As newsrooms across the country have cut staff reporters -- due in part to slipping ad revenue and corporate media conglomeration -- the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity has rushed to fill the gap, as the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has documented. The Franklin Center has 40 state news websites, with reporters in 34 states so far. Its reporters have received state house press credentials and its stories appear as news in mainstream print newspapers in each state without alerting readers to the heavy right-wing bias of the Franklin-related publications.
-- by Seep Paliwal
Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a conservative advocacy group founded and funded by David Koch, is spearheading an ad campaign aimed at young women attacking the 2010 federal health reform law dubbed "ObamaCare." It is spending more than $1 million to run the ad in Virginia and Ohio, with plans to expand it to a total of seven states.
-- By Katie Lorenze
Gun Owners of America (GOA) has declared immigration reform a gun issue, warning that under the "scamnesty bill" currently in the U.S. Senate, "you can say buh bye to your guns and buh bye to the rest of your freedom."
-- By Katie Lorenze
With immigration reform advancing through Congress, an anti-immigrant network funded by a small group of right-wing foundations is trying to kill reform by pressuring moderate Republicans and appealing to the party's xenophobic wing. The groups could stymie efforts by some Republicans to appeal to the country's growing Latino population by moving to the center on immigration.
Bills introduced in Nevada to allow machine guns on the Vegas strip, privatize public education, and thwart federal healthcare reform can be tied back to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), according to a new report from ProgressNow Nevada detailing ALEC's influence in that state.
Six influential state tax studies by anti-tax organizations including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), are "deeply flawed," include "highly inconsistent findings" and constitute "ideologically charged pseudo-social science published to further the interests of corporations and rich people," according to a major new report released by Good Jobs First, titled "Grading Places: What Do the Business Climate Rankings Really Tell Us?"
In 2010, Governor Scott Walker ran for office on a simple message, that he would turn Wisconsin's economy around and create 250,000 jobs. There was good news for Walker in the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs numbers released April 2013. Although Wisconsin still ranked 44th in the country in terms of job creation, the staggering economy had created 64,500 more jobs since Walker took office than previously known. There was a large upward correction in the BLS jobs data stretching back more than a year that not only impacted Wisconsin, but many states.
Since the Center for Media and Democracy's launch of ALEC Exposed in July 2011, CMD has known that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its corporate funders are accelerating the race to the bottom in wages and working conditions for America's working families. ALEC has a raft of "model bills" to lower wages and slash benefits for workers, even one to repeal state minimum wage laws.
On March 1, 2013, Milwaukee Country prosecutors shut down the long running "John Doe" probe into corruption in Scott Walker's office during the time he served as Milwaukee County Executive. Six people were charged and convicted, including three former Walker staff, but no charges were brought against Walker. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm issued a brief, telling statement: "After a review of the John Doe evidence, I am satisfied that all charges that are supported by proof beyond a reasonable doubt have now been brought and concluded."
A majority of Visa shareholders rejected an effort to require the company to provide more disclosure about its role in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and related lobbying activities. Boston Common Asset Management, an investment firm focused on socially responsible investing, and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA), a religious organization that affirms the inherent capacity for good in human beings, filed a resolution to require the company to disclose all payments used for lobbying purposes, including payments to groups like ALEC. In all, over 100 million votes were cast in favor of the resolution -- 37% -- but that substantial outpouring of support for greater transparency accounted for less than a majority of the votes cast by Visa shareholders.