Representative Mark Pocan is a Democratic legislator from Wisconsin and a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). He joined the organization in order to get an insider's perspective on how the organization worked. He blogged about his experience at ALEC's 2011 meeting in New Orleans for the Progressive Magazine.
Pocan sent a letter to Representative Dave Frizzell, the Chairman of ALEC's public board, expressing his concerns about ALEC's 501(c)(3) non-profit status. "As you know, organizations cannot conduct more than 20% of its work as political lobbying to qualify for this non-profit tax-deductible status. Having attended multiple ALEC conventions, it is clear to me that ALEC's primary role IS as a lobbying advocacy organization."
Pocan's letter comes hard on the heels of the Sunday New York Times story illustrating instances in which ALEC was successful in altering state legislation and today's announcement by the good government group Common Cause that it was filing 4,000 pages of materials with the IRS documenting ALEC's "massive underreporting of lobbying" and "misuse of charity laws."
Pocan presented a bill in the Wisconsin Legislature earlier this year called the ALEC Accountability Act that would require ALEC to register as a lobbying group and require it to disclose corporate funded scholarships to legislators.