Previously I've told you about ALEC's mission, which is to write boilerplate right wing legislation and distribute it to state and federal lawmakers as a way to advance right-wing causes across the country. But ALEC's influence does not begin or end there.
An examination of campaign donations made by ALEC corporate members dating back to the 1990 election cycle shows that they contributed $12.2 million to state-level candidates who were ALEC members, with 98.4 percent of that money going to incumbent and winning candidates, many of whom could vote on proposed legislation. Additional analysis reveals that $11.9 million of the $12.2 million went to Republicans. Click here to download the database.
Over the seven (10 for some states) election cycles covered in a donor-data analysis by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, ALEC corporate members contributed $516.2 million to state-level politics: $202.1 million to state-level candidates, $228.3 million to high-dollar ballot-measure campaigns, and $85.8 million to state political party committees.
Half a billion dollars. A serious relationship. It seems ALEC is not afraid of commitment.
Because of the council leak, the Institute for Money in State Politics was able to link specific corporate money with specific legislators and issues. Of the $516.2 million given over the past 20 years, corporate donors spent $228.3 million on campaigns in support of issues on ballots in various states. Another $202.1 million went to candidates and $85.8 million went to almost exclusively Republican state committees.
Perry was, by far, the most popular donor target in Texas. Former Republican House Speaker and Exchange Council member, Tom Craddick, got $878,000 from corporate council members.
Other leaders were: State Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, $315,000; Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, $163,000; and Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, $124,000.
So let's see. Texas has a draconian tort reform law, is a oil welfare state, and is in the process of privatizing and destroying its public education system.
In this, Perry is absolutely, 100 percent correct. He slashed taxes to the bone, handing out credits to his political cronies like they were candy. He decried the evils of Big Government while hypocritically using federal stimulus funds to help close Texas' budget gap in the short term, and now he's using the state's longer term fiscal disaster – one of his own creation – as a premise for destroying an already threadbare social safety net serving the neediest Texans. As a result of these policies, plus immigration and other external factors, his state's added a lot of low-paying poverty jobs without decent benefits. He's added very little in the way of “prosperity.”
In the final analysis, Texas is indeed a shining example of conservative governance, as well as an almost perfect model for winning the race to the bottom.
Thanks for that, ALEC. And now Rick Perry is about to be unleashed on the nation. At least we have Texas as a harbinger of things to come.