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Bill Moyers Exposes the Stranglehold the Corporate & Right-Wing Alliance Has on Our Democracy

A special report from the legendary veteran journalist on the American Legislative Exchange Council.

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JOHN DEL GIORNO: Several of the opposing testifiers today brought up very compelling, sad, empathetic stories.

BILL MOYERS: Not only is Glaxo an  ALEC corporate member, Del Giorno himself is also a vice chairman of ALEC’s national private enterprise board. The North Carolina bill has been tabled for now.

So now you’ve seen how it works for corporations. How about for the politicians?

ANDERSON COOPER: Last night was, as the president finally acknowledged today, a shellacking. Republicans gained control of the House, picking up 60 seats so far.

BILL MOYERS: When all of the returns were counted on election night 2010,  ALEC was a big winner. Eight of the Republican governors elected or re-elected that night had ties to the group.

GOV.-ELECT JOHN KASICH: Guess what? I’m going to be governor of Ohio!

GOV.-ELECT NIKKI HALEY: There’s going to be a lot of news and a lot of observers that say that we made history.

GOVJAN BREWER: A clean sweep for Republicans!

BILL MOYERS: And a star was born that election night: Wisconsin’s new governor, a son of  ALEC named Scott Walker.

GOV.-ELECT SCOTT WALKER: Wisconsin is open for business!

JOHN NICHOLS: I’ve known Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, for the better part of 20 years. And Scott is a classic career politician. And I don’t say that in a negative way.

BILL MOYERS: Journalist and Wisconsinite John Nichols has tracked Scott Walker’s career since the ’90s, when Walker was a state legislator and then- ALEC member.

JOHN NICHOLS: And in 2010, he ran, not presenting himself as an ALEC alumni or as a ally of big corporations or big business people outside the state; he ran a very down-home campaign.

SCOTT WALKER: This is my lunch. I pack a brown bag each day so I can save some money to spend on, you know, the more important things in life, like sending my kids to college.

BILL MOYERS: Nichols says that despite the folksy image, in the years leading up to Walker’s 2010 campaign, he had become a master political fundraiser.

JOHN NICHOLS: And he began to really forge incredibly close ties with a lot of corporate interests that he had first been introduced to in  ALEC, individuals and groups like the Koch brothers.

BILL MOYERS: David and Charles Koch, the billionaire businessmen behind the vast industrial empire, are also political activists with an agenda. Their companies and foundations have been  ALEC members and funders for years.

JOHN NICHOLS: The Koch brothers were among the two or three largest contributors to Scott Walker’s campaign for governor of Wisconsin. And the Koch brothers get that if you really want to influence the politics of this country, you don’t just give money to presidential campaigns, you don’t just give money to congressional campaign committees. The smart ones, the smart players, put their money in the states.

SCOTT WALKER: Hi. I’m Scott Walker.

JOHN NICHOLS: It’s state government that funds education, social services. And it taxes.

SCOTT WALKER: If you want lower taxes and less government, I’m Scott Walker, and I know how to get the job done.

JOHN NICHOLS: And so, the smart donors can change the whole country without ever going to Washington, without ever having to go through a congressional hearing, without ever having to lobby on Capitol Hill, without ever having to talk to the president.

 
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