A quick primer: ALEC is an organization that fosters relationships between state legislators, conservative think tanks, and large corporations. ALEC says they are just allowing lawmakers to exchange ideas, but they are also drafting legislation, called “model bills” – with a great deal of input from the corporations themselves – to distribute and pass in the various states.
ALEC has succeeded for decades in part by operating under the radar. The last 18 months, however, have been different.
Several high profile and widely-criticized pieces of legislation have been traced back to their original source. Arizona’s SB 1070, the controversial “papers please” immigration law, had its birth in an ALEC committee. The recent union-busting bills in Wisconsin pushed by Gov. Scott Walker are also ALEC-inspired, and Walker himself was an ALEC member.
Most significantly, the Stand Your Ground/Shoot First laws, which gave legal protection to George Zimmerman when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, were concocted by National Rifle Association lobbyists and ratified by an ALEC committee.
In the wake of the controversy around these and other laws, the public became increasingly aware of ALEC and the dramatic influence corporations have in the writing of our state laws.
Has ALEC now been exposed? This week definitely showed they are on the ropes. Jay Riestenberg of the AFL-CIO compiled a collection of press clips from the last few days on ALEC and the Chicago protest.
ALEC might not yet be a household name, but their nefarious corporate-driven travesty of lawmaking is finally seeing some sunlight.
Associated Press, Conservative conference draws lawmakers, picketers
Free Speech Radio News, Records show ALEC used secretive fund to finance junkets for legislators
The Huffington Post, How the ALEC Agenda Forced Chicago’s School Closings
The Nation, ALEC Convention Met With Protests in Chicago
The Nation, ALEC’s Illegal Past?
The Nation (blog), An Exposed ALEC Faces Mass Protests and Calls for Scrutiny
In These Times, Labor and Civil Rights Groups Descend on ALEC Conference
Public News Service, ALEC’s 40th Birthday Draws Protests
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Legislators head to Chicago for ALEC retreat
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio AFL-CIO head said he will protest at Chicago meeting of group that sought to limit unions
News & Observer, Few ALEC bills passed NC legislature, watch dog group finds
Capital Times, Morning briefing: ALEC takes beating
Mint Press News, Do Lavish Trips Funded By ALEC Count As ‘Lobbying’ — Or Bribery?
Riverfront Times (blog), Stand Your Ground: Dick Durbin Pressures Anheuser-Busch, Corporate Backers of ALEC
Wisconsin Gazette, ‘Die-in’ staged at ALEC conference to protest Stand Your Ground laws
Wall Street Journal, Durbin Wants a List