CP ALEC Intervention
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CP ALEC Intervention
Performing our civic duty to stay vigilant, informed, and engaged in protecting our Republic from corruption and extraction by a collusion of profiteering interests known as ALEC
Curated by Eric Byler
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Pawn: The Real George Zimmerman Story

Pawn: The Real George Zimmerman Story | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

By Richard (RJ) Eskow, OpEdNews.com


The name in the headlines this month is George Zimmerman, shooter of Trayvon Martin. But another Zimmerman named the phenomenon we're witnessing almost fifty years ago, when he described the unnamed gunman who shot civil rights leader Medgar Evers:

"The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man's used in the hands of them all like a tool
He's taught in his school ...
That the laws are with him, to protect his white skin
To keep up his hate, so he never thinks straight
'Bout the shape that he's in, but it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game."

We can engage in quasi-theological debates about whether the half-Caucasian, half-Hispanic George Zimmerman is "white" -- but he's certainly been taught to fear and hate the Other, the dark-skinned and hooded menace to his well-watched neighborhood. Bob Dylan (original name: Bobby Zimmerman) found the right phrase to describe shooters like George Zimmerman: "only a pawn in their game."

 

Whose game? As it turns out, the "Stand Your Ground" laws used to protect shooters like Zimmerman were written and promoted by ALEC -- the American Legislative Exchange Council. As the Center for Media and Democracy notes, the corporate-funded right-wing group behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's attack on worker rights is the same group that has promoted "Stand Your Ground" laws all around the country.

 

You could put a thousand people on Neighborhood Watch and they'd never see the real threats to Zimmerman's community. Those threats can't be seen with the eye. The real threats are things like joblessness, financial insecurity, hunger, lack of medical care. They're threats you can't protect yourself from with a gun.

 

Shooters like George Zimmerman are the product of an economic system that benefits from misdirected fear and anger - emotions that are too often channeled into violence instead of peaceful change.

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"Prisons for Profit"

"Prisons for Profit" | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

"Prisons for Profit"

Over the last few decades the population of US prisons has skyrocketed. At about 8 per 1000, we now have the highest percentage incarcerated than any country in the world. Has crime risen? Are police techniques becoming more successful? Have the courts become tougher in sentencing? Could the growing business of prisons for profit be the cause? On Monday’s program we will discuss the connection of “ALEC” (American Legislative Exchange Council), the Corrections Corporation of America, Geo Group & legislation across the country that is making privatizing the prison system such a booming business.

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Lawrence Lessig on How the Kochs Buy Democracy

The Koch brothers are buying our democracy, preventing urgently needed environmental rules from being set. Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig breaks down how the Kochs get away with it.

 

More info:  http://ow.ly/a6c6Y

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Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, March 30, 2014 9:44 AM

Here is some insight as to how environmental rules can be held back when they really need to move forward.

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Trayvon Martin Resolution Introduced By Congressional Black Caucus

Trayvon Martin Resolution Introduced By Congressional Black Caucus | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON -- The Congressional Black Caucus unveiled a resolution on Wednesday that honors the life of Trayvon Martin and calls for the repeal of "Stand Your Ground" gun laws in every state that has one, including Florida, where Martin was killed.
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Protestors call on ALEC to disavow ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws after Trayvon Martin’s murder

Protestors call on ALEC to disavow ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws after Trayvon Martin’s murder | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

by ANNA JOHN, The Raw Story

 

Just before noon on a sunny D.C. day, close to 100 students, office workers and activists quietly converged outside a nondescript office building for a rally to shine light on the role that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) played in pushing legislatures to pass “Stand Your Ground” or “Shoot First” laws around the country — laws which many blame for the Sanford police force’s unwillingness to charge Trayvon Martin’s acknowledged killer, George Zimmerman.


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Lobbyists, Guns and Money

Lobbyists, Guns and Money | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

ALEC, the corporate-backed group that’s been pushing and even drafting legislation, says it stands for free markets. Crony capitalism is more like it.

 

by PAUL KRUGMAN, New York Times

 

Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, which lets you shoot someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone prosecution, sounds crazy — and it is. And it’s tempting to dismiss this law as the work of ignorant yahoos. But similar laws have been pushed across the nation, not by ignorant yahoos but by big corporations.

 

Specifically, language virtually identical to Florida’s law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence (only recently, thanks to yeoman work by the Center for Media and Democracy, has a clear picture of ALEC’s activities emerged). And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.

 

What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.

 

Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals: union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization.

 

What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.

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ALEC/Koch Cabal Pursuing Privatization of the US Postal Service

ALEC/Koch Cabal Pursuing Privatization of the US Postal Service | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

BOB SLOAN, Voters Legislative Transparency Project

 

An event occurred in front of my home on Wednesday of this week that provided an incentive for me to go ahead and publish an article I’d written about the United States Postal Service (USPS). The event was a strong-arm robbery of a mailman at a house on our block. I witnessed this event and was asked to give statements to agents of the Postal Inspector’s Office and local detectives.

 

Ruminating over the past two days I realized that for hundreds of thousands of USPS letter carriers the possibility of robbery of packages, mail and their personal safety are everyday worries. Many letter carriers have routes that take them into neighborhoods where their safety is in jeopardy – yet as representatives of our government they willingly return day after day to deliver the mail. Virtually every citizen in the U.S. comes in contact with USPS employees on a daily basis as they pick up or deliver our mail.

 

For years the GOP – led by alumni of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the U.S. Congress – have urged cutting back the wages of USPS workers. They claim they are paid too much, pensions and retirement provisions too costly to taxpayers and their collective bargaining gives them unfair advantages over private sector workers. At the core of this argument is that the USPS has a “monopoly” on first class mail and rail parcel package delivery systems. UPS and FedEx want to take over those services and contracts.

 

ALEC has pushed for privatizing the USPS and has used the services of RW think tanks such as Reason Foundation, CATO, Econ Journal Watch and National Taxpayers Union to contribute their support for this privatization agenda against the USPS.

 

The following article was written by me with research assistance from another VLTP Director, Ron Rabatsky. Months were spent on researching the involvement of the cabal and then putting it all together in the article for publication. A brief yet detailed report about the privatization of the USPS and other federal involvement by ALEC and their alumni in Congress can be reviewed here…

 

Read More: http://www.vltp.net/alec/aleckoch-cabal-pursuing-privatization-of-the-us-postal-service-for-ups-and-fedex

 

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How ALEC Took Florida's "License to Kill" Law National

How ALEC Took Florida's "License to Kill" Law National | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

JOHN NICHOLS,  The Nation

 

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush endorsed Mitt Romney Wednesday, earning national headlines as an elder statesman of a Grand Old Party that is still trying to wrap its head around the concept of Romney as a presidential nominee.

 

It is a measure of the extent to which media and political players absolve those who make laws from any responsibility for the impact of the legislation they enact and sign that Romney—who has so meticulously avoided discussing the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida—would casually accept the backing of the signer of the “Stand Your Ground” law that so many reasonable observers believe played a role in Trayvon’s death.

 

The 17-year-old Florida youth was apparently hunted down and shot by a “neighborhood watch” gunman while Trayvon was returning from a trip to a nearby 7-11 store. The gunman, George Zimmerman, was reportedly of the belief that he had been given what was effectively a license to kill by Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Police in Sanford, Florida, apparently shared that view, as they decided against arresting and charging the shooter.

 

The Florida “Stand Your Ground” law was enacted in 2005 with bipartisan support by Republican-controlled houses of the legislature. The National Rifle Association led the advocacy on behalf of the proposal, arguing that it was needed to provide immunity to gunmen who might use deadly force against unarmed individuals who they imagine to be threatening.

 

The “Stand Your Ground” legislation was sponsored by Florida state Representative Dennis Baxley and state Senator Durell Peadon, both Republican ally of Jeb Bush. The governor quickly signed the measure into law—despite explicit and repeated warnings that this law would encourage shootings of innocents like Trayvon Martin. And despite explicit and repeated warnings that people of color and young people would be unreasonably and disproportionately harmed by the law.

 

Peadon worked closely with NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer to pass the Florida law, and Hammer appeared with Bush at the signing ceremony.

 

But he did not stop there. Baxley and Peadon served in the Florida House and Senate as an active member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the shadowy Koch brothers–funded network that brings together right-wing legislators with corporate interests and pressure groups to craft so-called “model legislation.”

 

For the most part, ALEC’s model legislation is designed to ease taxes and regulations for corporations, while weakening unions and undermining tort laws. But the council also dabbles in electoral and public safety issues.

 

And “Stand Your Ground” proposals have for seven years been on its agenda.

Only a few months after Bush signed the Florida law, Hammer worked with NRA operatives and friendly legislators on ALEC’s “Criminal Justice Task Force” to develop a new piece of “Stand Your Ground” model legislation for passage in states across the country.

 

The proposal made a strong impression on ALEC members, who approved model legislation that mirrored the Florida law’s assertion that an individual gunman or a neighborhood watch member “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

 

In states across the country, with support from the gun lobby, ALEC’s model legislation—sometimes in mirror form, sometimes with modest alterations—has been enacted over the years since Peadon and Bush dismissed the warning by Florida state Senator Steve Geller that the “Stand Your Ground” law ran the risk of encouraging Floridians to think that “you ought to be able to kill people that are walking toward you on the street because of this subjective belief that you’re worried that they may get in a fight with you.”

 

Read More: http://www.thenation.com/blog/166978/how-alec-took-floridas-license-kill-law-national?rel=emailNation

 

 

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Shadowy Corporate Lobbying Syndicate Pushed for Law Protecting Trayvon Martin's Killer

Shadowy Corporate Lobbying Syndicate Pushed for Law Protecting Trayvon Martin's Killer | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

BRENDAN FISCHER, PR Watch


A Florida law that may protect the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February is the template for an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) "model bill" that has been pushed in other states. The bill was brought to ALEC by the National Rifle Association (NRA), and fits into a pattern of ALEC bills that disproportionately impact communities of color.


Florida's "stand your ground," or "castle doctrine," law could prevent the prosecution of George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old “neighborhood watch” vigilante who shot the unarmed Martin as the teen returned from a trip to 7-11 with an iced tea and a pack of Skittles. The law, also pushed by its supporters under the name the “Castle Doctrine,” changes state criminal justice and civil law codes by giving legal immunity to a person who uses "deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself" (it also bars the deceased's family from bringing a civil suit).  [MORE]

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99% vs. 1% — on the left - This Just In

99% vs. 1% — on the left - This Just In | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

LANCE TAPLEY, The Boston Phoenix 

 

A February 29 protest in Augusta against the power of corporate lobbyists exposed the fundamental division on the lefty side of Maine politics.

 

Twenty members of the mostly working-class group Occupy Augusta and, a few hours later, four supporters of the middle-class, Internet-organized MoveOn.org waved signs at motorists outside the Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios law and lobbying offices on the city's west-side rotary.

 

Preti is possibly the state's top corporate lobbying firm. One of the signs suggested it had been sullied by "dirty money."

 

Some bigwig Democratic lawyers at the firm didn't fully appreciate the protest.

Actually, the demonstrators had more vociferously condemned ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporation-funded, right-wing legislator-lobbyist coalition. Its state cochairwoman is Ann Robinson, a Preti lobbyist. The same day, anti-ALEC protests took place across the country.

 

ALEC has recently emerged in the news media as a powerful influence on state legislatures, including Maine's. (See "LePage's Koch Brothers Connection Revealed," September 9, 2011; "On the Takings," December 23, 2011; both by Colin Woodard.)


Its other state cochairman is Richard Rosen, the Bucksport Republican senator who is head of the Legislature's Appropriations Committee.

 

One Occupy protest sign listed what another called ALEC's "evildoing": "Voter suppression, union busting, tax breaks for the rich, cuts to social programs, environmental cutbacks, safety reg cutbacks, business reg cutbacks, corporate personhood."

 

"Voter suppression" was an accusation because ALEC has been linked to laws making it harder for students and poor people to vote — such as Maine's Republican-Legislature-passed law to ban same-day voter registration that was defeated in last fall's referendum.

 

As the Bangor Daily News disclosed, the political action committee that defended the law received most of its cash — $250,000 — from a conservative group, the American Justice Partnership, an ALEC collaborator.

Read more: http://thephoenix.com/boston/news/135021-99-vs-1-on-the-left/#ixzz1piR6UyL0

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The States Get a Poor Report Card

The States Get a Poor Report Card | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

Editorial, The New York Times


State governments have long been accused of backroom dealing, cozy relationships with moneyed lobbyists, and disconnection from ordinary citizens. A new study suggests those accusations barely scratch the surface.


The study, issued Monday by a consortium led by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, found that most states shy away from public scrutiny, fail to enact or enforce ethics laws, and allow corporations and the wealthy a dominant voice in elections and policy decisions. The study gave virtually every state a mediocre to poor grade on a wide range of government conduct, including ethics enforcement, transparency, auditing and campaign finance reform. No state got an A; five received B’s, and the rest grades of C, D or F.


For all the reform talk by many governors and state lawmakers, very little has really changed in most capitals over the decades. Budgeting is still done behind closed doors, and spending decisions are revealed to the public at the last minute. Ethics panels do not bother to meet, or never enforce the conflict-of-interest laws that are on the books. Lobbyists have free access to elected officials, plying them with gifts or big campaign contributions. Open-records acts are shot through with loopholes.


And yet all the Republican presidential candidates think it would be a good idea to hand some of Washington’s most important programs to state governments, which so often combine corruptibility with incompetence. In a speech on Monday, Mitt Romney said he would dump onto the states most federal anti-poverty programs, including Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance, because states know best what their local needs are.


States, however, generally have a poor record of taking care of their neediest citizens, and could not be relied on to maintain lifeline programs like food stamps if Washington just wrote them checks and stopped paying attention. In many states, newspapers and broadcasters have cut their statehouse coverage, reducing scrutiny of government’s effectiveness and integrity.


The new study shows that several of the states doing the best anti-corruption work had to endure years of scandal to get there. The state with the best grade (B+) was New Jersey, which may be surprising considering its reputation for cronyism and payoffs. In 2005, however, after years of embarrassing scandals, the state passed some of the toughest ethics laws in the country. Lobbyist gifts are prohibited, state contractors cannot give to campaigns, ethics training is mandatory for state employees and an ethics board has real power to enforce the laws. [MORE]

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Voter ID: the anti-democracy movement's weapon of choice

Voter ID: the anti-democracy movement's weapon of choice | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

Whatever the claims, voter fraud is almost non-existent. The real problem is the regressive forces promoting discriminatory laws


Excerpt from piece by KEVIN POWELL, The Guardian, UK


...This is also why organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), must be exposed. Since its founding in the early 1980s, ALEC has very quietly played a major role in American legislation, including dramatic changes to voter laws. Much of ALEC's base is Republican or conservative, and mostly white, and much of its funding comes from corporations, corporate trade groups and corporation foundations. ALEC has, in turn, pushed bills it wants to see in place, state by state. Little wonder that when we hear the clarion cry "We want our country back", it is really coded language to say, "we want an America where not everyone has access to the ballot, or the American dream. Just as was the case in the years before the civil rights movement.

 

This is why it is such a huge mistake for any leader to refer to what is happening as "voter suppression". We need to continually call it what it is: anti-democracy. Because only anti-democracy forces would go to such lengths to make voting that difficult for that many, especially when the Department of Justice has stated, very clearly, that voter fraud is not rampant in our society. And we need to challenge it from every angle, including voter registration and education drives. [MORE]


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Right to Work Is Wrong for Everyone

Right to Work Is Wrong for Everyone | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

WHO'S BEHIND RIGHT TO WORK?

 

Ignoring the facts about “right-to-work,” far-right politicians across the country are promoting these deceptive policies as payback to their Big Business donors. By weakening workers’ ability to have a say about their job, right to work weakens unions’ ability to serve as an advocate for all workers and a check against corporate greed.

 

Without solid evidence to back their claims, the politicians advancing right-to-work legislation depend on a coordinated network of extremist right-wing groups to provide resources, research, and an echo chamber that pave the way for right to work.

 

The most well-known of these cash-flush special interest groups include the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Right to Work Committee. Read on to learn more about the groups working overtime to make every state a right-to-work state.

 

ALEC

 

Right to work has gained some momentum as result of the collusion between Big Business and allied lawmakers involved in ALEC, an established conservative group backed by corporate special interests that peddles influence with state legislators. While much of its work has gone on behind closed doors, several media outlets and the Center for Media and Democracy have recently exposed how ALEC operates, peeling back the curtain on the significant political influence it wields at the state level. ALEC gives companies and politicians a shared role in developing its legislative prototypes, which are then introduced in copycat fashion by its members in legislatures nationwide. As part of its extremist agenda, ALEC and its members aim to limit the rights of workers and their unions through initiatives such as right to work. Check out Progress Missouri’s ALEC exposé, which reveals just how similar Missouri’s proposed right-to-work bill is to ALEC’s draft legislation.

 

In the ultimate irony, ALEC gives corporations a voice and a vote in order to rob workers of theirs. ALEC’s leadership and membership include executives from corporations like Comcast and Walmart that are notorious for their low-wage, anti-worker business practices. ALEC is also tied to heavy hitters in the Tea Party movement, like the billionaire Koch brothers, who channel their vast wealth to far-right groups and politicians and helped orchestrate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s repeal of public employees’ collective bargaining rights.

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ColorOfChange.org Applauds Coca-Cola’s Decision to Pull its Support of ALEC

Coca-Cola has pulled its support from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) after hearing from ColorOfChange members all day.

 

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Who really benefitted from Citizens United?

by TIMOTHY NOAH, The New Republic

 

In 2009, Ralph Nader published a fantasia titled Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, in which he imagined a group of maverick billionaires banding together to defeat corporate power in America. Declaring themselves “the Meliorists,” these enlightened oligarchs force Walmart to unionize, elect Warren Beatty governor of California, establish single-payer health insurance, raise the minimum wage to a livable salary, and in general breathe life back into liberalism.

 

In 2012, something like Nader’s utopian scenario has begun to take shape, but with a radically different ideology.

 

(Timothy Noah is a senior editor at The New Republic. This article appeared in the April 19, 2012 issue of the magazine.)

 

Read more: http://ow.ly/a784d

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Good Guys Win One: With ALEC, Things Go Better Without Coke

Good Guys Win One: With ALEC, Things Go Better Without Coke | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

Heads up, Wal-Mart. Know who does a lot of shopping in your stores? People who have been victimized by ALEC policies: Poor people, minorities, and people who are working more and earning less.

 

by Richard (RJ) Eskow, Huffingtonton Post

 

Score one for the good guys: After being pressured by Color of Change and other progressive groups, Coca-Cola has left ALEC -- the cynical corporate coalition that has pushed a bevy of anti-democratic, anti-middle class, and anti-consumer initiatives.

Now that Coke's come around, next up is Walmart. Their response on the ALEC issue was equivocal and unacceptable. And the issue needs to be raised directly and firmly with the other companies that back the organization - a list that includes AT&T, Bayer, Coca-Cola, ExxonMobil, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods, Pfizer and UPS.

 

Standing Up

This weekend on The Breakdown we interviewed Rashad Robinson, Color of Change's executive director, about the Trayvon Martin case and the role of ALEC in "stand your ground" laws like Florida's. He indicated that ALEC's member companies were going to be a leading target of the campaign for greater political and economic justice.

 

MORE: http://ow.ly/a6b9W

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Gov. Christie's biggest bills match model legislation from shadowy corporate lobbyists, ALEC

Gov. Christie's biggest bills match model legislation from shadowy corporate lobbyists, ALEC | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

by SALVADOR RIZZO, NJ.com


Let’s say you’re a state lawmaker, passionate about charter schools, and you want to turn this passion into laws that create social change. What you need are bills. And you want them fast — ready-made, just add water, written in language that can withstand partisan debate and legal scrutiny.


There is a place that has just what you want.


It’s called the American Legislative Exchange Council, a little-known conservative group headquartered in Washington, D.C., and funded by some of the biggest corporations in the United States — most with a business interest in state legislation. 


ALEC has quietly made its mark on the political landscape by providing state governments with mock-up bills that academic and political experts say are, for the most part, tailored to fit a conservative agenda. In recent years, states — particularly those with new Republican governors and legislatures — have been flooded with ALEC’s model bills. Nearly 1,000 of them are introduced every year, and roughly one-fifth of those become law, according to ALEC’s own count. ALEC’s bills are especially attractive because they are written so they can virtually be copied and pasted onto legislative proposals across the land.


For lawmakers, it can be an irresistible service. [MORE]


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Minnesota’s War on Voting

Minnesota’s War on Voting | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

by ARI BERMAN, The Nation


"...Voter ID laws have been a top priority of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, which drafted a model voter ID bill for state legislators in 2009. ALEC members sponsored voter ID legislation in five states that passed such laws in 2011. ALEC’s state chairman in Minnesota, Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, also happens to be the lead sponsor of Minnesota’s voter ID legislation in the state house. Fifteen ALEC members of the legislature have co-sponsored the bill. Reported the AP: “ALEC provided a copy of its voter ID model bill to The Associated Press. Kiffmeyer's 2011 bill is not identical, though there are several similar sections about ID requirements, counting provisional ballots and issuing a free ID to those over 18 who don't have a valid driver's license.”...

Read More: http://www.thenation.com/blog/167042/minnesotas-war-voting

 

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Pocan urges GAB investigation of ALEC’s lobbying activity | Wisconsin Politics

Pocan urges GAB investigation of ALEC’s lobbying activity | Wisconsin Politics | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

PAUL I. TASCOUPE, PolitiScoop - Wisconsin Politics

 

MADISON – Today, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) requested the state’s Government Accountability Board investigate potential ethics violations involving state lawmakers accepting scholarships and gifts from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate lobbying group.

 

Representative Mark Pocan (D-Madison)has crashed ALEC’s conventions twice, becoming a member in an effort to learn more about the secretive lobbying group. In doing so, he exposed ALEC as a lobbying organization that evades Wisconsin lobby law by lobbying for “model” legislation before it is formally introduced.

 

“I’ve infiltrated their conferences and I’ve watched corporations wine and dine lawmakers,” said Pocan. “ALEC corporate partners write model legislation, lobby lawmakers and all too often have legislators introduce their bills. It’s either a violation of our ethics laws or a high-class corporate dating service."

 

Read More:http://www.politiscoop.com/us-politics/wisconsin-politics/836-pocan-urges-gab-investigation-of-alecs-lobbying-activity.html

 

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John Nichols-Trayvon Martin, ALEC & Walmart

Thom Hartmann talks with John Nichols,Washington Correspondent-The Nation Magazine Website: www.thenation.com, about so-called "Stand your ground" legislation, pushed by ALEC and the NRA that is believed to have led to the murder of an innocent black teen in Florida.

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ALEC Climate Change Denial Model Bill Passes in Tennessee

ALEC Climate Change Denial Model Bill Passes in Tennessee | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

by STEVE HORN, thesmogblog.com

The month of March has seen unprecedented heat and temperatures. A rational thinking, scientifically-grounded individual could only posit, "Well, hmm, I bet climate change has something to do with the fact that in Madison, WI, it is 80 degrees in mid-March. Sometimes it's 60 or 70 degrees colder than this!"


While that individual would be positing something that is the well-accepted scientific consensus, in some states, under law, that is only a "controversial theory among other theories."


Welcome to Tennessee, which on March 19th became the fourth state with a legal mandate to incorporate climate change denial as part of the science education curriculum when discussing climate change. [MORE]


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ALEC & the NCSL: Compare and Contrast « MN Political Roundtable

ALEC & the NCSL: Compare and Contrast « MN Political Roundtable | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

DOG GONE, MN Political Roundtable

 

Parts of the right wing blogsophere are trying to whitewash ALEC, and at the same time to denigrate the NCSL.

 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with one or both organizations, let me give you a brief introduction, because people on the right want to misinform and disinform you. They will tell you they are the same when they are significantly different, or even more misleading, will try to tell you that ALEC is good, and the NCSL is bad, by misrepresenting both.

 

As you look at the differences, which are greater than any simiarities, keep in mind the concept of a line of dialog I heard recently on a television show, ‘Justified’. While a dramatic series, the point was an excellent one for this context. A corrupt sheriff, presented with the offer of a bribe in the form of a briefcase full of money asks, “If this is the carrot, what does the stick look like?”, referring to the paired incentives of a carrot and a stick, a reward that comes with the possibility of an equal or greater punishment.

 

The NCSL I’m writing about is not the British National College School Leadership entity for teachers, nor is it the National Capital Soccer League for kids in Washington D.C., and I’m not writing about the NCSL International, which is an organization about meteorology. No, I’m writing about the NCSL that is the acronym for the National Conference of State Legislatures. That NCSL is an NGO – non-governmental organization – for the people who work in our state legislatures, encompassing staff and state senators and state representatives.

 

I’m sure in the eyes of the ALEC members they’re not bad, they’re just doing what they need to do to get their conservative, sometimes very extreme causes rammed through resistance, and to get themselves elected over and over. If that means doing the bidding of special interests to give the corporations significantly greater profits through the auspices of a secretive organization, I’m sure they rationalize to themselves that’s ok. I suspect that unlike the fictional sheriff and the bribe, they aren’t honest enough with themselves to recognize either the carrot or the stick, or to even acknowledge the corrupt aspects of the transaction. It should be a big red flag to them when they aren’t candid about the source of the legislation they introduce.

 

Unlike ALEC drafted legislation, legislators don’t lie about NCSL content, which is bi-partisan rather than ‘Buy-partisan’ or ‘bought’ partisan. Unlike ALEC meetings, no legislator is thrown out of an NCSL meeting for a point of view or for being open about the content of the meeting. That happened to Mark Pocan, a state representative of Wisconsin, and reporters are not banned:

 

Wisconsin Dem State Rep. Kicked Out Of ALEC Conference | Wisconsin State Rep. Mark Pocan (D) was kicked out the American Legislative Exchange Council conference in New Orleans today despite being a a dues-paying member of the organization and receiving an invitation to the event, Wisconsin blog Dane101 reports. “I was still kicked out of the cigar reception by an employee of ALEC. ALEC has become a secret society where they will kick out anyone with a video camera, tape recorder or an original opinion,” he said in a statement. In addition to attending the conference for legislative reasons, Pocan was covering the event for a progressive publication, but ALEC was not allowing many reporters, including ThinkProgress’ Lee Fang and Scott Keyes, who were violently removed from the conference yesterday.

 

So…….what is ALEC? I’ve been writing about it here a bit, and will be doing so even more in the near future. ALEC is a shady and shadowy organization through which special interest groups, rich organizations and a few rich individuals like the Koch brothers and the Walton of WalMart family, but also many others, spend a lot of money on conservative legislators, both state and federal, but mostly state level, to get them to submit THEIR legislation, legislation that will benefit THEM, the corporations and special interests, at your expense. Here is the opening paragraph from wikipedia on ALEC:
Read More: http://mnpoliticalroundtable.com/2012/03/19/alec-the-ncsl-compare-and-contrast/

 

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Conservative organization has a gift for writing laws

Conservative organization has a gift for writing laws | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

MECHELLE HANKERSON, Capital News Service via dailypress.com

 

RICHMOND –—

On issues ranging from tax credits for private school tuition to a homeowner's right to kill an intruder, several bills before the 2012 General Assembly resembled model laws proposed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a politically conservative think tank funded by major corporations.

 

Liberal watchdog groups say that's no coincidence: They say ALEC has curried favor with lawmakers in Virginia and other states to pass legislation that benefits corporate interests.

 

"ALEC is essentially a corporate bill factory," said Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA, an advocacy group for low-income Virginians, women's rights, environmental protection and other issues.

 

"ALEC writes model legislation that is designed to increase corporate bottom lines, and then they turn around and hand it off to state legislators to take it home and introduce it."

 

ALEC officials dispute that. They describe the group as a "nonpartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers who share a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism and individual liberty."

 

ALEC officials say they do what their liberal critics do: try to influence public policy. On its website, the organization says it has generated "hundreds of model bills on a wide range of issues, model legislation that will frame the debate today and far into the future."

 

On at least one point, ALEC and its detractors agree: The group has been effective in persuading states to adopt its recommendations. "Each year, close to 1,000 bills, based at least in part on ALEC Model Legislation, are introduced in the states. Of these, an average of 20 percent become law," ALEC's website says.

 

ProgressVA published a report in January saying at least 115 past and present Virginia legislators have membership in or other connections with ALEC. ALEC has ghostwritten more than 50 bills for consideration by the General Assembly in recent sessions, the report said.

 

"ALEC legislation really blows the gamut on issues," Scholl said. "What they all have in common is that ALEC prioritizes corporate profits over constituents. For example, one of the areas where ALEC legislation has really been pushed in Virginia is in privatizing education."

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Mark Pocan Exposes ALEC Plot to Eliminate Public Education

Wisconsin Rep Mark Pocan clearly explains how this bill & how it's part of ALEC's plan to eliminate pubic education. This is a brilliant speech. This bill wi...
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Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, December 20, 2012 1:18 PM

The push for private / charter schools continues in Mississippi. Remember who wants to undermine affordable public education and get some of our tax dollars from owning schools as opposed to citizens owning their own schools.

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ALEC Watch: Rep. Mark Pocan's Special Report From New Orleans

ALEC Watch: Rep. Mark Pocan's Special Report From New Orleans | CP ALEC Intervention | Scoop.it

by MARK POCAN,  The Progressive


"Fully funded by, sponsored by, and driven by its much wealthier corporate interests.One only need look at the convention booklet to see the “Who’s Who” of corporate partners. British Petroleum, Reynolds American, Takeda, UnitedHealthcare, Walmart, the Walton Family Foundation, Chevron, ExxonMobil, American Electric Power, Allergan, PhRMA, Bayer, VISA, Shell, Koch Industries, Inc. and State Farm Insurance for starters. And there are dozens more.

 

For your partnership in ALEC, you get to write legislation, promote it, vote for it, and all too often, watch it become law. Not bad for a few days work." [MORE]

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