Teamsters President: “Public is right to be skeptical of ALEC”

From the Detroit News, by James P. Hoffa

“Working Americans scored a big victory last week when four corporations withdrew their membership from a secretive group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft Foods and Intuit listened to their customers and quit ALEC. I hope their example is followed soon by the rest of ALEC’s members — both the corporations that fund it and the state politicians influenced by it.

CONTINUE READING AT THE Detroit News—>

Exclusive: McDonald’s Says It Has Dumped ALEC

From Mother Jones by Andy Kroll

 McALEC

Add another name to the list of corporations who’ve ditched the American Legislative Exchange Council: McDonald’s.

“The fast food giant tells Mother Jones that it recently decided to cut ties with ALEC, the corporate-backed group that drafts pro-free-market legislation for state lawmakers around the country.”

continue reading–>

Meet The Corporate Members of ALEC’s Task Forces – A Review of Their Backgrounds and Connections

From CNN by Libby Lewis “NRA expands its role from fight for gun rights to conservative causes

CNN reports that the NRA was involved with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) through their representative,

“An NRA lobbyist, Tara Mica, helped shepherd a model bill that requires voters to show a photo ID at the polls…Mica also helped preside over ALEC’s passage of the model bill that became the basis of Arizona’s immigration law.”

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When some read about this and related issues of “lobbyists” helping to craft legislation through ALEC, all information about that lobbyists or individual named is often not presented.  For instance about Tara Mica being a lobbyists for the NRA…

Ms. Mica is listed in the CNN article as a “lobbyist” for the NRA, however she was much more than that.  She served the NRA-Institute for Legislative Action as their “State Liaison”.  This NRA-ILA is the NRA – serving as their Lobbying arm…Ms. Mica was representing the NRA directly through this organization while she co-chaired ALEC’s Public Safety and Elections Task Force until last year.  The NRA is a recipient of funding from the Koch family foundations, Bradley foundation, Scaife foundation and Wal-Mart.

This issue of chairing or co-chairing ALEC’s task forces as corporate “Private Enterprise Board” representatives is important to understanding how ALEC’s model legislation processes work.  Coca~Cola, Kraft and PepsiCo have all issued statements that they participated in discussions about issues of interest to their companies, i.e., taxation, product liability, tort reform, but had no input or participation in the voter ID or privatization discussions of developing model legislation.  I believe these claims are false and given out to deflect adverse publicity about their involvement in all model legislation that passes through each task force that they’re a part of.

ALEC’s procedures are set up to require a unanimous vote on behalf of corporate members in each task force or working group, and without that, any proposed legislation cannot be advanced to the entire membership for adoption as model legislation.  If even one  corporate representative votes nay on a proposed model, it is tabled and cannot advance. Legislative members are prohibited from taking proposed legislation not supported by the corporate members back to their home states and introducing it  as a proposed law.

The Immigration legislation disseminated by ALEC could never have happened unless the corporations voted it through to the full membership.  The task force co-chaired by Tara Mica and thus the NRA, is where Arizona’s SB 1070 was born and passed, moving to the full membership for adoption.  Once passed it subsequently spawned similar legislation in more than 25 states since.  The same goes for the voter ID legislation complained of by Americans coast to coast. These legislative “bills” were both approved while Ms. Mica sat as the co-chair of ALEC’s public safety task force from 2008 through 2011 – and they each advanced upon a unanimous vote on behalf of the NRA and others at the table. So the argument that the “NRA took no part or position on those laws” is disingenuous.  Without the NRA’s vote of yea – all of those proposed laws would not have been adopted and now controlling law in several states.

Today the private sector chair of the public safety and elections task force is Stacie Rumenap, representing Stop Child Predators. SCP is an organization dedicated to stopping those who would exploit children  However, their Advisory Board is comprised of individuals with a vast experience in education, student loans and other school initiatives (though there are a couple with past DoJ and related criminal justice experience).  As we are now aware, education privatization, for-profit colleges, vouchers and higher education issues are now at the top of ALEC’s to-do list. One of the SCP board members is the VP of Apollo Group – also involved directly with ALEC on pushing education legislation.  Apollo Group (for-profit college company) was involved with ALEC in their AZ. conference last November and has donated $75,000 to the Romney Super Pac, Restore Our Future when Apollo’s bottom line was threatened or harmed by regulations supported by the Obama Administration.

Other key corporate ALEC Task Force representatives are:

The foregoing does not include those corporate members sitting on the actual task forces or within the “working groups” of those task forces, etc.  As shown those corporations and organizations belonging to ALEC don’t simply have a representative tasked with attending ALEC conferences, meetings and working groups.  They have key corporate executives assigned to liaison with ALEC; vice presidents, directors and highly paid lobbyists who chair or wield influence over the working groups and task forces they sit upon.  In addition as we see with Apollo and SCP above, they are also interrelated away from ALEC but continue to push issues important to ALEC and to openly fund conservative candidates who are pro-corporate.  In the Apollo/SCP case the key issues are for-profit education – from K-12 through college.

What is so puzzling to many today is that as a 501(c)(3) “charity” ALEC is not allowed to lobby, support particular candidates or attempt to influence any legislation.  However with lobbyists representing corporations belonging to that organization as “members” and sitting down at the table to discuss potential laws that benefit them with elected lawmaker “members”, there is no separation between the two groups. The meetings, discussions and determinations about which laws to adopt and attempt to pass in our states is done through the sponsorship of ALEC.  ALEC sets the meeting schedules, picks the locations for those meetings, works with Private Enterprise state Chairmen to acquire “donations” and “contributions” to pay expenses for lawmakers attendance are reimbursed for travel, accommodations, meals and other expenses – including travel and expenses for the families of legislators.

Between meetings ALEC staff members openly travel around the country to each legislature to “testify” about key legislation they want passed.  When critics complain about the open lobbying for legislation directly to a legislature, ALEC claims that they are not lobbying, they were invited to attend the hearing by a member or members of that legislature.  Of course the invites come from lawmakers who are ALEC members and in this manner ALEC is able to directly lobby on behalf of a particular piece of legislation important to them and the conservative agenda.

VLTP is hopeful that this new peeling back of the corporate involvement in ALEC through the numerous article about Coca~Cola, Pepsi, Kraft Foods and those still remaining as members of the cabal will result in longer and harder looks at not just those memberships, but also the bios and positions of the actual individuals representing each member.

 

ALEC is a Shadowy Organization Which Promotes Corporate Interests and Harms Democracy

From PolicyMic by Phy Tran

With the recent controversy of the death of Trayvon Martin, the conservative group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has come under attacks from public interest groups. Consequently, Kraft, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Intuit pulled out their memberships with ALEC, an action lauded as a major victory for liberals. However, it is too soon to applaud these recent successes. ALEC, whose influence extends beyond Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, has disfranchised America through its legislation franchising.

Continue reading at Policymic

Postal Service a Political Target – Ed Schultz

from April 4, here is a segment of The Ed Show where he talks about the USPS.  A lot of this information could have come from Bob Sloan’s expose–he’s ahead of the pack.

Watch the video here

More Defections from ALEC – Ed Schultz

Intuit and Kraft foods have joined Coke and Pepsi as the latest two companies to distance themselves from ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council — and the extreme right-wing agenda they espouse. Mike Papantonio and Rashad Robinson join Ed to talk about it. Watch it.

Coke and Pepsi Drop Membership in ALEC – The Ed Show

To see the segment of The Ed Show on 4/5 when he discusses the defections of Coke and Pepsi from ALEC, please click here

General Motors in America’s Heartland

[note:  I missed this when it happened, but it seems appropriate to post it now with the corporate “insurgency” at ALEC]

3/28/2012

General Motors has decided to discontinue funding of the Heartland Institute, an organization that downplays the risks of climate disruption, three weeks after GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson was asked about it during a Climate One radio interview. GM spokesman Dave Barthmuss confirmed the move today.

For more information on this, including links to 2 YouTube videos re the interviews with Dan Akerson, please click here

BREAKING: Intuit Out of ALEC; Coke, Kraft, Pepsi, too, while Koch Stands Ground

By Rebekah Wilce at Center for Media and Democracy

“A stampede seems to be on the way as more and more groups break ties and dump ALEC. Intuit, Inc. (maker of Quicken and QuickBooks accounting software) told the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) that Intuit also decided not to renew its membership after it expired in 2011. That comment came from Bernie McKay, Vice President of Government Affairs.”

CONTINUE READING…

KRAFT Foods Gives In To Demands of Progressive Activists and Will Leave ALEC – Is The CABAL Beginning to Crumble?

Kraft abandons conservative group

From Politico by ROBIN BRAVENDER

Kraft — one of many corporation members of the American Legislative Exchange Council — won’t renew its membership when it expires this spring, Kraft Corporate Affairs Director Susan Davison told POLITICO.

Of similar interest, several corporate members of ALEC have also dropped association and funding of the Heartland Institute.  Heartland is a conservative think tank dependent upon funding from Koch Industries, Koch foundations and  corporate generosity to perform research on climate, environment and other issues important to the Koch empire or corporations. Those separating from association or support of Heartland are AT&T (ALEC member), General Motors and PepsiCo (Former ALEC member)

Read full Kraft Article HERE and read the Politico Heartland article at above links.