American Legislative Exchange Council
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The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC, for short) is a pro-business lobbying organization formed by business-oriented Republican legislators in 1973.
It has recently seen some use as a way for corporations to lobby for legislation while skirting laws requiring legislators to report who lobbied them. This is done through ALEC conferences where representatives from corporations can meet with state and federal legislators and devise model legislation that the legislators will then introduce as bills in their legislatures. Thus, one derogatory description of ALEC is that it is a “bill mill”.
ALEC's conferences are attended by so many corporations and legislators that it is very easy to state that "Corporation X was present at the conference where a draft of bill Y was drawn up." This in turn makes it easy to imply that corporation X wrote the bill.
This has led to some conspiracy theories surrounding ALEC, with some people taking the lobbying organization and turning it into the concrete form of their pre-existing ideas about a creepy "deep state" under which a conspiracy of corporations write the laws and enact them without any popular input whatsoever.
For example, some FOIA inquiries found that ALEC had been involved in the drafting of a proposed anti-union bill in Florida; from this was extrapolated a giant plot on the part of ALEC and the Koch brothers to privatize the government. It is however true that ALEC has received Koch funding.
Examples of legislation drafted with ALEC's help
- The anti-union bill giving rise to the 2011 Wisconsin protests
- Arizona SB 1070, the anti-illegal-immigration law
- State bills mandating showing photo identification cards before being allowed to vote
- "Truth in sentencing", "three strikes", and mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders in many states during the 1990s
- School voucher programs that support private and religious schools.
- Energy deregulation, global warming denialism and removal of public support for renewable energy, though some shifts in these seem underway as (some of) its corporate stakeholders slowly shift towards a more green image.
- ALEC's official website
- ALEC Exposed — the Center for Media and Democracy's anti-ALEC site
- Last Week Tonight’s episode on ALEC (on the show’s YouTube channel)
- Koch brothers pour more cash into think tanks, ALEC: Academic centers, New York theater among other big winners by Paul Abowd (Updated (Published January 31, 2013; Updated March 20, 5:00 p.m.) The Center for Public Integrity.
- [https://www.thenation.com/article/alec-exposed/ ALEC Exposed A trove of documents reveals the vast procorporate strategy of this powerful right-wing group.] by John Nichols (July 12, 2011) The Nation.
- Privatizing Public Education, Higher Ed Policy, and Teachers The Center for Media and Democracy
- This conservative group is tired of being accused of climate denial — and is fighting back, '’Washington Post, April 5, 2015, By Tom Hamburger, Joby Warrick and Chris Mooney