Rep. Ben Harbin resigned after two decades as a Georgia legislator the same day as 11ALive reporters asked him for an interview about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting where he was found behind closed doors with the top state lobbyist for the cell phone industry.
11Alive's Brendan Keefe talked to the Center for Media and Democracy's General Counsel, Brendan Fischer, about ALEC.
Fischer explained that:
- Legislators are attending ALEC meetings on the corporate dime -- they have their hotels, meals, entertainment, and flights paid for by the exact same interests that benefit from the introduction and passage of ALEC model legislation.
- Companies are getting a tax write-off for pushing legislation into the hands of state legislators in secret because ALEC is a 501(c)(3) charity.
- Legislators and lobbyists vote as equals on the adoption of ALEC model legislation.