ALEC: Bringing the vast rightwing corporate conspiracy to a legislature near you

And, not surprisingly, the Koch brothers are involved.

I’m talking about the American Legislative Exchange Council.

I don’t recall even hearing of this group till I read about its model legislation to disenfranchise many voters, including students, which I posted about in another topic:…

It’s likely I did hear of it before but the name of the group, and its attempts to change legislation across the country, didn’t register as much as they should have.

If I had been more aware of it, I might not have been wondering, as I’d found myself wondering in recent days, just who was coordinating the very similar rightwing legislation that was being pushed in so many legislatures across the country. Rightwing legislators often don’t seem very bright, and this nationwide attempt to change so many policies, so quickly, just seemed too well crafted not to be coordinated. Tonight I found out that it is, and which group is providing the model legislation…


The same group, basically, that’s funding ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.

This is their website

and this is their Model Legislation section…

which provides rightwing legislators with model legislation in these areas:

Civil Justice
Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development
Energy, Environment, and Agriculture
Health and Human Services
International Relations
Public Safety and Elections
Tax and Fiscal Policy
Telecommunications and Information Technology

From the Wikipedia article on ALEC:…

More than thirty years ago, a small group of state legislators and conservative policy advocates met in Chicago to implement a vision: A nonpartisan membership association for state lawmakers who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty. Their vision and initiative resulted in the creation of a voluntary membership association for people who believed that government closest to the people was fundamentally more effective, more just, and a better guarantor of freedom than the distant, bloated federal government in Washington, D.C.<3>

At that meeting in September 1973, state legislators, including then Illinois State Representative Henry Hyde, activist Paul Weyrich, and Lou Barnett, a veteran of then Gov. Ronald Reagan’s 1968 presidential campaign, together with a handful of others, launched the American Legislative Exchange Council. Among those who were involved with ALEC in its formative years were: Bob Kasten and Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin; John Engler of Michigan; Terry Branstad of Iowa, and John Kasich of Ohio, all of whom moved on to become governors or Members of Congress. Congressional members who were active during this same period included Senators John Buckley of New York and Jesse Helms of North Carolina, as well as Congressmen Phil Crane of Illinois and Jack Kemp of New York.<3>


ALEC has approximately three hundred private sector members including corporations, state and national think tanks, and trade associations. Some corporations and trade groups that have supported ALEC include: American Nuclear Energy Council, American Petroleum Institute, Coors Brewing Company, Texaco, Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, VISA, Exxon Mobil, the National Rifle Association, Amway, Koch Industries, and others. Groups critical of ALEC claim that the organization is controlled by the entities that fund it, subsequently promoting donors’ agendas and goals, along with attempting to advance legislation that favors their interests.<11><12> NPR reported that the Corrections Corporation of America was present at meetings when legislators were introduced to model immigration laws, used for example as the template for Arizona SB 1070, passed in 2010.<13> The report suggested that the group could be used to avoid state laws requiring legislators to disclose meetings with and gifts from politically unpopular corporations.<14> Shortly after the report was published, ALEC released a response statement addressing some of NPR’s accusations.<15>

People for the American Way, the self-proclaimed left-wing advocacy group, refers to ALEC as “a right-wing public policy organization with strong ties to major corporations, trade associations and right-wing politicians” with an agenda that includes “challenging government restrictions on corporate pollution, limiting government regulations of commerce, privatizing public services, and representing the interests of the corporations that make up its supporters.” <16>…  SOURCE