May 7, 2013
From PRWatch by Brendan Fischer and Nick Surgey
At the recent Spring Summit of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) held in Oklahoma City, ALEC security staffers went to great lengths to assure that only journalists involved with conservative media outlets were allowed access to the Cox Convention Center where the organization’s members were meeting to develop, vote on and adopt proposed conservative model legislation.
Earlier this year ALEC publicly announced they were making changes to promote transparency in their activities. One major change was the public release of ALEC’s 2013 model legislation. They claimed:
“The move will allow the group to become more transparent and better showcase the policies it supports, according to its spokesman.
“We really believe in transparency,” ALEC spokesman Bill Meierling told The Huffington Post. “We believe that more eyes on our model policies will create better policies. We are hoping to engage with the public.”
Groups and organizations that have been pursuing just such transparency were skeptical in March when the announcement was made by ALEC. That skepticism turned out to be accurate – as the article quoted from and linked to below informs…
“In anticipation of protests at ALEC’s recent meeting in Oklahoma City, state legislators were handed a set of talking points that read “The American Legislative Exchange Council recognizes the first amendment rights of free speech and assembly, and asks that _____ do the same,” apparently to prepare legislators for press questions about citizen activism. But ALEC didn’t live up to those spoon-fed talking points: ALEC assembled a dossier of disfavored reporters and activists, kicked reporters out of its conference who might write unfavorable stories, and managed to boot a community forum critical of ALEC from its reserved room.
“CMD later obtained a document titled “OKC anti-ALEC photos” at the ALEC conference.
“The page featured the pictures and names of eight people, four of whom work with CMD, including Surgey, CMD’s general counsel Brendan Fischer and its Executive Director Lisa Graves, as well as CMD contributor Beau Hodai.
“It is not known whether the photo array of people who have reported on or criticized ALEC was distributed to ALEC members or shared with Oklahoma City law enforcement.”
With ALEC it is always the same…use propaganda to make claims of transparency, “that ALEC is open to the public” or that proposed state legislation did not originate with ALEC. Later, when each of these claims turns out to have been falsehoods, ALEC will have “no comment” when questioned by actual journalists. Of course, ultra-right wing conservative “reporters” working for Breitbart, Fox News or similar forums will insist that ALEC is transparent, that their claims are all factual and anyone accusing ALEC of not being transparent, are all left wing conspiracy theorists.
The Fischer/Surgey article should put all claims of “conspiracy” to rest. Take the time to read the entire PRWatch article -> HERE <-