May 1, 2013
From PRWatch by Brendan Fischer
For months now the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has been submitting FOIA requests to Wisconsin lawmakers. They have requested emails to/from legislators and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). These requests for documentation is in pursuit of transparency…to determine model legislation emanating from ALEC that is introduced in Wisconsin. In addition, CMD asked for materials that would be distributed by ALEC at their Spring Task Force Summit this week in Oklahoma City, Ok.
Regardless of claims of transparency given to MSM and conservative media outlets by ALEC, their actions refute such claims. For instance, in March ALEC announced it was making their “library” of model bills public in an effort of promoting transparency. They not only made their model legislation publicly available, in the press release they made their first attempt at distancing themselves from the stigma surrounding the acronym “ALEC”, by now referring to their organization as the “Exchange Council”:
“[T]he Exchange Council develops model policies based on academic research, existing state policy and proven business practices. The Council and its task forces closely imitate the legislative process of state government. Ideas are introduced and assigned to an appropriate task force based on subject and scope. Meetings are conducted where experts present facts and opinions for discussion, just as they would in committee hearings. These discussions are followed by a vote.”
Now we’re informed that actual model bills written and circulated by ALEC to members, for the upcoming conference are so secret ALEC is dispersing them using time sensitive links available only to select members – with a “need to know”. So much for ALEC’s style of transparency…
“Despite ALEC trying to spin itself as a “transparent” organization, ALEC records have miraculously been disappearing from legislative offices and the organization is engaged in a box drop dodge to avoid disclosure. But while ALEC legislators are meeting behind closed doors with corporate lobbyists, citizens will be rallying in the streets raising awareness about how ALEC’s agenda favors large corporations at the expense of average Americans.
“In the past, the Center for Media and Democracy had obtained advance agendas for ALEC meetings through open records requests to legislators in multiple states. But in recent months ALEC records have miraculously been disappearing from legislative offices.”
Such obfuscation is not a new development…
“This is not the first time that ALEC legislators have attempted to dodge open records requests. Last year, CMD filed a lawsuit against five Wisconsin legislators who had tried evading their responsibilities under the open records law by shifting their ALEC correspondence to a personal email account (like Gmail or Yahoo). When CMD prevailed in the lawsuit, as part of the settlement the legislators acknowledged they had failed to release ALEC-related emails and agreed to comply with the law.”
Someone needs to have a heart-to-heart with ALEC’s new PR Director, Meierling and provide him with Webster’s definition of “transparency.” Nothing about ALEC is transparent – as we have come to understand after several years of research and investigation. For this an other reasons, demonstrations, marches and union organized events protesting ALEC are being planned for this week in OK. City. VLTP would urge those located near OK. City to attend and lend their voices to the ALEC inspired protests this week.
Read the entire PRWatch article -> HERE <-