40 Years Later, ALEC is Finally Being Exposed

Nearly 3,000 protesters took to the Chicago streets yesterday outside the 40th anniversary meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

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

Salon, ALEC convention protests: Labor vs. lobbyists

In These Times, Labor and Civil Rights Groups Descend on ALEC Conference

Examiner.com, ALEC holds its 40th Conference in Chicago under clouds of secrecy

Truth Out, Protesters Condemn ALEC’s Push to Privatize Public Education

Progress Illinois, Hundreds Protest ALEC’s Conservative Agenda In Chicago: ‘Get Out Of Our City’ (VIDEO)

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?

Media Matters, WSJ’s Defense Of ALEC Lacks Disclosure That News Corp. Is A Member

Chicagoist, Protesters Stage Die-In At Palmer House During ALEC Conference

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

Lawyers.com, ALEC Helps Big Business Invade Local Lawmaking State By State

Wall Street Journal, Durbin Wants a List

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