Last month, a Pennsylvania court upheld the state's American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) - inspired voter ID law, but in hearings on appeal that state's supreme court has given the law a harsh reception. Might the Pennsylvania Supreme Court follow Wisconsin's lead and throw out the voter ID law before the 2012 election?
Merck, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, and Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the United States, have joined 38 other major firms and cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a controversial "bill mill" that brings together right-wing legislators and corporations to draft controversial model bills behind closed doors. The exit of the two firms brings the total to 40 major American firms that have departed ALEC in recent months. Meanwhile, Duke Energy, the largest regulated utility company in the United States, has not responded to recent intensified consumer pressure to dump ALEC. Beyond their membership in ALEC, all three firms have been criticized for dodging taxes from 2008-2010.
Three right-wing organizations founded nearly forty years ago by conservative activist Paul Weyrich are rediscovering their shared origins. The Republican Study Committee, a caucus of 169 right-wing Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, is establishing a partnership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the controversial "corporate bill mill" for state legislators, and their first meeting is scheduled at the Heritage Foundation headquarters. Each of those three organizations -- the RSC, ALEC, and the Heritage Foundation -- were founded in 1973 by Weyrich. (Weyrich passed away in 2008.)
The chemical industry trade group American Chemistry Council, a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), has spent $648,600 on ads supporting Tommy Thompson, a former ALEC member and the Republican candidate for Wisconsin's open U.S. Senate seat.
Wisconsin state legislators are routinely deleting emails concerning their involvement with the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), exploiting a loophole that exempts the Legislature from records retention rules that apply to all other state and local government officials.
On New Year's weekend in 2011, many Wisconsinites were focused on the Badgers' return to the Rose Bowl or whether the Green Bay Packers would beat the Detroit Lions and get another shot to win the Super Bowl, but the incoming administration of Governor Scott Walker had other, bigger contests on its agenda. In mid-winter, while many in the state were worried about who would win or lose the big games, Walker's team was preparing to change state law in numerous ways, including making it easier for corporations to win big cases and limit the damages paid if their products or practices kill or injure people in Wisconsin.
Now you can swap out that GE lightbulb, Western Union $100 to the old country, continue that cell phone contract with Sprint, protect your computer from that nasty virus, smother that hot dog with French's mustard, and pay the electric bill in New Orleans, all without indirectly supporting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).