-- by Billy Manes
The Center for Media and Democracy is re-posting this article from Billy Manes at the Orlando Weekly as part of our efforts to expose the American Legislative Exchange Council. The original can be found here.
When Jeff Wright walked into the lobby of the New Orleans Marriott on Aug. 3, he wasn't sure what to expect. As the director of public policy advocacy for the Florida Education Association -- a prominent teachers' union that had been bearing the brunt of legislative attacks from Florida Republicans throughout the 2011 legislative session -- he wasn't there for your standard Mardi Gras-themed party. The American Legislative Exchange Council, a national nonprofit organization made up of elected officials and private interests who gather regularly to try to directly influence the substance of public policy, was holding its annual four-day meeting there, so any "partying" would probably be a little more conservative, and -- going by a recent glut of press coverage pointing out ALEC's clearinghouse mentality of privately linking big corporations with the state legislators willing to pursue their bottom-line agendas in the form of "model legislation" -- slightly more nefarious. Nevertheless, he wanted to see it for himself.