american-legislative-exchange-council

Undercover investigations have exposed patterns of horrific animal welfare abuses on factory farms and slaughterhouses, and led to criminal convictions and public health investigations. Rather than addressing these problems, a powerful organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) wants to criminalize anyone who brings animal abuse to light…

This bring us to “ag-gag” bills which target whistleblowers, undercover investigators, and journalists. They have been introduced in 9 states this year, and last year they became law in 3 states. Some go so far as to criminalize anyone who “possesses” or “distributes” photographs and YouTube videos. As NPR reported, this isn’t just about animal activists: these bills put journalists at risk.

Who is behind this? Big Ag corporations, working with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC has a model bill that labels whistleblowers, investigators, and those who share the footage as “terrorists.”

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Petition | ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council): Exposing animal abuse is not a crime! | Change.org

Even if you care nothing about animals, you have to understand that this will make your food unsafe to eat.

Advocacy Group Files IRS Complaint Against ALEC, Seeks Audit

A day after a front-page New York Times investigation highlighted the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as a “conservative nonprofit” that “acts as a stealth business lobbyist,” a good-government group announced it has filed an IRS complaint against the corporate front group.

ALEC, the “association for conservative state lawmakers who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty,” has pushed an extreme legislative agenda in states across the country, pushing “shoot-first” “stand your ground” laws and voter suppression efforts.

In recent weeks, at least a dozen companies announced they would no longer fund ALEC — following pressure from a Color of Change national campaign — and ALEC announced it would refocus its efforts away from “non-economic issues.” Last week, the group’s Louisiana state chairman resigned from the group.

Now, Common Cause is asking the Internal Revenue Service to take action; the group is requesting the agency audit ALEC’s work, impose penalties, and compel payment of back taxes. Common Cause President Bob Edgar (a former Democratic U.S. Rep. from Pennsylvania) said the group is masquerading as a public charity.

As a 501©(3) tax-exempt “charitable” organization, donations to the group are tax-deductible. But IRS rules state that ©(3)s must “not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests” and “may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities.

Source

Some of the topics ALEC [American Legislative Exchange Council] will press Republicans to pass are the benefits of fracking to the oil industry, how to block GMO labeling, tactics to undermine renewable energy initiatives, maintain reliance on coal and fossil fuels, block minimum wage hikes, privatize schools and public toll roads, and how to eliminate occupational licensing requirements to allow any layperson to take teachers’ jobs for minimum wage. Attendees will also learn how to break unions by following the ALEC tactics Wisconsin governor Scott Walker put in place last year, as well as schemes to deny global climate change such as promoting “the many benefits of increased atmospheric CO2” ALEC funders the Koch brothers champion. All of the topics for discussion benefit ALEC’s corporate donors by giving them access and opportunity to write template legislation for and with Republicans so they can take them back to their home state legislatures and pass them into law.

Just because Walmart decided to raised the starting pay to $10 doesn’t mean we can declare victory in the fight for higher and fair wages. The people at the shady/corrupt front group (American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC) are getting nervous that they’re looking for ways to put a stop to it.

So the fight for higher and fair wages is far from over.

If the people at ALEC want to fight the higher wages then it’s tie to then it’s time these to work for minimum wage at fast food restaurant.

A network of Republican lawmakers and their rightwing corporate funders are battling behind closed doors to block minimum wage increases in cities across the US, in a step-by-step counter-attack that could cut back the incomes of millions of Americans despite an economic upswing.

According to strategic details obtained by the Guardian, the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) – along with its localised sister organization, ACCE – is trying to prevent elected city representatives from raising the minimum wage to levels above those set by their states. The group has launched an aggressive dual-track mission that combines legislation and litigation in what Alec calls a “new battleground” over worker compensation.

The anti-wage increase moves come as Walmart, a former corporate member of the Alec network and the largest private employer in the US, responded to a barrage of criticism over the company’s low wages this week by agreeing to raise its base rate to at least $9 an hour for about 40% of its employees. The hike will marginally improve the earnings of about 500,000 Walmart workers, though it falls far short of the $15 per hour that staff – and labor advocates in cities across the country – have been demanding.

Alec’s plan to oppose minimum wage increases at the local level was set out in a recent meeting in Washington DC that brought together Republican legislators with several large corporate backers. The meeting was closed to journalists, but the Guardian has obtained details of the discussion from participants.

Cara Sullivan, who heads Alec’s commerce, insurance and economic development taskforce, told the meeting that corporate America was facing an “onslaught” of bids to raise the minimum wage at all levels of government. “Perhaps the biggest threat comes from the local level. We are seeing a number of localities that have increased their minimum wage,” she said, according to the accounts.

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Who Backs the TPP and a ‘NAFTA on Steroids’? ALEC

John Nichols on January 24, 2014 - 1:10 AM ET

EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt addresses members of the American Legislative Exchange Council, Thursday, July 29, 2004. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

If President Obama uses his State of the Union address to launch a major push for “fast-track” authority to bypass congressional input and oversight on a sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, he will need new allies to generate support around the country.

The president won’t be able to look to organized laborUnions are overwhelmingly opposed to a deal that Communications Workers of America posters refer to as “NAFTA on Steroids.”

The president won’t be able to look to major environmental organizations. The Sierra Club,Friends of the Earth and other green groups are outspoken in their opposition.

The president won’t be able to look to progressive farm groups. The National Farmers Union is explicitly opposed to using a fast-track approach that would allow trade agreements to move through Congress with limited debate and without amendments.

In fact, if Obama decides to ramp up his advocacy for a free-trade strategy that progressive Americans tend to see as a threat to workers, farmers, the environment, human rights and democracy, he won’t be able to count on many traditional allies to stir up grassroots support in the states. That’s one of the reasons there remains considerable uncertainty about whether the president really will—in a speech that is expected to focus on income equality—spend substantial time talking up a trade agenda that has drawn broad opposition from House and Senate Democrats and so much of his base.

If the president does go all in for the TPP, he will find himself in strange company—with groups that promote policies that critics argue are responsible for the growing gap between a wealthy few and an increasingly impoverished many.

There is, for instance, one group that maintains an extensive network of political connections in states across the country and is enthusiastically on board for “the expedited conclusions and approval of the TPP.”

That group is the American Legislative Exchange Council.

ALEC, the corporate-funded organization that stirred considerable controversy several years ago with its advocacy on behalf of so-called Stand Your Ground gun laws and restrictive Voter ID rules, produces so-called “model legislation” for introduction by conservative state legislators. Last fall, the ALEC board of directors approved and circulated a “Model Policy” that celebrates the TPP and declares that it “will be an impetus for further bilateral and multilateral trade agreements…”

Expanding trade along lines established by the North American Free Trade Agreement and the permanent normalization of trade relations with China has always been on ALEC’s agenda. The multinational corporations that cover the group’s expenses, and help to define every aspect of its agenda, have long embraced an approach that allows them to move factories and jobs from country-to-country in order to lower wages and avoid labor, environmental and human rights regulations.

ALEC’s model policy on the TPP even makes respectful reference to President Obama and his administration. That’s ironic, as ALEC members have been among the most ardent critics of the president’s policies.

Not long ago, the group published a “State Legislators Guide to Repealing Obamacare.” Yet, ALEC now highlights the Obama administration’s support of the TPP “as one-part of its strategy to increase competitiveness and employment in the United States…”

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So ALEC is urging state legislators who have been busy trying to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act to get their states to formally endorse the TPP. The model policy concludes:

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the legislature of [INSERT STATE] call(s) on Congress to support negotiations for a comprehensive, high-standard and ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that will provide a platform for regional trade and economic integration…

ALEC’s International Relations Task Force, which is co-chaired by a representative from Philip Morris International, declares on its webpage that it “promotes both bilateral and multilateral free trade frameworks, initiatives and partnerships.” ALEC has a long history of being at the forefront of fights to sell the trade agenda outlined in the North American Free Trade Agreement and other deals backed by Democratic and Republican presidents.

Indeed, the task force that’s promoting the TPP says, ALEC’s international policy work is persuasive “precisely because our policy directives are backed by our public and private sector members—American state legislators from all 50 states and some of the world’s largest corporations.”

Read Next: Lee Fang on ALEC’s opposition to apartheid divestment.

http://www.thenation.com/blog/178072/who-backs-tpp-and-nafta-steroids-alec

On her show Monday night, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow explained that the National Center for Public Policy was expected to take over the role of the embattled American Legislative Exchange Council.

Liberal and progressive groups have waged a successful campaign against ALEC, which drafts corporation-friendly “model” legislation for state lawmakers. The little-known but influential organization has been a driving force behind voter ID laws, so-called “stand your ground” laws, business-friendly tort reforms, Arizona’s controversial immigration law, and efforts to privatize public education.

But as corporate members of ALEC continue to leave the organization, the National Center for Public Policy has stepped up to the plate. The organization announced it was launching a “Voter Identification Task Force” after ALEC disbanded its Public Safety and Elections task force.

“Corporate money has always wormed its way into politics,” Maddow said. “Guys like Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay and Ralph Reed and Tony Rudy made a transfixing illegal art form out of doing that.”

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In honor of the California students who came out of the shadows today, I have decided to help several Mississippi Legislature “come out” about their status… as members of the American Legislative Exchange Council!  It’s hard to live a double life, I’m sure they’ll find my help to be a liberating experience for them, just these undocumented students found their “coming out” experience to be liberating for them! and would welcome your phone calls about their approval of Voter ID, Personhood, Book Censorship, and Anti-Immigrant rhetoric.

On behalf of freedom lovers everywhere, I give them a nice ¡NO MAMES!

From top to bottom:

Rep. Bobby Howell, Rep. Jessica Upshaw, Rep. Randall Patterson, Rep. Sam Mims V, Rep. Tom Weathersby, Rep. Bill Denny, Rep. Mark Formby, Sen. Dean Kirby, Sen. Joey Fillingane, Sen. Melanie Sojourner.

Happy coming out of the shadows day!

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson announced todaythat they are dropping their membership from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Johnson and Johnson has been facing mounting pressure following a push from Color of Change and other progressive groups to leave the conservative agenda-setting group.

Other groups that have dropped ALEC include: WalmartAmazon.comCoca-ColaPepsiCo,KraftWendy’sMars, Inc.Arizona Public Service, the National Board for Professional Teaching StandardsScantron, The National Association of Charter School AuthorizersKaplanProcter & GambleYum! Brandsfive Pennsylvania legislatorsBlue Cross/Blue ShieldReed Elsevier,American Traffic SolutionsIntuit, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

h/t: Annie-Rose Strasser at Think Progress Justice

Azaleas Can't Hide Augusta, GA Slave Market Coverup: Falsifying Official State Historical Marker With Ghost Stories Instead of Slave Whipping Pillar History is a Master Coverup

Azaleas Can’t Hide Augusta, GA Slave Market Coverup: Falsifying Official State Historical Marker With Ghost Stories Instead of Slave Whipping Pillar History is a Master Coverup

Slavery Revisionist History Where The Masters Chained, Whipped, and Sold Slaves – Par for the Course

Augusta, Georgia government officials falsify 1996 historical marker during the cover and blur of the Augusta-Richmond County Consolidation debate Slaves Were Chained and Whipped on Market Pillars in Augusta, Georgia – Sadly Not a Unique Market in Southern Confederacy – Where Merchants Banked on…

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How the Private Water Industry Is Teaming Up With ALEC

An influential trade association representing companies that provide water services to one in four Americans says it will continue its membership with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that has worked with the energy industry to create loophole-filled water protections and opposes federal oversight of fracking.

The National Association of Water Companies represents the far-reaching privatized water utility industry that serves “nearly 73 million people every day,” according to the association’s website. NAWC represents more than 150 private water companies, each of whom pay an annual fee to the association. Its board of directors is drawn from the leadership of some of the country’s largest water companies.

NAWC works with ALEC to persuade state and local officials to adopt policies favorable to the private water industry. NAWC declined to comment on when it first became involved with ALEC and the amount it pays in annual dues. According to The New York Times, ALEC “is primarily financed by more than 200 private-sector members, whose annual dues of $7,000 to $25,000 accounted for most of its $7 million budget in 2010.”

Full article

ALEC Influence Could Dismantle Ohio's Clean Energy Policies

Ever heard of ALEC?

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) connects fossil fuel interests to legislators. And they are behind a coordinated effort to dismantle clean energy laws across the country. Ohio’s clean energy policies are currently at risk. 

But you might not know it…

Even though the legislators pushing the anti-clean energy bill are deep in ALEC’s pocket.

Of the 21 Senators who voted “yes,” 15 are members of ALEC. None of the Senators who voted “no” have ties to ALEC.

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The corporate lobbying network American Legislative Exchange Council, commonly known as Alec, is seeking to extend its brand of aggressive privatization and tax cuts to the local level, with the launch on Wednesday of a new offshoot focused on America’s cities and counties.

The new network, the American City County Exchange (ACCE), will hold its first public meeting in Dallas, Texas, on Wednesday. It is timed to sit alongside Alec’s annual meeting at which the parent body will debate its usual menu of conservative priorities – pushing back government regulation, fighting moves to curb climate change, reducing trade union powers and cutting taxes.

A similar emphasis is evident in the first agenda set for the new offshoot, with the distinction that ACCE hopes to influence elected officials in city and county councils while Alec has its sights largely set on state legislatures. An early draft of the agenda for today’s meeting revealingly listed ACCE’s very first workshop under the simple title: “Privatization” – though in the final version the wording had been sanitized into: “Effective Tools for Promoting Limited Government”.

A later workshop scheduled for Thursday is called: “Releasing Local Governments from the Grip of Collective Bargaining”.

Alec has been described variously as a “corporate bill mill” and as a “corporate dating service”. It brings together lobbyists for big businesses and elected politicians into the same room, and encourages them to frame business-friendly legislation that is then made concrete in the form of model pieces of legislation that are disseminated in state assemblies throughout the country.

The new network, ACCE, will follow the same basic structure, with corporate lobbyists introduced through the organization to elected city and county council members with the aim of promoting policies advantageous to those companies. Big businesses are asked to pay up to $25,000 a year for the privilege of having such direct and intimate input into the legislative process.

In recent months Alec has suffered a loss of income and membership after it became engulfed in controversy over its backing for “stand-your-ground” laws. The lobbying network was sharply criticized for helping to spread around the country such laws – which give gun owners the right to use deadly force outside the home should they have a reasonably belief that they are in great danger – in the wake of the shooting in Florida of the black teenager Trayvon Martin.

The Guardian disclosed in December that Alec had initiated a “prodigal son project” aimed at attracting back corporate donors that had broken off ties as a result of the “stand-your-ground” furor.

Critics of the organization fear that Alec’s drive towards anti-government policies at state level will now be replicated in cities throughout the country. “Through the new network ACCE, we are likely to see big corporations trying to extend their influence down to the very local level. For relatively little investment, corporations stand not only to have a very big influence over city politicians, but they could also make a lot of money through privatization of public services,” said Nick Surgey, director of research at The Progressive that monitors Alec’s activities.

Dissent in conservative ranks

Alec’s annual meeting opens in Dallas amid renewed debate about the direction that many Republican-held state legislatures are moving, partly under the encouragement of the lobbying network. The most contentious current example is Kansas, where the Republican governor Sam Brownback introduced earlier this year the largest tax cut in the state’s history.

The tax cuts have left the state with a budget hole that some predictions suggest could reach almost $800m by 2017. The prospect of massive cuts to public services has prompted a backlash, with 104 present or former Republican officeholders in the state putting out a joint statement earlier this month in which they expressed alarm about the Brownback plan and said they were endorsing his Democratic rival for governor, Paul Davis.

The Brownback tax cuts were devised on the advice of the economist Arthur Laffer. He is the co-author of Alec’s annual report, Rich States, Poor States (pdf), that ranks each state in the country according to a set of conservative standards including low taxes, limited trade union rights and reduced regulations.

Laffer is also centrally involved in the launch of Alec’s new city initiative. On Thursday he will be guest of honour at the ACCE lunch.

Surgey said that city-based politicians needed to be wary of the new network. “Under ACCE’s influence, local councils will see more privatization, more public services sold off or cut, and decision-making increasingly in the hands of large corporations far away.”

But Todd Grayson, a city council politician from Perrysburg, Ohio, who is a founding member of ACCE, said the ambition was to increase the efficiency of public services by learning about best practices from all over the country. Though he added: “Clearly, our goal in ACCE is limited government.”

h/t: Ed Pilkington at The Guardian

I’ll tell you this. My advice to ALEC is very, very simple: Stand your ground.
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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday strongly defended the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, telling attendees of the group’s policy summit that they can’t let criticism get them down.

Related:  “ALEC’s Trouble Continues As Visa Leaves”

Also:  “Rachel Maddow:  Powerful right-wing lobby ALEC desperate and hurting after Trayvon Martin”

This week, ALEC celebrates its 40th anniversary in Chicago. At this meeting – as in all ALEC meetings – lobbyists from U.S. and foreign corporations will vote as equals alongside state legislators to adopt ALEC “model” bills, which then will be distributed nationwide with little or no disclosure of their ALEC roots.

In 2013, ALEC is going to new lengths to hide its lobbying of legislators from the public eye. It has taken to stamping all its documents as exempt from state public records laws, dodging open records with a “dropbox” website, and other tricks. After Watergate, many states strengthened their laws regarding open meetings and open records, but real sunshine on government is anathema to ALEC.

“When ALEC was born, Richard Nixon was president. Gasoline was 40 cents a gallon and the minimum wage was $1.60 an hour. Forty years later, ALEC legislators seem to be hankering for this bygone era, pursuing an agenda to roll back renewables, expand the use of fossil fuels, and suppress wages and benefits for even the lowest paid American workers,” says CMD Director of Research Nick Surgey.

In this report, the CMD identifies 466 ALEC "model” bills introduced in 2013, but pursuing a retrograde agenda.