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PHOENIX--The American Legislative Exchange Council opens its annual conference to set the agenda for the coming year in Arizona this week, on the heels of the stunning defeat of one its long-standing legislative leaders, Senator Russell Pierce, who was recalled by voters earlier this month.
ALEC plans to feature other alumni, including Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, at a conference underwritten by global corporations at the posh Westin Kierland resort in Scottsdale. ALEC has previously denied press credentials to organizations whose reporting has been critical of ALEC, such as the Center for Media and Democracy, Think Progress, and others.
Earlier this year, CMD unveiled a trove of over 800 "model" bills and resolutions secretly voted on by corporations and politicians through ALEC's task forces, including the controversial anti-immigrant bill, SB 1070, which has harmed families and devastated the Arizona economy. CMD analyzed these bills and has documented extensively ALEC politicians and ALEC corporations, such as Koch Industries, which are available via links on CMD's new website, ALECexposed.org.
As citizens have become more aware of the extraordinary influence of corporations in drafting dramatic changes to the law and then pre-voting on these bills through ALEC task forces, more Americans have expressed outrage over the marriage of powerful special interests and politicians. OCCUPY Phoenix and others have announced that they will protest the conference.
"ALEC will be featuring its privatization agenda this week, including its continued efforts to divert Americans' tax dollars from public schools to private for-profit corporations," said Lisa Graves, the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy/ALECexposed, adding "Meanwhile, corporations reaping handsome profits at taxpayer expense spend their taxpayer profits to underwrite ALEC and fund or lobby politicians to keep the money flowing into their pockets. And some of the same companies tout jobs they 'created,' which were plundered from public institutions through bills approved at ALEC task forces like those in Arizona this week."
CMD has documented how ALEC bills undermine worker and consumer rights, education, the rights of Americans injured or killed by corporations, health care, and the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink. More information is available at www.ALECexposed.org.
The Center for Media and Democracy is a non-profit investigative reporting and watchdog group in Madison, WI.