On my KPFK/Pacifica show Wednesday, I devoted the first part of the show to the question of "What's the problem with ALEC?" My argument was, essentially, that what the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC does via its so-called "nonpartisan public-private partnership of America's state legislators, members of the private sector, the federal government, and general public" may be abhorrent, but, by and large, it is nonetheless perfectly allowable under our current, horrendous, system of corporate lobbying and campaign finance laws.
I posited that while their system of secretly crafting corporate-sponsored "model legislation" --- such as disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restriction laws and so-called "Stand Your Ground" laws, better described as "Shoot to Kill" laws, which are then introduced by member state legislators (almost all of whom are Republican, not "bi-partisan", as ALEC would have you believe) --- runs counter to the values of progressives, the real problem with ALEC is that they have opportunistically taken advantage of either loopholes or pro-corporate/anti-citizen statutes in state and federal law.
The BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernest Canning joined me for the discussion on Wednesday and generally seems to disagree with my overall assessment, noting, among other things that it's not quite so clear that ALEC isn't violating the law. He also points to, among other things, his recent report detailing a complaint that has been filed by the Center for Media & Democracy against 43 Republican legislators in Wisconsin, members of ALEC all, who, the complaint alleges, are operating in violation of state disclosure and open meeting laws vis a vis their dealings with ALEC.
But that, I argued, is the ethical and/or legal failure of the state legislators, not specifically of ALEC.
Today, Suzanne Merkelson at United Republic, an actual non-partisan organization, dedicated to highlighting the corruption of public officials via "special interests and big money lobbyists", offers a bit of ammunition which buttresses Canning's argument...
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