Far-Right Lobby Group ALEC Brags That All Politicians in Two State Legislatures Are Members
The far-right American Legislative Exchange Council claims that every member of the state legislature in two states belongs to ALEC.
Recently leaked documents from the ALEC Board Meeting, Aug. 6, 2013, Chicago, Illinois, list the number and percentage of each state's legislature that have signed onto ALEC. Under "# of Legislators," and "# of ALEC Members," Iowa has 150 in each column, and South Dakota has 105 in each column. The third column, for both states, shows the "% of ALEC Membership in Legislature" as being "100%." At the opposite end, the lowest percentage is 1%, in New York. The second-lowest is New Jersey, 2%. The third and fourth lowest, tied, are just 4%, in both Maine and Vermont. The fifth-lowest is New Hampshire, 6%. That table appears on page 39 of the report.
Page 20 presents the text of the oath of office that the leading ALEC member in each state must swear to in order to win or retain his position: "I will act with care and loyalty and put the interests of the organization first."
When asked about this, ALEC's senior director of public affairs told Britain's Guardian, "All legislators are beholden to their constituents' interests first — if they are not, they will be held accountable at the ballot box."
In other words, if ALEC's lead legislator in any state violates his oath to ALEC, he stands to lose the vast campaign contributions from the corporations that fund ALEC. The purpose of those corporate campaign donations is to make sure that state legislators are "held accountable" to ALEC. ALEC survives by persuading conservative voters to vote for the stooges the corporations that fund ALEC want to write the laws for them.
In some countries, this is called corruption, or even fascism, but in the United States, it's called politics, or even (by the five Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court) freedom of speech.
A few members of ALEC are conservative Democrats, whom the large corporations support only because most of the voters in those districts already know that the Republican Party is controlled by large international corporations (which are sometimes called, in the U.S., "Wall Street"). The best-financed Democrats in those less right-wing districts are usually the most conservative Democrats there.
This is how American politics is controlled from the top. It's also why the United States has the most unequal distribution of wealth of all of the world's economically developed nations. When a few aristocrats control the minds of many fools, that's what happens, and it's not democracy but instead the Orwellian opposite, commonly called fascism.
Pages 15 and 17 of the report contain a "Memorandum" to ALEC from its law firm, explaining how the so-called "Jeffersonian Project, Inc., has been established as an organization exempt from tax," and by means of which sub-organization their mega-corporate sponsors can get tax-deductions for their lobbying expenses, via ALEC. The lawyer says, "The Jeffersonian Project is indirectly controlled by ALEC through a provision in its bylaws requiring that its board of directors be appointed (or removed) by ALEC."
These people aren't kidding around, and all other U.S. taxpayers have to take up the tax-load the controlling elite slough off in this way. Conservatives say that such "social services" (ALEC is, after all, an "educational organization") should be shed by government and performed instead by the private sector, via charities, which are really just ways for these people to get tax writeoffs for things like lobbying the legislators and propagandizing the public. It's a smart business plan, used by many astroturg groups whose top executives receive considerable remuneration for their services to the aristocracy.
The documents identify ALEC's national chairman as John Piscopo, of whom Wikipedia says, "In October 2012, he was one of nine US state legislators who went on an industry-paid trip to explore the Alberta tar sands, publicly described as an 'ALEC Academy'."
More than half of the tar sands are owned by David and Charles Koch, who are the chief financial backers of ALEC. ALEC is strongly pushing the Keystone XL Pipeline, 25 percent of which would be owned by the Koch brothers. The pipeline would carry the Kochs' tar-sands oil to two Koch refineries near the Texas coast for shipment to the European Union, but the EU's environmental laws prohibit such oil under the EU's anti-global-warming provisions. President Obama is trying to force the EU to weaken those regulations in order to increase the net worth of the Kochs by around $100 billion. It seems that the Kochs don't need to pay Obama to do their bidding; perhaps he does this service out of his personal conservative respect for them, but it's not something he discusses publicly.