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Records: Ohio House office aided conservative group

Activists say the council improperly influences the state’s legislative process

Hundreds of emails were sent through an Ohio lawmaker’s office last year to arrange free meals and other perks for legislators from lobbyists at events sponsored by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, records show.

The Ohio House scheduler was asked to arrange session dates around council events and obliged, raising questions about the council’s sway at the Statehouse.

Seventy-two of 132 lawmakers serving at the start of this session — including every member of GOP leadership in both legislative chambers — are members of the council.

The state pays a blanket fee to belong to the council, and many member lawmakers — including Seitz — pay their $100, two-year membership through campaign accounts.

“Having the state pay dues is their loophole for not having to report these events,” Rothenberg said. “It clearly flouts the ethics law.”

To read this informative article in its entirety, please click here

Coalition letter to DNC: Tell Duke Energy to Dump ALEC!

Today, Greenpeace and the Coalition to March on Wall Street South sent a letter to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, highlighting the DNC’s connection to the American Legislative Exchange Council through Duke Energy.

In May, Duke gave ALEC $50,000 for its meeting in Charlotte, NC and has consistently offered staff support at multiple levels of ALEC operations. Now it’s providing office space and a ten million dollar loan for the Democratic National Convention, also in Charlotte. Beyond acting as a political double-agent, Duke Energy’s heavy support for ALEC’s anti-environmental work goes against its own commitments to take climate change and clean energy seriously.

To read all of this excellent Greenpeace USA article by Connor Gibson and to download the pdf file of the complete letter sent to DWS, please click here.

EnergySolutions and Connections Education are 27th and 28th Corporations to Leave ALEC

Two more corporations have publicly left the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC): EnergySolutions, a nuclear services company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Connections Education, LLC, a private school entity based in Baltimore, Maryland, that contracts with charter schools, school districts, or governmental entities to provide “online” lessons to students. This brings the total to 28 corporations and four non-profits — 32 total private sector members — that have cut ties to the right-wing corporate bill mill.

EnergySolutions is a $1.8 billion company whose business includes, in its words, “decommissioning and remediation of nuclear sites and facilities, management of spent nuclear fuel, the transportation of nuclear material and the environmental cleanup of nuclear legacy sites.”

EnergySolutions was a member of ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force in 2011. Bills approved by this task force work to undermine environmental protections, limit the ability of local government to manage land use, protect corporate polluters, and streamline the siting of nuclear power plants.  EnergySolution’s former vice president of legislative and community affairs, Bette Arial, represented the company on the ALEC task force. Arial left EnergySolutions last May to become a fundraiser for the Sutherland Institute, a Utah “think tank” belonging to the State Policy Network, which is also an ALEC member.  EnergySolutions has apparently decided its relationship with ALEC is not worth the controversy on the eve of ALEC’s annual meeting in Salt Lake.

Connections Education, LLC is a subsidiary of the largest education company and largest book publisher in the world — $5.8 billion GBP London-based Pearson Education, as of November 2011.

Connections operates “virtual” K-12 schools.  Until as recently as May, Connections Academy’s co-founder and senior vice president of state relations, Mickey Revenaugh, was the “private sector” co-chair of ALEC’s Education Task Force, as she had been since at least 2008.  During its tenure with ALEC, Connections Education participated in the development of ALEC’sVirtual Public Schools Act,” its “Next Generation Charter Schools Act,” and the “Longitudinal Student Growth Act,” among other ALEC bills.

To read more about these latest ALEC insurgents, please click here