Posted 8 years ago on March 1, 2012, 7:48 a.m. EST by bklynsboy
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ALEC-backed provisions have opposed climate change legislation and environmental regulation, stoked the effort to privatize prisons and schools, pushed for rollbacks of workers’ rights, for limited voting rights and tax breaks for the wealthy. The results, critics say, line the pockets of corporations — a charge ALEC and its defenders insist is misrepresenting its operating style.
In the words of its manifesto, “ALEC provides its public- and private-sector members with a unique opportunity to work together to develop policies and programs that effectively promote the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty.” And the success of its efforts is in little doubt.
By its own record, it has created an arsenal of about 800 “model” bills, templates or blueprints for future laws. They are tabled about 1,000 times a year across the country; about one in five are passed.
Some 2,000 state legislators belong to the organization, the vast majority of them Republican, in spite of its avowed non-partisan membership. And with Republicans now controlling half of all state governments, they pack an added punch.
“When a company needs a state bill passed,” writes the far-from-radical Bloomberg Businessweek, “the American Legislative Exchange Council can get it done.”
The group’s 300-strong corporate members include some of the most high-profile in America: among them AT&T, Wal-Mart, GlaxoSmithKline, UPS, Pfizer, Bayer, Verizon, and Koch Industries — headed by the Kansas-based billionaire brothers nicknamed “the Kochtopus” for their wide-ranging financial and ideological influence.
Legislation requiring ALEC to reveal its finances must be passed so American government has some credibility left.