Without giving the names of their board members, I will just list the corporations each member of the Private Enterprise Board represents:

  • Bayer
  • Glaxo-Smith-Kline
  • Reynolds
  • Wal-Mart
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Energy Future Holdings
  • PhRMA
  • Kraft Foods
  • American Bail Coalition
  • Pfizer
  • Reed-Elsevier
  • DIAGEO
  • AT&T
  • Peabody Energy
  • UPS
  • Intuit, Inc
  • Koch Brothers
  • Coca-Cola
  • Altria Client Services
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Salt River Project
  • State Farm Insurance Company
  • Centerpoint 360

Were these the people you elected to write your laws? Think I was better off when I thought the coordination was dumb luck. How about you?

Your Very Own ALEC Representatives!

Your ALEC State Chairmen represent ALEC in each of their home states. The key words here are "REPRESENT ALEC". If any of them ALSO suggest they represent you, question them as to their jobs as chairmen for ALEC. Know who they are and what they stand for and promote:

Alabama

  • Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin

Alaska

  • Rep. Wes Keller


Arizona

  • Rep. Debbie Lesko

Arkansas

  • Rep. Linda Collins-Smith
  • Sen. Michael Lamoureux


California

  • Sen. Joel C. Anderson

Colorado

  • Sen. Bill L. Cadman
  • Rep. B.J. Nikkel


Connecticut

  • Rep. DebraLee Hovey
  • Sen. Kevin D. Witkos

Delaware

  • Rep. Daniel B. Short


Florida

  • Rep. Jimmy T. Patronis, Jr.

Georgia

  • Rep. Calvin Hill, Jr.
  • Sen. Chip Rogers


Hawaii

  • Rep. Gene Ward

Idaho

  • Sen. Patti Anne Lodge


Illinois

  • Sen. Kirk W. Dillard
  • Rep. Renée Kosel

Indiana

  • Sen. Jim Buck
  • Rep. David A. Wolkins


Iowa

  • Rep. Linda J. Miller

Kansas

  • Sen. Ray Merrick


Kentucky

  • Sen. Tom Buford
  • Rep. Mike Harmon

Louisiana

  • Rep. George G. Cromer


Maine

  • Sen. Richard W. Rosen

Maryland

  • Del. Michael Hough
  • Sen. Christopher Shank


Massachusetts

  • Vacant

Michigan

  • Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker


Minnesota

  • Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer

Mississippi

  • Rep. Jim Ellington


Missouri

  • Rep. Timothy W. Jones
  • Rep. Jason T. Smith
  • Rep. Jim C. Ellington

Montana

  • Rep. Gary MacLaren
  • Rep. Scott M. Reichner


Nebraska

Nevada

  • Sen. Barbara Cegavske


New Hampshire

  • Rep. Gary L. Daniels
  • Rep. Jordan G. Ulery

New Jersey

  • Sen. Steve Oroho
  • Hon. Jay Webber


New Mexico

  • Rep. Paul C. Bandy
  • Sen. Kent L. Cravens

New York

  • Sen. Owen Johnson


North Carolina

  • Rep. Fred F. Steen

North Dakota

  • Rep. Alan H. Carlson
  • Rep. Blair B. Thoreson


Ohio

  • Rep. John P. Adams

Oklahoma

  • Rep. Gary W. Banz
  • Sen. John W. Ford


Oregon

  • Rep. C. Gene Whisnant

Pennsylvania

  • Rep. John R. Evans


Rhode Island

  • Sen. Francis T. Maher, Jr.
  • Sen. Leo Blais

South Carolina

  • Rep. Liston Barfield
  • Sen. Raymond E. Cleary III


South Dakota

  • Sen. Deb Peters
  • Rep. Valentine B. Rausch

Tennessee

  • Rep. Curry Todd


Texas

  • Rep. Charlie Howard
  • Rep. Jim Jackson
  • Sen. Kel Seliger

Utah

  • Sen. Curtis S. Bramble
  • Sen. Wayne L. Niederhauser


Vermont

  • Sen. Kevin J. Mullin

Virginia

  • Del. John A. Cosgrove, Jr.
  • Sen. Stephen H. Martin


Washington

  • Rep. Jan Angel
  • Sen. Don Benton

West Virginia

  • Del. Eric L. Householder


Wisconsin

  • Rep. Robin J. Vos

Wyoming

  • Rep. Peter S. Illoway

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Comments 15 comments

HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Once again a great and informative Hub. I am not surprised to hear about it. It all falls under this Conservative cabal that has been working its poison for many years now. I suspect the Koch Brothers are at the bottom of this. The good news is this coordinated group of policies has sent these Governors approval ratings plumetting. All of this bodes very well for 2012. Thanks for writing this Jillian.


Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA Author

Dear HSchneider,

I have heard of ALEC but never thought much about them. Not til I started doing the research. The Koch Brothers are among their largest contributors, of course!


PETER LUMETTA profile image

PETER LUMETTA 5 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

Jillian, does it never end? It seems that it is a different country on a different planet that you write about daily. I am not there and the more I read the less I want to be a part of this. As always you make people think and wonder what the hell is going on? Keep it up. Peter


Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA Author

Dear Peter,

I have to admit, that as much as I stay in touch with current events, I was unfamiliar with ALEC for most of my 57 years. It was probably better that way! Now, I have to find the other shadow groups, so that even more of my faith in free government can be destroyed.


PETER LUMETTA profile image

PETER LUMETTA 5 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

Better to die with your eyes wide open than to live with your eyes totally shut.


Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA Author

Dear Peter,

Thank you! How true! You have managed to put it into perspective. Sometimes I wonder if eyes closed is better, but I know that is definitely not me- you either, apparently! Must be that stubborn Italian stock we come from!


chefsref profile image

chefsref 5 years ago from Citra Florida

Hey Jillian, Excellent article, I suspect this is why they say ignorance is bliss,I never heard of ALEC up to now. The more research you do the less this country seems like America. We've been sliding into fascism since before WWII,and the Fascists seem to be winning. When will "we the people" take control back from business? When we are educated by people like you and articles like this. Thanx

Up and Awesome!


Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA Author

Thank you, Chef Lee,

ALEC has scared me, too. Thought I could not be shocked anymore. I was wrong!

Seems like most of these groups got their start around the mid-70's, early 80's, centered around most of the same group of people. They all branched out...


Credence2 profile image

Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

"it is a well-orchestrated, well-financed, corporate conspiracy that has successfully infiltrated every state legislature in the United States"

Yes, indeed, Jillian, they are working on it, this is frightening stuff, government is for sale and so is the middle class. This infection is spreading like wildfire while everyone else goes about business as usual. Could I say that this is going on is state legislatures dominated by the GOP, solely?

Thanks for keeping us all informed.....


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

Thank you Jillian. I had begun an article on this very same insidious organization. You've done such a thorough presentation, I feel free to go on to something else. There just isn't enough time in the day to expose all the schemes, lies and trickery.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK

Hi Jillian - when I read your hubs, (although I'm neither familiar with names nor abreast of the facts), you remind me of the Robert Burns' poem/song - A Parcel of Rogues in a Nation. The Corries sang it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO1bp5fTbIg

This isn’t necessarily an anti-English sentiment because ‘the people’ of England have never had any say in the use/abuse of ‘English gold’.

Anyway, such treachery will no doubt always surface where there’s complacency and self-aggrandisement., but your continued hubbing can do nothing but good for your compatriots.


PETER LUMETTA profile image

PETER LUMETTA 5 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA


Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA Author

From Daily Kos is a letter that you may copy and paste and email to your state reps:

Honorable XXXXX XXXXXXX, Office, District, Full address, City, State Zip

Dear Sen (or Rep) XXXXXXX,

It has come to my attention that there is an organization known as The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that has gained enormous power in American politics, specifically at the state level. This organization is known to work behind the scenes, will not disclose its rank and file membership, will not disclose its funders, and will not disclose the principal product of its work, which is Model Legislation.

I see this as a dangerous practice because such failure to disclose who writes and sponsors legislation in our 50 state capitols is a serious breach of transparency which our laws and constitution demands of all legislators. Every voter in our state deserves to be advised of who is writing our laws, the interests behind the laws, and whether they favor special interests at the expense of the residents, voters and taxpayers of our state. My first question is;

Are you a member of ALEC, yes or no?

If Yes, when did you join?

Have you ever sponsored, or co-sponsored legislation written or partially written by ALEC?

Please identify all ALEC written legislation you have sponsored or co-sponsored.

ALEC has a series of conferences and workshops throughout the year. The next event is the Annual Meeting which is to be held in New Orleans, LA August 3-6, 2011.

Do you intend to attend this event?

If you attend this event, will you be traveling at Taxpayer expense, Yes or No?

If you will be traveling at ALEC expense, please identify how much this is costing ALEC for your travel, lodging, meals and other considerations (golf outings and the like).

If you are not traveling to the New Orleans conference, do you intend to join via teleconference or video link?

Please explain how legislation written by Washington DC Lawyers, Washington DC Lobbyists, and Corporate interests, some of which do not do business in our state, represents the interests of the residents, voters and Taxpayers of our state better than legislation written by our elected legislators. If you are a member of ALEC or any other organization which has a hand in writing the laws of our state, please verify that your listing in the legislative website correctly states this affiliation. Legislative transparency demands this.

I want to know who is writing the laws of my state, and I want to know why outsiders think they know more about our problems than our elected representatives do. In closing, I am very serious about wanting to know who is writing and influencing the legislation that is enacted in our state. Please respond seriously.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Address,

email if desired

Phone

If the letter is too long, revise it!


progressivist profile image

progressivist 4 years ago

Thank you for a brilliant article! Did you know that in Florida, one lawmaker apparently forgot to remove the ALEC identifying legislation, and entered the bill with the ALEC philosophy, etc. at the bottom, intact?

In fact, ALEC has a scandalous amount of influence on state legislatures. It is time to end this secret political organization once and for all!


Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 4 years ago from California, USA Author

Dear Progressivist,

I wholeheartedly agree! Either get rid of ALEC or get rid of the state legislators! We certainly don't need both!

I think it is absolutely awesome that the legislator in Florida forgot to remove ALEC's name from 'his' legislation. What a moron!

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