Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board Will Investigate ALEC for Lobbying Violations

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has announcedit will investigate the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) for lobbying violations in Minnesota. Common Cause Minnesota had filed a complaint alleging that ALEC failed to register as a lobbyist group, even though it lobbies legislators to influence policy. 

“Corporations can no longer hide behind ALEC, as they try to influence state law behind closed doors,” said Mike Dean, executive director of Common Cause Minnesota.  “This investigation should expose how ALEC has attempted to avoid laws that regulate lobbyists in Minnesota."

The Minnesota complaintreads:

It seems incontrovertible that ALEC is substantially and indeed primarily engaged in attempting to influence legislation. All of its efforts are geared toward developing and promoting favored state legislation. These proposals are generated in a private process where the business interests of its corporate members are highlighted, then shared only with the organization’s legislator members so they can take the proposals back to their states and introduce them as their own ideas. Its governing documents state that promotion of introduction of bills at the Federal and state levels and formulation of legislative action programs are two of the seven means by which ALEC pursues its purposes.

The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board said it will likely address the complaint in July. 

A second complaint (filed by Common Cause) with state Attorney General Lori Swanson alleges that ALEC has misrepresented its role by filing as a 501 (c) (3). 

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at May 29, 2012, 9:58am

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