A coalition of groups, including the Center for Media and Democracy, People For the American Way, Common Cause, and Progress Now, have released a report that details the American Legislative Exchange Council's influence in New Jersey.
The key findings in this report include:
- ALEC model bills introduced across the country have devastating effects on workers, students, voters, consumers, immigrants, and our ability to enjoy clean air and water.
- ALEC has flourished in Republican-dominated states, but it has a less obvious presence in New Jersey's Democratic-controlled state legislature. However, Republican Governor Chris Christie's former Chief of Staff, Richard Bagger, served on ALEC's Private Enterprise Board in at least 2002 and 2004 on behalf of Pfizer. Bagger now works for Celgene Corporation, another ALEC funder, and was nominated by the Governor to be a paid Commissioner on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, confirmed on June 28, 2012. New Jersey's ALEC "public sector" co-chairs are Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26) and Senator Steve Oroho (R-24).
- Despite their claims that "ALEC does not lobby in any state," the organization tracks the status of its model bills in legislatures and sends its employees to testify in support of its bills in state houses across the country, in addition to materials that it regularly transmits to legislators. This report examines the legislative histories of the New Jersey members with which ALEC has ties and the model legislation that has been introduced, at times word for word, or dangerously close to it.
In response to public exposure about ALEC's operations and its extreme agenda that has included pushing gun laws that immunize shooters and laws to make it harder for American citizens to vote, 40 corporations and 70 lawmakers have dropped ALEC in recent months. In New Jersey:
- September 13, 2012 – Merck & Co., founded in 1891 and based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey
- August 16, 2012 – Reckitt Benckiser, created by merger in 1999, US home in Parsippany, New Jersey
- July 13, 2012 – St. Louis, Missouri based Express Scripts, which operates Medco, founded in 1983 and based in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey
- June 12, 2012 – Johnson & Johnson, founded in 1886 and based in New Brunswick, New Jersey
The report issued by an array of groups in New Jersey today concludes that New Jersey-based corporations and New Jersey legislators with ALEC ties should follow the lead of Merck & Co., Reckitt Benckiser, Express Scripts, and Johnson & Johnson and do the same.
Click here to send a letter to the CEO's and lobbyists of ALEC companies encouraging them to cut their ties with ALEC.