Although Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker survived his June 5 recall election, Democrats won control of the senate when John Lehman (D) prevailed over incumbent Sen. Van Wanggaard (R) by a 1.2% margin. But as the Center for Media and Democracy predicted, Wisconsin Republicans are raising the spectre of "voter fraud" to cast doubt on Lehman's victory and justify Wanggaard's request for a recount -- which could return control of the Senate to Republicans.
Tucker Carlson's website, the "Daily Caller," recently posted a story claiming that a Florida state legislator had rebutted a purported claim by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) "drafted" Florida's "Stand Your Ground" (SYG)/"Castle Doctrine" law.
Two months after it was first announced, the "I Stand With ALEC" website supporting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has finally gone live -- and it is underwhelming.
For the past year, ALEC has been under intense public scrutiny, starting in July 2011 when the Center for Media and Democracy launched ALECexposed.org. Since then, Common Cause has filed complaints with the IRS challenging ALEC's charitable status, groups like People for the American Way and Progress Now! have helped produce reports about ALEC's influence in individual states, Color of Change has been privately and publicly urging corporations to leave ALEC because of the ALEC agenda's negative impact on the African American community, and labor unions and shareholder groups have put increasing pressure on publicly traded companies to drop their ALEC membership. CMD has continued its investigation of ALEC, its operations, and its members through reporting on PRWatch.org, and documented ALEC's role in ratifying as a "model" bill the Stand Your Ground law cited initially to protect Trayvon Martin's killer from arrest or prosecution.
An unarmed, 13-year-old boy was shot and killed by his 75-year-old neighbor in Wisconsin on May 31, even as the 13 year old put up his hands and tried to run away. If the incident happened just a few feet closer to the killer's house, the state's new Castle Doctrine law may have been invoked to protect the shooter from prosecution; the law more likely would have applied had the National Rifle Association's full version of its "model" bill been enacted.
The Castle Doctrine law -- also known as Stand Your Ground or "shoot first" -- was conceived by the NRA and promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). These laws have come under increasing scrutiny after the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida.
-- By Brendan Fischer and Will Dooling
Now that he has survived a historic recall battle, what is next on Governor Scott Walker's agenda?
On August 9 of this year, Walker will be the keynote speaker at a benefit dinner for the Illinois-based Heartland Institute, a group that has recently come under fire for a billboard campaign linking those concerned about global warming to "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, serial killer Charles Manson, and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Heartland, a longtime member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), has made climate change denial an increasingly large part of its policy platform over the last decade.
Advocates and researchers converged this week in Rhode Island to talk about work exposing the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The group, including the Center for Media and Democracy's Executive Director Lisa Graves, was gathered for a panel at Netroots Nation, a conference which brings together bloggers, social justice advocates, labor and organizational leaders, grassroots organizers, and others. Each in their own way, the panelists talked about how through ALEC corporations are unduly influencing and corrupting American democracy. CMD launched ALECexposed last July after a whistleblower gave Graves "model" bills that had been voted on by ALEC corporations and legislators behind closed doors on ALEC task forces.
After a 16-month long fight, an astonishing $63.5 million spent, and a people's uprising that attracted international attention and laid the groundwork for a movement that will last for years to come, Governor Scott Walker will keep his seat after Tuesday's recall election, winning 53-46 over challenger Tom Barrett. Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch also survived her recall challenge.
In the early hours of the morning, word came from Southeastern Wisconsin that former state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, beat incumbent Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard, with 36,255 votes to Wanggaard's 35,476 votes, according to unofficial results with all precincts reporting. Combined with two other successful Senate recalls in August of 2011, this win means Democrats flipped the Senate from Republican control and put a halt to the Walker agenda.
It's big news when one of the largest corporations in the world changes its policy. And, today, the really big news is that Wal-Mart announced it was leaving the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has been called "a corporate lobby masquerading as a charity."
The Center for Media and Democracy launched ALECexposed almost a year ago to shine a spotlight on ALEC. CMD's analysis and ongoing investigation have fueled hundreds of news articles and other reports exposing deeply troubling information about ALEC's operations and extreme agenda. And, CMD has served as a research engine that has helped empower hundreds of thousands of people to speak out against ALEC's agenda and activities. Through ALEC's task forces, corporate lobbyists are voting behind closed doors as equals with legislators on templates to change our laws.