ALEC Exposed

Walker Wins Recall, Democrats Win Control of the Senate, Halting Right-Wing Agenda

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.

Wal-Mart Does Good by Leaving ALEC

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."

ALEC Exposed - A project of CMDThe 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.

Minnesota Elections Board to Investigate ALEC

Minnesota's Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board will investigate whether the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) should be registered as a lobbyist in the state, according to a letter sent to Common Cause-Minnesota. The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has also asked Wisconsin's ethics board to investigate ALEC's activities, and this month the Wisconsin Attorney General referred a joint complaint about ALEC's lobbying -- by CMD and Common Cause-Wisconsin -- to the state ethics board.

Medtronic is 17th Corporation to Dump ALEC

A Medtronic spokesperson told CMD that Medtronic did not renew its ALEC membership in October 2010. Medtronic is the world's largest medical technology company, specializing in biomedical devices that get implanted in the body. It had almost $15 billion in sales in 2011.

Implantable DefibrillatorALEC documents obtained and released by Common Cause list three Medtronic representatives on ALEC's Health and Human Services Task Force as of June and March 2011, as well as in October 2010. In October 2011, Medtronic posted a job opening for a Government Affairs Director that would "participate in and support corporate SGA efforts with select national bodies of state legislators, including ALEC" (emphasis added).

Is "Right to Work" Next on Walker's Agenda?

Many are wondering if making Wisconsin a "Right to Work" state is next on Governor Scott Walker's agenda if he wins the recall election on June 5. Right to Work laws weaken unions by allowing members to opt out of paying dues. Workers get the benefit of working in a union shop (higher wages, better benefits), but are not required to pay their fair share for union representation. Right to Work laws have been used effectively in the South to bust unions and keep wages low, which is why they are dubbed "Right to Work for Less" laws by opponents. The recent push for this legislation is emanating from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where corporations and right-wing legislators vote as equals behind closed doors on "model" legislation.

Koch's Americans for Prosperity Not Supporting Walker in WI Recall?

DC-based special interest group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is busing-in out-of-state Tea Partiers and spending millions on advertisements, rallies, and phone banks in the weeks before recall elections for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and four state senate seats. But the group founded and funded by New York-based oil billionaire David Koch insists its activities have nothing to do with the Wisconsin campaigns or elections.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Is an ALEC Member

With Fox personalities defending the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Wall Street Journal publishing editorials criticizing its detractors (including the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), by name), some have wondered whether or not Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and many broadcast licenses, is an ALEC member.

Yes, News Corp. is an ALEC member. It has funded ALEC operations.

Amazon.com 16th Corporation to Dump ALEC

Message to Amazon.com Shareholders (Source: ProgressNow)Amazon.com General Counsel Michelle Wilson announced at a shareholder meeting in Seattle this morning that Amazon has decided not to renew its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) this year. Dave Johnson, a Fellow at Campaign for America's Future, is reporting from the shareholder meeting and confirmed to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) that he heard the announcement.

Members of ColorOfChange.org, CREDO Mobile, People for the American Way, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, SumOfUs, and Fuse Washington carried a petition to the shareholder meeting containing over 500,000 signatures and calling on Amazon.com and other corporations to stop funding ALEC. According to ColorOfChange.org, organizational representatives tried to deliver the petition signatures to the meeting but were turned away.

Scantron 15th Corporation to Dump ALEC

Scantron formScantron Corporation, a $200 million for-profit educational testing and online tutoring company that makes, among other things, those ubiquitous scan forms for standardized tests (please make sure you fill in the bubble completely and clearly with a #2 pencil, etc.), joined the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) late in 2010, but a company spokesperson told CMD that it is no longer a member. Scantron's departure makes it the 15th corporation to cut ties with ALEC.

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