Save Democracy: Tell Corporations to Dump ALEC
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ALEC Exposed: Tell the Corporate Cabal to Dump ALEC
Why are popular name-brand corporations like Johnson and Johnson, Coca Cola, Kraft and State Farm cozying up behind closed doors with Big Tobacco and the Koch Brothers to undermine American democracy?
The Center for Media and Democracy has uncovered the secretive nerve center for the corporate hijacking of American politics, where right-wing politicians and Fortune 500 conspire to achieve the privatization of public schools, the demise of labor unions, and the suppression of voting rights -- and it is called 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 politicians the changes to the law they desire which directly benefit their bottom line. Corporate lobbyists serve as “equals” with elected representatives on nine task forces where specific tax breaks are crafted along with measures to deregulate and privatize entire industries, such as the telecommunications industry. Corporations vote to approve these bills before they are even introduced in state houses across the land. According to internal ALEC documents, corporations have a “voice and a vote” – do you?
Democracy for Sale
At ALECexposed.org, the Center for Media and Democracy displays over 800 ALEC “model” bills so that the public can track the origins of bills moving in their state. Here we list some of the ALEC corporate give-aways popping in states across the land.
- Altria Group/Philip Morris USA sits on ALEC’s corporate board and benefits from ALEC’s newest tobacco bill -- Taxation of Moist Smokeless Tobacco an extremely narrow tax break that would make fruit flavored “smokeless” tobacco products cheaper and more attractive to youngsters. Four state senators facing recall in Wisconsin, snuck this ALEC treasure into the state’s budget bill.
- Health insurance companies such as Humana and Golden Rule Insurance (United Healthcare), benefit from ALEC model bills, such as the Health Savings Account bill that just passed in Wisconsin.
- Tobacco firms such as the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company]] and pharmaceutical firms such as Bayer benefit from ALEC tort reform measures such as the Product Liability Act which make it harder for Americans to achieve justice when injured by dangerous products.
- Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) benefits from the anti-immigrant legislation introduced in Arizona and other states based on ALEC models, such as the Immigration Law Enforcement Act, as well as ALEC’s Truth in Sentencing Law.
- Connections Academy, a large online education corporation and co-chair of the Education Task Force, benefits from ALEC measures to privatize public education and promote virtual charter schools, such as the Virtual Public Schools Act.
- Foreign firms like Macquarie and Cintra benefit from ALEC bills that create special agencies to privatize and sell off public assets like toll roads, bridges and the like, see the Community Transportation Corporation Act and more. ALEC claims these model bills embody "Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty.” We feel these bills are best described by the less lofty term: “ka-ching!”
Tell These Corporations to Dump ALEC!
Less than 2 percent of ALEC funding is from legislative dues, corporations pretty much fund the rest. Corporations pay $7,500-25,000 for membership, legislators only $50. While we expect to see the Koch Brothers, the NRA and RJ Reynolds bankrolling an organization that promotes dangerous products and bills to limit voter rights, many other ALEC firms are trusted household names.
What is Wal-Mart doing in bed with an organization that wants to privatize Medicare and Medicaid? Why does Coca Cola want to spend our Diet Coke dollars supporting a group working to deny voting rights to college students? Like a good neighbor State Farm is at -- ALEC?