tWho’s Really Behind Recent Republican Legislation in Wisconsin and Elsewhere? (Hint: It Didn’t Start Here)
March 15, 2011 A Study Guide for Those Wishing to Know More
"After watching the sudden and impressively well-organized wave of legislation being introduced into state legislatures that all seem to be pursuing parallel goals only tangentially related to current fiscal challenges–ending collective bargaining rights for public employees, requiring photo IDs at the ballot box, rolling back environmental protections, privileging property rights over civil rights, and so on–I’ve found myself wondering where all of this legislation is coming from...."
"Telling Your State Legislators What to Do: The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
The most important group, I’m pretty sure, is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which was founded in 1973 by Henry Hyde, Lou Barnett, and (surprise, surprise) Paul Weyrich. Its goal for the past forty years has been to draft “model bills” that conservative legislators can introduce in the 50 states. Its website claims that in each legislative cycle, its members introduce 1000 pieces of legislation based on its work, and claims that roughly 18% of these bills are enacted into law. (Among them was the controversial 2010 anti-immigrant law in Arizona.)
If you’re as impressed by these numbers as I am, I’m hoping you’ll agree with me that it may be time to start paying more attention to ALEC and the bills its seeks to promote.
You can start by studying ALEC’s own website. Begin with its home page at
First visit the “About” menu to get a sense of the organization’s history and its current members and funders. But the meat of the site is the “model legislation” page, which is the gateway to the hundreds of bills that ALEC has drafted for the benefit of its conservative members.
You’ll of course be eager to look these over…but you won’t be able to, because you’re not a member..."
The author, William Roman, is not a democrat - he's a moderate independent, and a respected historian by trade. If the name seems familiar, he wrote an op-ed for the NY Times worth a read. (That's an understatement.)
However, this post quotes from Professor Roman''s blog, and the mere mention of the ALEC and how they are writing the fascist legislation that's showing up in various states caused the republican party in WI to initiate a witch hunt under the Freedom of Information Act to search his university e-mails.
There is perhaps nothing more threatening to secretive right-wing groups than a moderate, independent historian with a grasp of the bi-partisan evolution of public sector unions.
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