A new examination of the gun agenda of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) reveals numerous extreme bills advanced on the watch of Koch Industries as a leader and funder of ALEC.
PART ONE: New documents show that Koch Industries had a seat on the controversial "Public Safety and Elections Task Force" of the American Legislative Exchange Council as of at least 2011. (Part two of this special report detailing the extent of the gun agenda over the past two decades is available here.)
ALEC announced it was dropping that task force in the wake of the controversy over the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin and so-called "Stand Your Ground" (SYG) laws. However, the co-leader of that task force, Rep. Jerry Madden (R-TX), revealed ALEC's announcement to be a PR maneuver when he reassured The Christian Post that his task force's work would continue through other ALEC task forces.
Part 1: Legislative Service with a Smile
"Quid pro quo: something given or received for something else"
-- Merriam-Webster Dictionary
At about ten o'clock on the morning of March 23, 2011, Faith Williams walked into the office of Ohio House Majority Whip John Adams (R-District 78). Williams, a lobbyist with firm, Bricker & Eckler, LLP, (Bricker) had an appointment to speak with Adams about an "economic development study" created by some of her clients in the life insurance industry.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) not only allows corporations and special interests to hand state legislators "model bills," but also provides a vehicle for ALEC's corporate members to buy influence with legislators through gifts of flights, hotel rooms, and other perks denominated as "ALEC scholarships," according to information obtained through open records requests.
The national certifying body for teachers in the United States, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), participated in the Education Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) until April 2012. In an official statement sent to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) today, NBPTS spokesperson Brian Lewis said, "Given recent events, the new NBPTS President and CEO decided to discontinue engagement with ALEC. As a result, NBPTS terminated its membership as an Education Task Force Member of ALEC effective April 18, 2012, and also withdrew from participating in the upcoming ALEC conference. ... The decision to participate in ALEC had been made by previous NBPTS leadership."
With the recent publication of additional American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) documents, new questions are being raised about the source of certain provisions in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's controversial collective bargaining legislation. Some of those provisions may be adopted by ALEC for introduction in other states.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) recently spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) "undermining our democracy." In his address, Johnson urged Americans to visit the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org site to learn more about the shadowy organization. Johnson also mentioned ALEC on the House floor earlier this month.
Kaplan, a for-profit education, tutoring, and testing empire that is the largest division of the $4 billion Washington Post Company, recently told the Republic Report (RR) that Kaplan's for-profit college division "was a member of ALEC for a one year period, which ended in August 2011." Kaplan's membership in ALEC's Education Task Force is documented in task force agendas and materials obtained by Common Cause and publicly released yesterday.
With all the national media attention on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) over these past several weeks, few realize that a campaign to lift the veil on ALEC's operations and agenda began almost one year ago. This week marks the anniversary of the first public rallies in opposition to ALEC. This is the story of the power of ordinary extraordinary individuals to stand up, speak out and make an enormous difference in defense of democracy.