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Progressive Information Project: ALEC Exposed

The purpose of the Progressive Information Project is to more widely share resources and information created to advance progressive causes. A lot of good work is being done, but the average progressive often doesn't learn about it or know what

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The purpose of the Progressive Information Project is to more widely share resources and information created to advance progressive causes. A lot of good work is being done, but the average progressive often doesn't learn about it or know what is available. This series is designed to help alleviate that problem.

Anyone who is paying attention to the recent rash of extreme right-wing attacks that have dominated state legislatures since the 2010 elections knows that the key driving force behind the legislation that has attacked working families, women, gun control laws, corporate regulation and pretty much every other aspect of American life is a group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. Although ALEC has been active since the early 1970s, it seems like the 2010 elections emboldened the organization like never before and they've been more active than they have been in a long time and a lot of the pieces of 'model legislation' they push have been getting put into effect in states across the country.

If only someone were paying attention to everything ALEC is doing.

There is. ALEC Exposed.

Here's how they describe the importance of ALEC:

ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board. (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.) Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law. ALEC describes itself as a “unique,” “unparalleled” and “unmatched” organization. We agree. It is as if a state legislature had been reconstituted, yet corporations had pushed the people out the door.

ALEC Exposed, in conjunction with the Center for Media and Democracy, has provided a treasure trove of information about what the corporate front group has done and continues to do, and who is behind it all. A list of the key features of the ALEC Exposed web site:

  • The associated corporations, politicians, state chairs, "scholars," boards, task forces and staff
  • Funding behind the organization
  • The model bills ALEC has created, sorted by topic
  • Open records archive from Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, Indiana, including documents associated with ALEC and state legislators between 2007-2011
  • State reports
  • Research reports by other organizations related to ALEC
  • A news feed with the latest stories about ALEC
  • New media feeds related to ALEC, video, an e-mail list, action alerts and discussion boards

    There is such a mountain of information here that is useful to anyone following what's happening in the states and the ability to find out much more about what is leading to the bad laws being passed across the country.

    For more entries, go to the series index. If you have tips, e-mail me at quinnelk@gmail.com

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