CMD

Koch Bros Retainer to PRWatch: “Bring It!”

Koch Bros Retainer to PRWatch: “Bring It!”

mary bottariby Mary Bottari at PRWatch

“Some interesting emails were released as part of theMilwaukee Journal Sentinel’s ongoing investigation of a $500,000 taxpayer grant awarded to the Koch-tied United Sportsmen’s group. The grant was tailor-made for United Sportsmen and slipped into the budget by State Representative Scott Suder as one of his last acts as a state legislator. (Suder, who also served as ALEC’s Wisconsin State Chair, was given a new job at the Public Utilities Commission and a $45,000 pay raise by Governor Scott Walker.)

“United Sportsmen of Wisconsin (USW) is a relatively new group that spent more money defending Scott Walker in the recall election than on deer licenses, and more money lobbying for a four mile, open-pit iron ore mine that threatens to shut down a large swath of state forest, than educating people about hunting.

“After the Journal Sentinel reported on the sweetheart deal for this little-known group, CMD/PRwatch uncovered the organization’s deep ties to David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity and the Tea Party. United Sportsmen’s website was registered by an AFP staffer, the group coordinated with AFP to send misleading mailers in advance of the 2011 recall elections, and AFP and United Sportsmen co-sponsored a “Freedom Fest” party in advance of the 2012 elections featuring Republican politicians and right-wing personalities. Luke Hilgemann, Suder’s former Chief of Staff, until recently headed the Wisconsin chapter of AFP and now is #2 at the national organization. CMD also uncovered how the United Sportsmen Board was populated by right-wing apparatchicks, including John Keegan, head of the Sauk County Tea Party, and Annette Olson, the Americans for Prosperity “Activist of the Year” for 2012 and leader of the Tea Party groups Women United for Liberty and Uninfringed Liberty.

“The Journal Sentinel also reported that the group “misled” law makers about its non-profit charitable status. The ensuing outrage over the blatant cronyism prompted Walker to rescind the grant September 5th, but Suder still has his plum job…”

Read the full PRWatch article -> HERE <-

5/20 ALEC/Koch News – Weekly Recap…

5/20 ALEC/Koch News – Weekly Recap…

By Bob Sloan

This has been a busy week for us here at VLTP.  To catch our readership and visitors up with news involving ALEC and their cabal, we’re publishing a larger segment today.

Click on the headline link(s) to read the full article or document from the original source.

First a development involving the Occupy Movement and how government resources have been used to suppress the Occupy Wall Street and other Occupy groups.

Obama Admin. Approves ALEC Model Bill for Fracking Chemical Fluid Disclosure on Public Lands

“On May 16, the Obama Interior Department announced its long-awaited rules governing hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) on federal lands.

“As part of its 171-page document of rules, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), part of the U.S. Dept. of Interior (DOI), revealed it will adopt theAmerican Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model bill written by ExxonMobil for fracking chemical fluid disclosure on U.S. public lands.

“ALEC is a 98-percent corporate-funded bill mill and “dating service” that brings predominantly Republican state legislators and corporate lobbyists together at meetings to craft and vote on “model bills” behind closed doors. Many of these bills end up snaking their way into statehouses and become law in what Bill Moyers referred to as “The United States of ALEC.”

Government Surveillance of Occupy Movement

– by Beau Hodai, CMD/DBA

“On May 20, 2013, DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy ?released the results of a year-long investigation: “Dissent or Terror:? How the Nation’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With ?Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street.”?? The report, a distillation of thousands of pages of records obtained? from counter terrorism/law enforcement agencies, details how? state/regional “fusion center” personnel monitored the Occupy Wall? Street movement over the course of 2011 and 2012.

“The report also examines how fusion centers and other counter terrorism entities that ?have emerged since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have? worked to benefit numerous corporations engaged in public-private? intelligence sharing partnerships. ??While the report examines many instances of fusion center monitoring? of Occupy activists nationwide, the bulk of the report ?details how counter terrorism personnel engaged in the Arizona Counter? Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC, commonly known as the “Arizona fusion center”) monitored and otherwise surveilled citizens active in? Occupy Phoenix, and how this surveillance benefited a number of ?corporations and banks that were subjects of Occupy Phoenix protest ?activity.

“?While small glimpses into the governmental monitoring of the Occupy Wall Street movement have emerged in the past, there has not been any reporting — until now — that details the breadth and depth with which the nation’s post-September 11, 2001 counter terrorism apparatus has been applied to politically engaged citizens exercising their Constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights.”

ALEC & Your Communications: Part 1: How AT&T, ALEC and the Other Communications Companies Created Model State Legislation to Harm You

“Let’s connect the dots.

“Starting in 2007, AT&T, Verizon, Centurylink and the cable companies, working with a group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), created state-based model legislation and principles designed by the companies to accomplish one thing — the removal of all regulations, obligations and oversight on the companies’ businesses. As the NRRI report outlines, 25 states have removed some, if not all regulations and oversight, and there are more to come in 2013…”

BOYCOTT KOCH BROTHERS, MONSANTO AND OTHER INDUSTRIES’ PRODUCTS LINING SUPERMARKET SHELVES

“The guessing game is over. No longer will consumers wonder what companies are behind the millions of products that fill supermarket shelves because there’s an app for that.

Buycott, now available on Apple and Android platforms, is a tool that allows consumers to organize their spending depending on personal values.

“The app helps consumers determine whether their spending is funding causes or campaigns that they either support or oppose. Buycott offers consumers the opportunity to align their principals and spending by avoiding products made by controversial big businesses such as Koch Industries, Monsanto and George Soros and, instead, buying products to help support the companies behind initiatives like local and sustainable food.” 

The States That Use the Most Green Energy

“California and Texas might be leading the nation’s rollout of solar and wind power, respectively, but Washington, where hydroelectric dams provide over 60 percent of the state’s energy, was the country’s biggest user of renewable power in 2011, according to new statistics released last week by the federal Energy Information Administration.

More than half of the 29 states that require utilities to purchase renewable power are currently considering legislation to pare back those mandates, in many cases pushed by (surprise, suprise) the American Legislative Exchange Council. “We’re opposed to these mandates, and 2013 will be the most active year ever in terms of efforts to repeal them,” ALEC energy task force director Todd Wynn recently told Bloomberg.”

On Paid Sick Days, Will Gov. Rick Scott Side with Moms or Mickey Mouse?

“Florida Governor Rick Scott is under pressure from Florida moms to veto a bill that would deliver a “kill-shot” to local efforts to guarantee paid sick days for workers. The legislation, which can be traced back the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), is backed by major corporate players with questionable labor records, including Disney.

“In April, the Florida legislature passed a corporate-backed bill to preempt local paid sick day laws, largely in response to a small-d democratic effort in Orange County to have residents vote on the issue. More than 50,000 Orange County voters signed petitions to place a paid sick day measure on the ballot, which would be effectively blocked if Governor Scott signs the law.

“As the Center for Media and Democracy has reported, paid sick day preemption bills have spread across the country after legislation that passed in Wisconsin was shared at an August 2011 ALEC meeting. The legislation in Florida was sponsored in the House and Senate by two ALEC members, House Majority Leader Steve Precourt and Sen. David Simmons.” 

Turning people who report corporate crime into criminals

by Jim Hightower

“In most state legislatures today, bizarre is not unusual, and off-the-wall has become the political center.

“Still, it seems strange that legislators in so many states — from California to Vermont — have simultaneously been pushing “ag-gag” bills that are not merely outrageous, but downright un- American. Each is intended to prevent journalists, whistleblowers, workers and other citizens from exposing illegal, abusive or unethical corporate treatment of animals confined in factoryfeeding operations.

“Oddly, each of these state proposals is practically identical, even including much of the same wording. That’s because, unbeknownst to the public and other legislators, the bills don’t originate from the state lawmakers who introduce them, instead coming from a corporate front group named ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council. Lobbyists for corporate funders of ALEC convene periodically to write model bills that serve their corporations’ special interests, then the bills are farmed out to the group’s trusted lawmakers across the country. The secretive ALEC network produced the ag-gag model in 2002, titling it the “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act. 

The terrible price of ag-gag laws

Rather than shutting observers out of slaughterhouses, we should open the doors even wider

“When the “pink slime” scandal exploded online last March, Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad called a press conference. But Brandstad and beef industry leaders weren’t there to apologize for processing scraps through centrifuges, then spraying American meat with ammonia gas. The event featured officials showing off t-shirts with the slogan “Dude, it’s beef!”

“After dismissing the public’s concerns about “pink slime,” agribusiness is now trying to stop the public from learning about practices like this in the first place.

“These laws are modeled on an “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act” produced by the American Legislative Exchange Council, the group behind voter ID laws and “stand your ground” gun laws.”

Open the Slaughterhouse Doors: It’s Time to See How the Sausage Gets Made

“In February in Salt Lake City, Amy Meyer stood on the street and used her cell phone to record what was happening outside a slaughterhouse. She then became the first person charged under one of the new so-called “ag-gag” laws.

“Six states currently have such “farm protection laws,” deliberately designed to stop video recording at slaughterhouses. The bills are largely industry-funded and based on a template drawn up by the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council. Another eight states have similar legislation in the works. Although the effort to clamp down on slaughterhouse recording has never been more organized, two such bills, in Indiana and here in California, recently failed, and the historic prosecution of Meyer also failed when her case was dropped last month.

 

MP on Google tax avoidance scheme: ‘I think that you do evil’

Google and Amazon face fresh attack over claims that their multibillion-pound UK-facing businesses should not be taxed

“Google and Amazon came under fierce attack from MPs and tax campaigners after fresh whistleblower allegations put further strain on claims by the internet giants that their multibillion-pound UK-facing businesses should not be taxed by Revenue & Customs.

“Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee, told Google’s northern Europe boss, Matt Brittin, that his company’s behaviour on tax was “devious, calculated and, in my view, unethical”.

“He had been recalled by MPs after being accused of misleading parliament over the firm’s tax affairs six months ago. Hodge said: “You are a company that says you ‘do no evil’. And I think that you do do evil.” Hodge was referring to Google’s long-standing corporate motto, “Don’t be evil,” which appeared in its $23bn US stock market flotation prospectus in 2004.”

This news about Google and Amazon follows the discovery that Starbucks has also been avoiding paying their full tax in the UK.  (Starbucks, Google and Amazon are all affiliated with ALEC or are/have been corporate members).

The shadowy conservative group ALEC has members in Nevada’s Legislature

“For years, liberal interest groups have slagged the American Legislative Exchange Council as a front for right-wing legislators and their supporters among the corporate elite. And with good reason. Corporations and corporate and industrial trade groups formed ALEC and still appear to control the group’s policy-making, legislation-writing apparatus.

“ALEC’s other side is its legislative membership. The group proudly proclaims on its website that it has 2,000 state-level legislators as members, presumably ready to advance its right-leaning agenda. And advance that agenda they do.

“Privatizing education, ditching workers safety and environmental protections, thwarting efforts to develop alternative energy, blocking gun control — the history of ALEC is a history of the modern right and its successes and failures.

‘Big Gulp’ bill passes House

“RALEIGH, N.C. — Cities would not be allowed to ban large servings of sugary drinks under a bill that passed the state House Wednesday night.

“House Bill 683, the “Commonsense Consumption” bill, would also prohibit people from filing “frivolous lawsuits” against food manufacturers or packagers for obesity, weight gain or health issues related to consumption of their products.

“The bill is model legislation promoted by pro-business advocacy group American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

“Sponsor Rep. Brian Brown, R-Pitt, said the measure “requests that individuals make smart decisions.”

GOP backs down on “right to work” in two states

“COLUMBUS, Ohio – Fearing public reaction which could hurt their party at the polls next year – symbolized by a mass May Day protest on the state Capitol lawn in Columbus, Ohio – Republican state legislative leaders in Ohio and Missouri effectively stopped drives for so-called “right to work” lawsin those legislatures.

“But the fight isn’t over yet, at least in Ohio. The Buckeye State’s statewide tea party affiliate says it will gather signatures, facing a July deadline, to put “right to work” on the ballot this November.

“Right to work (for less) is a longtime cause of business and its legislative handmaidens. Since the 2010 GOP mid-term election sweep, the radical right – led by the secretive, extremist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and so-called tea party groups – have joined that cause.

ALEC’s Most Wanted: Exposing a Front Group for Fossil Fuel Interests (and Other Corporations)

“The Center for Media and Democracy’s (CMD) Brendan Fischer and Nick Surgey uncovered an internal document from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) at the controversial organization’s meeting last week in Oklahoma City. The document entitled “OKC anti-ALEC photos” featured the headshots of eight reporters and public interest advocates that have written about ALEC or been critical of ALEC’s activities (as a front group working on behalf of its corporate membership).” 

Congressmen Pocan and Ellison Introduce “Right to Vote” Constitutional Amendment

“The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected,” wrote Thomas Paine in 1795.

Yet contrary to popular belief, there is no affirmative right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. This gap in our founding document has provided an opening for the wave of voter suppression measures that swept the country in recent years, and before that, the poll taxes and Jim Crow restrictions that disenfranchised millions. This week, two Congressmen — both from states at the epicenter of today’s voting rights struggles — are seeking to fix that.

“The right to vote is too important to be left unprotected,” said Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, who is co-sponsoring an amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing the right to vote.

“Pocan’s state, Wisconsin, passed one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country in 2011 after Governor Scott Walker and a GOP-dominated legislature took power. The law threatened to disenfranchise more than 300,000 voters who did not have the required forms of ID, primarily people of color, students, and the elderly. (Like many of the restrictive voter ID laws proposed since 2011, the bill tracked a “model” Voter ID Act from the American Legislative Exchange Council). But just months after Wisconsin’s law was enacted, a state court struck down the law based on the Wisconsin Constitution’s protections for voting rights.” 

Grading schools based on conservative ideals

“With the release of letter grades for Maine’s schools, Gov. Paul LePage unveiled yet another aspect of his misguided plan to reform education in the state. Looking to Florida as a model, he and his education commissioner assigned each school a grade on a scale of A to F and then published the results without ever explaining to the schools on what basis they were being graded. Imagine if your child were to bring home a letter grade on a test that he or she knew nothing about. You’d be outraged.

“Maine, by the way, also outranked Florida at No. 14 in fourth grade reading and No. 7 in eighth grade scores. So why choose Florida as a model? Why fly a delegation of politicians more than 1,000 miles to tell us how to change our schools when Massachusetts is a car ride away?

“We need look no further than The American Legislative Exchange Council for an answer. ALEC is a conservative think tank and lobbying group that writes model legislation on a variety of topics, including education. ALEC’s favorite education state is Florida, and LePage is one of ALEC’s biggest fans. In fact, his “Putting Students First” plan for Maine takes its language directly from ALEC.

“Among the strategies that ALEC promotes is assigning grades to schools. It assigned Florida the highest grade and awarded Massachusetts a C. ALEC’s grading system is based on how well states implement its conservative platform that includes privatizing education through school vouchers, lifting caps on charter schools, watering down teacher licensing requirements, supporting private schools at public expense, eroding local control through school choice programs, lifting homeschool regulations and encouraging virtual schooling.

Traffic Ticket Camera Company Channels Kafka, Threatening Court Appearances, Even Though “No Such Court Exists”

In fact, the plaintiffs say, a state judge has told the city that its system is illegal.

“May 15, 2013  |  A class action suit claims the City of Center Point and Redflex Traffic Systems illegally ticket drivers by threatening them with a court appearance if they refuse to pay fines, though “no such court exists.”

“Redflex owns and operates the traffic cameras for Center Point, which photographs cars believed to run red lights or stop signs or speed. 

“Similarly, the Notice of Violation sent to Stubbs and other members of the Class did not explain that the $100 ‘fine’ could not be collected unless the City filed a later, separate civil suit. Neither Ms. Stubbs nor any other Class member was informed that the Notice of Violation was not judicial in nature but was actually a non-binding collection notice.”

These laws allowing ticketing of vehicle owners based upon camera’s operated by a private company, are ALEC adopted model bills.  Originally submitted by American Traffic Solutions (an ALEC member) this legislation is being used in several states.  Those ticketed receive notices from the private company to pay traffic fines directly to the company.  Once received the private surveillance camera company takes their cut and forwards the balance to the clerk of the court.  In this way as described in this article about Mississippi, this removes any pretense of judicial review or appeal.  The cities using this form of surveillance often increase fines to cover the cost of additional paperwork or court appearances sought for defending such “camera tickets.”

NASDAQ Data Reveals Who’s Getting Rich Off the Prison-Industrial Complex

“Using NASDAQ data, I looked through the long list of investors in Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group, the two biggest corporations that operate detention centers in the US, to find out who was cashing in the most on prisons. When we say “prison-industrial complex,” this is who we’re talking about. 

Retired People and Probably You
“The Vanguard Group and Fidelity Investments are America’s top two 401(k) providers. They are also two of the private prison industry’s biggest investors.

“Together, they own about 20 percent of both CCA and GEO. That means if you have a 401(k) plan, there’s a good chance you benefit financially from private prisons. And even if you don’t, there are many more mutual funds, brokerage firms, and banks that invest in private prisons—it being a growth industry and all—so if you have money somewhere other than your wallet or your mattress, it’s a good bet you’re involved in some way with companies that are locking up and probably abusing inmates.

“This is especially true for government employees like public school teachers because their retirement funds are some of the biggest investors in private prisons. According to NASDAQ data, the retirement funds for public employees and teachers in New York and California together have about $60 million ($30 million each) invested in CCA and GEO. Teacher retirement funds in Texas and Kentucky have $8.3 million and $4 million invested in prisons respectively, and public employees in Florida ($10.3 million), Ohio ($8.6 million), Texas ($5.6 million), Arizona ($5.3 million), and Colorado ($2.25 million) are also connected to the industry. Except for New York, which has only one privately run detention facility, each of these states has several prisons run by CCA and GEO Group facilities. And it’s not just Americans who have ties to prisons. Foreign investors have money in them as well, including the pension fund for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which recently sold off its $5.1 million worth of GEO Group stock.”

 

05/01 Daily Report on Activities, Legislation and Initiatives of the ALEC/Koch Cabal

05/01 Daily Report on Activities, Legislation and Initiatives of the ALEC/Koch Cabal

By Bob Sloan

Below are today’s articles and materials related to ALEC and the Koch funded conservative cabal.  Included ALEC published material – if available.

Click on a link to view the complete article.

First “Ag-Gag” Prosecution: This Utah Woman Filmed a Slaughterhouse from the Public Street

“This is the first prosecution in the country under one of these laws, which are designed to silence undercover investigators who expose animal welfare abuses on factory farms. The legislation is a direct response to a series of shocking investigations by groups like the Humane Society, Mercy for Animals, and Compassion Over Killing that have led to plant closures, public outrage, and criminal charges against workers.

“Even the most sweeping ag-gag bills, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council model legislation, don’t explicitly target filming from a roadside. But Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Vermont are all considering bills similar to the Utah law right now.”

Renewable energy becomes a utility lifeline

“When North Carolina Republicans brought forth a bill pushed by the conservative lobbying group ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, to gut the state’s renewable energy standards, they figured they had a model piece of pro-business legislation that would sail through the legislature this year.

“But, as North American Windpower gleefully reported, it died in committee. Key to the story is the committee where it died — public utilities and energy.”

The Oil And Gas Industry’s Assault On Renewable Energy

A Bloomberg article released last week details how the oil and gas industry, through some self-described free market organizations that they fund, are trying to engineer a legislative massacre of these policies in more than a dozen states.

“The groups may sound familiar: American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is currently pushing legislation around the country that would mandate the teaching of climate change denial in public school systems, and The Heartland Institute, which ran a billboard campaign last year comparing global warming “admitters” to Osama bin Laden and Charles Manson. Both have long opposed sensible energy policies. And their funders will sound familiar, too: the oil, gas and coal industries and their owners like the Koch Brothers.”

A Movement Is Needed to Get Corporations to Disclose All Their Political Spending. Let’s Start It

“Among those pressuring companies to be more forthcoming is Rob McGarrah of the AFL-CIO’s Office of Investment. The union owns shares of stock in many companies, including Cigna, and is asking them to provide shareholders and the public with a more complete accounting of spending to influence public policy.

“McGarrah was unsuccessful in persuading Cigna to disclose “special assessments” on behalf of AHIP and other groups, so the AFL-CIO submitted a shareholder resolution that would compel the company to report indirect funding of lobbying through trade associations and tax-exempt organizations, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, which drafts “model legislation” to protect business interests.”

ALEC-Orchestrated Bill To Preempt Paid Sick Leave Passes Florida Senate

“But “preemption bills,” laws orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that override any efforts to implement paid sick days, are also gaining speed, with the latest passed by Florida’s state Senate on Friday. The bill, which had huge support from Disney World, Darden Restaurants (owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster), and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, would delay local government efforts to adopt paid sick leave policies.”

How to get to work on time in Russia (and more from In Other News)

“Prodded by the meat and poultry industries, state legislators nationwide are introducing laws making it harder for animal-welfare advocates to investigate cruelty and food-safety cases. Measures in Indiana, Arkansas and Pennsylvania, for example, would outlaw videotaping agricultural operations. Iowa already made it illegal to deny belonging to an animal-welfare organization when applying for a farm job. Other bills are pending in California, Nebraska and Tennessee. The force behind this legislative agenda, whose purpose, Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the United States, insisted, “is to prevent any pattern of abuse from being documented,” is the American Legislative Exchange Council. It labels those who interfere with animal operations “terrorists” and titled the California bill the “Animal and Ecological Terrorist Act,” although an ALEC official admitted “Freedom to Farm Act” would’ve sounded better. (Associated Press)”

Governor Mary Fallin to Address Legislators from Across the United States

“OKLAHOMA CITY  —  Governor Mary Fallin will speak to hundreds of state legislators from across the country on Thursday at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Spring Task Force Summit. The two day summit will be held this year at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.

“Fallin, who was named a “Legislator of the Year” by ALEC while serving as a state representative, will discuss this year’s legislative session and highlight the success of pro-growth policies in Oklahoma.”

LETTER: ALEC too far right for these groups

“The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a group promoting far-right legislation. Its tax exempt status is currently challenged, as its sole purpose is to formulate legislation promoting extremely conservative points of view and helping the rich and powerful maintain their status.

“The South Dakota Legislative Board has voted to spend our tax dollars to pay for membership dues for all our state legislature’s members and all their expenses to attend ALEC meetings.”

ALEC related material published or distributed by ALEC…

National Center for Public Policy Research to Participate in Five Shareholder Meetings this Week, Bringing Total to 18 So Far for this Shareholder Meeting Season

“Washington, D.C. – The National Center for Public Policy Research will directly address five major U.S. corporations this week as part of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project, which calls major corporations to account for activities that undermine the free market and/or a free and prosperous United States.

“Activities of particular interest include 1) corporations engaging in cronyist practices that suck money from taxpayers; 2) corporations lobbying to expand the size of government; 3) corporations imposing expensive private regulatory regimes on suppliers, often for greenwashing purposes, in the name of “sustainability;” and 4) corporations caving in to ridiculous left-wing demands, for example, demands to shun the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

“The National Center also attends meetings to compliment CEOs who stand up for freedom and the free market.”

Double Dog Dare – To ALEC State Chairs

In an October 2010 Press Release ALEC stated:

ALEC is a private organization similar to membership organizations such as the YMCA.  Federal law allows non-profits to protect the privacy of non-profit donors, but requires all non-profits to publicly disclose annual financial reports.

No – ALEC is not like the YMCA.

I question why it was important in this press release for ALEC to justify the secrecy of its member list, by noting that they allowed by “Federal law” to “protect the privacy” of their donors.
In my opinion the US public has the right to know who is a card carrying, “copy and paste”, “bill mill” legislative (state and federal) member of ALEC.
Card carrying, “copy and paste”, “bill mill” ALEC legislators (state and federal) who belong to ALEC are basically a nefarious shadow government within the US – with their ALEC identity and political beliefs hidden and unknown to the general public.
It is important to realize that the list of ALEC legislators on ALEC Exposed is incomplete.  The list of ALEC legislators on ALEC Exposed is available only because dedicated researchers have culled every ALEC related document they could find to identify ALEC members.
ALEC members for the most part DO NOT PUBLICLY SELF IDENTIFY with ALEC.
I will bet – yes I will -that NOT ONE ALEC member has contacted ALEC Exposed and said”You don’t have my name on your list, please add it.”
ALEC members don’t want to be known
– ALEC members want to remain hidden and unknown to the general public
because they know deep in their heart that belonging to ALEC is wrong.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
For years, ALEC has spouted off about TRANSPARENCY.
Well – it is time for ALEC to put their 98% of corporate backed money where their mouth is.

TWO YEARS AGO, March 31, 2011, In an ALEC email to their state chairs

ALEC anointed my blog (along with Daily Kos contributors, Democratic Underground contributors, & William Cronin) as “radical opponents”.
In that email to the state chairs ALEC stated:
We want to make you aware of the recent activities from our radical opponents. Liberal blogs are encouraging their followers to confront legislators at town hall meetings, attempt to identify them through inquiries and using email addresses, encourage open records requests of legislator emails, and even picket in Cincinnati. You should know that ALEC staff does not divulge the names of its members or any membership lists. As State Chair, you may be asked for a list of your state members.  It is your choice, and that of your state legislative members, if you wish to release the names of your members.
notice to legislative members-1
TWO YEARS AGO
In an email to their state chairs ALEC told them:  It is your choice, and that of your state legislative members, if you wish to release the names of your members.
In two years – to the best of my knowledge only two state chairs have willingly released the names of ALEC members in their state.
TWO YEARS LATER
I am issuing a double dog dare to ALEC state chairs and to ALEC legislative members.
On or before March 31, 2013, two years after ALEC gave you permission
It is your choice, and that of your state legislative members, if you wish to    release the names of your members.
PUBLICLY distribute your entire ALEC state member list.

Send it to CMD  or publish your list (with your name and email) as a comment to this blog entry.

Double dog dare you!

Won’t do it?

Have members that won’t do it?
 
Why not?

Are your ALEC members embarrassed and ashamed to admit they belong to the right-wing, extremist, ultraconservative American Legislative Exchange Council?

Posted by at
because I can logo

Conservative plans to oppose wind power – Using the Conservative Template for PR/Propaganda

This strategy document calls for a national PR campaign aimed at causing ‘subversion … so that it effectively becomes so bad that no one wants to admit in public they are for it’.

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UPDATED

…been thinking a lot about this post from earlier today. So much that I’ve changed the title with this update…This is such valuable information for environmentalists and other who believe in the need for renewable, “green” energy…but…deja vu all over again

VLTP has covered the conservative echo chamber and the way that the radical right uses it to sell their ideas to people who believe easy talking points and as easily-digested an explanation as possible.  But I’ve never seen the template, the modus operandus (part of the ALEC DNA)  spelled out this concisely before by a conservative source.

Amazingly, this strategy has worked for so long – and it still works.  It Still Works.  When will the media realize that they are being used to manipulate the American people?

Oops.  Forgot.  The myth of the “liberal” media.

Take a look at the list of ALEC’s Corporate Members from CMD’s SourceWatch (click here to refresh your memory).  Major networks.  Major newspapers.  Major publishers.  Major advertisers.

Catch the ads from ALEC’s Corporate Members all over the prime time on t MSNBC, as well as on the MSNBC web site.  What happened to Current TV?  Could it have been their advertising stance?

Aaron Sorkin got it right-on when he wrote this into his fictional HBO series, Newsroom. Click here to watch a key scene about how economic pressure could be used to quiet the way the medium is used to convey the message (apologies to Marshall McLuhan).

To get back on point, tonight’s evening news was airing a report on the NRA’s ongoing fight against gun control.  All I could think was how simple it would be to substitute the NRA, gun control, and Wayne LaPierre for those who oppose green energy in the article below.

In Australia they are currently fighting the Tobacco War, much as we did here years ago.  ALEC is there with their local members – including Sen. Cory Bernardi –using the playbook developed here.  A key part of their strategy is a PR campaign based on the same template that produced the National Campaign Strategy in the article below.

You can easily see the PR/Propaganda Template below in this report from The Guardian, U.K.

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Conservative plans to oppose wind power – memo

(This) Strategy document calls for a national PR campaign aimed at causing ‘subversion … so that it effectively becomes so bad that no one wants to admit in public they are for it’.

alecfossilfuelfunders

(here is the downloaded text file of campaign plans.  Emphasis added by me)

1: NATIONAL PR CAMPAIGN PROPOSAL
Draft from Rich Porter: 4/25/11.  Edited by John Droz: 1/23/12
— CONFIDENTIAL —

PR Audiences:

Policy/Political,
Local-State-Federal,
Landowner/Lease Grantor,
General Public (including non-rural population),
Tax Payer,
Utility Rate Payer,
Business Owner,
Media Academics,
Students

PR Strategy:

Create a national professional Public Relations (PR) campaign to effectively communicate with the selected audiences using targeted messages.   Have a consistent, positive, national message.  Be FOR something (e.g. Science), not AGAINST something (e.g. wind energy). Be proactive vs reactive. 

The minimum national PR campaign goal is to constructively influence national and state wind energy policies. A broader possible goal is to constructively influence national and state energy and environmental policies. Resolve: are our interests just wind energy, or broader?

The goal will be realized by coordination of a focused message along many channels and with multiple voices. The intent is to target the identified audiences with consistent messaging to create positive change.  Public opinion must begin to change among citizens at large. Create a grass-roots ground swell from which the clamor for change will reach the elected officials and policy-makers.

The message will be determined from a variety of analysis techniques including inputs from local groups and others who have an interest in spreading the message. The message will be tested for resonance with the audiences, and the dynamic of the audience shall be periodically assessed.

In addition to have the appropriate message, it needs to be communicated optimally.

We need to study and apply good communication skills.

Decide whether or not a national organization is advisable as well
(Part 2).


Goals of the PR Campaign

A) Cause the targeted audience to change its opinion and action based on the messages.

B) Provide credible counter message to the (wind) industry.

C) Disrupt industry message with countermeasures.

D) Cause subversion in message of industry so that it effectively becomes so bad no one wants to admit in public they are for it (much like wind has done to coal, by turning green to black and clean to dirty).

Ultimate Goal: Change policy direction based on the message. 


Some PR Tactics:

Most of this could be done by volunteers without having a formal
national organization.  Discuss how this would work and who would have
what responsibilities.

Consider joining forces w some already established organization where there is substantial commonality and commitment (e.g. ATI, Heartland, IER, CEI, Marshall, Brookings, Cato, Manhattan, AFP, FW, CFACT, ALEC, NA-PAW, etc.).

Provide training to local leaders regarding PR.

Provide local groups support materials, like PowerPoint templates to put on local education seminars, document templates for them to file with their state utility commission, etc.

Have a high-quality professional brochure available as a handout,
which summarizes the situation with wind energy (e.g. Rasmussen).

Encourage critical thinking from members and the public.

Develop a list of experts for testimony to government agencies, etc.

Identify key topics (e.g. health) and get volunteers to act as a clearing house for information and posting timely information for activists on a website.

Assign key people to be media interfaces (those who are knowledgeable can think on their feet, camera friendly, etc.)

Coordinate messages to address local, state and federal levels of
lawmakers.

Create some catch phrases of wind energy — e.g. puff power, breeze energy.

Setup a volunteer lobbying effort to reach key lawmakers. 

Identify and connect with like-minded groups such as tax, tea party, true environmentalists, business organizations, property rights advocates, etc.

 

2: NATIONAL ORGANIZATION PROPOSAL
Some Considerations Regarding a National Organization:

 [Note: This is optional. All of the above PR would be done as well, but having a funded national organization would allow for a more comprehensive PR effort.]

Decide on the purpose of a national organization, and how it would interface with local groups.  (E.g. local websites would primarily have info pertaining to the local issues. Education re wind energy would be handled nationally.)

Decide on the structure of a national organization, and where the funds would come from to support it.

Create a “think-tank” subgroup to produce and disseminate white paper reports and scientific quotes and papers that back-up the message. 

Timely gathering of information as it appears in media outlets on this subject.

Media Outreach & Response (communications) Committee will create and coordinate media contact campaigns. Use PR Newswire as the wind industry does currently.

Create advertising campaign for radio, TV, and alternative media. Coordinate with signage, tee-shirts, hats, bumper stickers etc.

Employ a well-known spokesman with star credibility. (Find one to volunteer?)

Develop corporate partnerships where the message goes onto bags, signs, tents and other outlets. Start a “get people talking” campaign. Use controversy to spark ideas.

Youth Outreach will create program for public school coordination as well as college coordination. This will include community activity and participation with sponsorships for science fairs, school activity etc. with preset parameters that cause students to steer away from wind because they discover it doesn’t meet the criteria we set up (poster contest, essays etc).

Setup a dummy business that will go into communities considering wind development, proposing to build 400 foot billboards.

Social Media Outreach director/create coordination for message on web and in Twitter-type outreach, YouTube, etc.

Create counter-intelligence branch (responsible for communicating current industry tactics and strategies as feedback to this organization)

A team investigates links to any organization supporting wind in order to expose that support.

Provide alternative solutions for public consumption as well as re-branding of the current wind industry?

Write expose book on the industry, showing government waste, harm to communities and other negative impacts on people and the environment.

Meme (self-replicating messages) Response Coordinator (This will help slow the meme effect of the industry, for instance when a company places a seal  showing wind power was used to produce the product, we automatically assign a tax wasting  symbol to the product and recommend a boycott on the website.  When a company uses wind power as marketing tool, or illustration such as a toy manufacturer showing turbines on the box, we automatically contact them to tell them we will list them on the web as actively participating in disinformation by favorably showing wind turbines).

Legal Department for contract review and guidance on communication efforts, and also taking developers (etc.) to court on various issues to cause media exposure. Maintain a comprehensive  collection of court cases on this subject. Also to provide legal voice for those who have none in this issue.  Develop legal strategies that can be copied in other areasTake zoning boards to court to rezone as industrial land to create chilling effect on signing contracts.  Also sue for property value loss to small land holders, and use all legal cases to create media poster child effect. Sue states regarding RPS. Sue state utility commissioners who don’t do their job. Etc.

Proposed Structure of a National Organization  

A paid, full time director will report to a board on which the director has a voting seat.  The director shall have one paid executive assistant.  The organization shall rely on a network of volunteer state committee chairpeople who are to coordinate efforts to disseminate the message in the state.  The chairperson shall make contacts and maintain them with various ad hoc groups throughout the state that would benefit from the coordinated message.

The director shall make use of information gathering technology to stay abreast of developments in the media and industry and then coordinate appropriate messages accordingly.   This technology shall include a subscription to Nexus.

The director shall also develop and maintain contacts and coordinate their actions in regards to the message.

The organization shall maintain 501c3 and PAC status and shall coordinate lobby efforts at the congressional and state levels.

The director will make use of scientific research which is designed to gauge the response to the message and allow for the adjustment of the message from time to time.  The same research is also to determine the weaknesses in opposition messages for the purpose of exploiting them to the end goal of the campaign.

National Organization: Details and Narrative. 

The purpose of a national organization would be to do a better, quicker job at constructively influencing national and state wind energy policies. A broader possible goal might be to constructively influence national and state energy and environmental policies.

The goal will be realized by coordination of a focused message along many channels and with multiple voices. The intent is to target three audiences with consistent messaging to create the change.  Public opinion must begin to change in what should appear as a “groundswell” among grass roots.   The message will be determined from a variety of analysis techniques including interviews with local groups and others who have an interest in spreading the message.  Those who hold opposing views must also be assessed.  The analysis will include scientific polls as well as focus groups to be used on a continuing basis from time to time to direct and focus the campaign on messages that are useful to the end goal.  As perceptions change over time, a barometer must be used to determine those changes and make dynamic adjustments in the  message and campaign.

The amount of time and energy the campaign will consume will necessarily require a minimum of two paid positions with consideration for the addition of other paid positions as the campaign grows and is able to garner more funding.  A director will be appointed by a board, on which the director shall make material contributions to the direction the board takes in its approach.   The director should have at least one administrative assistant paid to help with work loads.  The work load of the director will likely exceed 60 hours per week and more if travel is included.  A travel budget should also be planned to allow the director to meet with key persons in the various states where the campaign will become active.

The director position assumes that volunteers are ready and willing to begin serving in various committee positions as soon as possible.  The beginning committees can be constituted by a board vote and should include the following for immediate activation:

Media
Science
Regional State Coordinators
Networking
Political / Lobby
Group Policy.

The group policy committee will decide the key messages and focus and will use data from analysis and research to make its decisions.  The decisions from this committee will be used to guide the efforts of the organization in communicating with the prospective audiences.  This committee is responsible for analyzing and responding to the dynamics of the audiences over time, and is key to successfully implementing the strategy by identifying the correct arguments and tone for resonance among the audiences.

The media committee is responsible for implementing the message in a variety of media resources including traditional media, new media, social media and networking.  This committee will also be responsible for using analysis to determine the most appropriate packaging of the message for the various outlets.  It should consider what channels and voices to use in each instance.  This committee will have the responsibility of message integrity, that is, the continuity of message.  The committee will need resources for message positioning as well as utilizing free message placement techniques.

The science committee will be responsible for assembling a directorate of scientists with the proper credentials to be accepted by main stream media.  Those credentials are also important in making the scientific material harder to target and more difficult to tear down by the opposition.  This committee will coordinate with the directorate to develop a highly respectable collection of scientific white papers and reports that are consistent in their approach to supporting the messages chosen as most likely to succeed.  This committee will provide well respected scientists for media and political symposiums to be conducted to further establish the messages.  They will coordinate their efforts with other committees whose duties will include dissemination of the science.

The state and regional coordinators will be volunteers appointed to regional positions to remain in contact with the state leaders in their area.  They will ascertain the needs of the state and also local campaigns and be responsible for regularly reporting those needs to the organization so they can be addressed.  They will also be responsible for coordinating the flow of information in two directions between the organization and the state.  They should hold a monthly meeting where round -robin information sharing assures the flow of information up into the organization.  The coordinators will also individually be responsible for reaching out weekly to their state contacts to maintain a current picture of the situation on the ground, and should communicate any urgent state needs directly up to the director who should then coordinate the appropriate response.

The networking committee will be responsible for coordinating the response of networked groups with like-mind on our message. These will include the tea party, anti-tax leagues and utility rate groups as well as government watch-dog, anti-waste groups.  This committee will help spread our message to the network groups and then gather feed-back as to their interests and needs for further information from the organization.

Political and lobby committee is the coordinating arm for the message going to elected officials and contact with them in the capacity of lobby efforts.  This group ideally will be able to present a ground swell of public opinion in addition to facts that support the message.  The lobby efforts will include targeted opposition to current bills that continue the policy this organization opposes.   A coordination with the science committee is important to provide facts for lawmakers in a format they can understand easily.

Funding for a National Organization

The organization will need funding and a recommendation of $750,000 for seed and startup is probably a realistic number.  Printed materials, mailing, and the creation of a media packet, plus phone and computer links and information services.  Travel will be necessary as well.  The director should receive a salary of not less than $80,000 per year with an assistant receiving $35,000 per year.  The director should have experience in PR and media with the appropriate understanding of marketing techniques.  High level of creativity in developing media strategies, with emphasis on writing and communications.  This person must think outside the box and be willing to use the latest understanding of PR to counteract the opposing message and strategy across a broad range of audiences.

This is a recommendation to hire a professional fundraiser responsible for coordinating  donations to both the 501c3 and Pac.  The fundraising efforts should be separated from the duties of the director so as not to interfere with the day to day activities needed to keep the campaign moving forward.

  Example Scenario (for a National Organization)

In this example, the group policy committee has identified that a particular bill providing funding for the opposition has been advanced to committee for a hearing.  Policy committee has asked for a coordinated effort to stop the progress of the funding measure.

First, the lobby committee uses their contacts to begin a campaign from the inside against the bill with phone calls and private meetings.  They meet with several staffers who suggest that the bill is being supported because it has been moved as green legislation and several committee members are afraid to oppose it on that basis.  The lobby committee reports this to media and science for further action.

The media committee decides to use a full page advertisement in the Washington Post as a method of communicating the ‘not so green truth’ to congress, and at the same time coordinates a special interview and story from a scientific point of view that illustrates the dirty side of the industry.  At this same time, the science committee holds a press conference to announce that the industry is using dishonesty and “greenwashing” as a cover for what amounts to corporate welfare.  

The message is also repeated in Wash Times, WSJ, Fox and other sources.

State regional coordinators are tapped at this time to provide a letter writing campaign from the grass roots asking the key legislators to back away from the funding measure.  This campaign is also echoed in various directorate groups coordinated from the organization including tea party, anti-tax leagues, etc.

The coordinated effort stretches across multi-channels and multi-voices, and appears to come from as many as a dozen separate sources, but the message is the same and stays on point.  The created barrage of voices provides enough cover that the elected officials have a way to vote no because they can clearly see they have support for our position.

CONCLUSION

A more consistent professional PR campaign is an absolute imperative. With well over a hundred US local groups fighting the same issue, it is clearly advisable that these people be on the same page. What sense does it make for each of these groups to be reinventing the wheel, and duplicating efforts?

There are several options as to how this can be implemented, ranging from the informal to the very structured.

The low cost alternative is to continue to rely on volunteers, and not to have a national organization. That can work, to a degree, but there still is a critical need for the numerous local groups across the country to work more closely together. Exactly how that can be best done is what needs to be resolved.

The more high-end approach would insure the widest distribution of the best message — but will require considerable time effort and funding. A national organization can not be accomplished without full-time people working to coordinate local efforts. Are we prepared to commit to that option at this point?  

Establishing a national organization (if that is the chosen route) should be viewed as a long term project.  A three year plan should be developed that can offer some time table for expected results. Due to the size of this undertaking, this plan should include a roll-out period where a test of the organization can be made in a single state or region of states first, before going to a national format.

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This article was published by The Guardian, and can be found at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/interactive/2012/may/09/wind-power-memo
the guardian

Pennsylvania Act 13 Overturned by Supreme Court, Originally an ALEC Model Bill

On July 26, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled PA Act 13 unconstitutional. The bill would have stripped away local zoning laws, eliminated the legal concept of a Home Rule Charter, limited private property rights, and in the process, completely disempowered town, city, municipal and county governments, particularly when it comes to shale gas development.

To read the Court’s Decision, please click here.

Where could the idea for such a bill come from in the first place? Rosenfeld pointed to the oil and gas industry in his piece.

That’s half of the answer. Pennsylvania is the epicenter of the ongoing fracking boom in the United States, and by and large, is a state seemingly bought off by the oil and gas industry.

The other half of the question left unanswered, though, is who do oil and gas industry lobbyists feed anti-democratic, state-level legislation to?

The answer, in a word: ALEC.  PA Act 13, Originally an ALEC Model Bill 

To read this excellent reporting that will answer a lot of questions about fracking laws around the country, please click here


ALEC – Hidden Memberships EXPOSED!

Over the past year, much information about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has come to light.  The public learned of ALEC; model legislation, secret membership lists and denial of media access to ALEC events and meetings.  A complete website dedicated to exposing “everything ALEC” has been created helping to inform about ALEC.

Daily Kos and VLTP Researchers have been continuously digging through thousands of pages of FOIA’s, articles and documents. These efforts have revealed some important facts involving ALEC.

In addition to the standard Legislative and Corporate memberships, ALEC offers several additional “types” of membership; Legacy, Full and Subscription memberships.  Some individuals previously thought of as ALEC “alumni” are in fact important but undisclosed card carrying members –foreign lawmakers may also hold such memberships.

Full Membership

ALEC’s 2009 revised bylaws offer “full” memberships to current or former state, US and foreign lawmakers:

Section 3.03    Qualifications for Membership.
Full Membership shall be open to persons dedicated to the preservation of individual liberty, basic American values and institutions, productive free enterprise, and limited representative government, who support the purposes of ALEC, and who serve, or formerly served as members of a state or territorial legislature, the United States congress, or similar bodies outside the United States of America. (emphasis added) (Source: http://www.scribd.com/…)

Discovering that sitting Congressional members are eligible to maintain full membership in ALEC is more than worrisome, it is outright frightening with 98 known ALEC “alumni” holding seats in Congress today – without our knowing how many of those are actually ALEC members – with another 60+ Tea Party members, elected with Koch money.

Finding that Governors, heads of departments and Congressional members loyal to ALEC may secretly be a lifetime member was unexpected and disturbing.  The very real possibility that foreign politicians also have the ability to hold full memberships in ALEC and discuss and contribute to the development of laws implemented at any level in the U.S., sends my level of concern off the scale.  Most of us have the belief that our U.S. State Department is the agency responsible for foreign policy determinations. We were unaware that ALEC was involved in helping set U.S policy by giving foreign nations a voice in our legislative processes.

Identifying individuals with full membership in addition to current serving state legislators is difficult to obtain.  We are still researching this particular style of membership.  It is suspected foreign members with ALEC memberships include Roger Helmer and/or Liam Fox from the UK (both MP’s with Fox being the former Minister of Defence that resigned due to the ALEC/Atlantic Bridge Charity scandal).  Roger Helmer is a frequent attendee and speaker at ALEC functions.

ALEC has eighteen foreign “delegates” but it is not known if they have full memberships.  Many have attended ALEC conferences and meetings held in the U.S.   The Atlantic Bridge affairexposed ALEC for its relationship with their British counterpart:

“In 2003, Fox and Werritty officially partnered with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to form the Atlantic Bridge nonprofit. The relationship flourished; ALEC supplied staff to the Atlantic Bridge, and Fox and his associates frequently spoke at ALEC events, which are comprised of meetings between American politicians and business lobbyists. But with the implosion of the Atlantic Bridge, which has already ensnared lobbyists for Pfizer and several defense firms, the controversy has brought ALEC into the limelight.

Speaking at a 2008 ALEC conference in Chicago, Secretary Fox said,

We at Atlantic Bridge have been delighted at the success of our partnership with ALEC and we’re excited about what we might achieve together in the future.” “In particular,” he added, “we are patting ourselves on the back at having chosen such adisguised and solid values-based organization to be our partner because the values that you have need to be embedded at every level of government — not just national or federal government.” Given the way Fox exported ALEC’s stealth lobbying agenda to the UK, one must wonder when the Atlantic Bridge corruption scandal will hit the United States.”

“Disguised…organization” was a curious choice of words for Fox, but appropriate.  The discovery that ALEC had an affiliated organization in the UK which had been cleverly hidden and disguised for eight years was unknown to most.  The UK scandal revealed the affiliation between the Atlantic Bridge and ALEC “Charities”.

Legacy Membership

The second less known ALEC membership is called “Legacy” (or lifetime).  This option is also available to current or former ALEC members and at least one former state lawmaker holding a legacy membership is now working on behalf of an ALEC Corporate member (see: Drozda below).
This is the most expensive and prestigious individual membership offered by ALEC.  Cost is $5,000.00 paid in one of three options:
•    One payment of $5,000
•    Two consecutive annual payments of $2,500 ea.
•    Five consecutive annual payments of $1,000 ea.
We’ve begun compiling a list of those holding Legacy memberships and believe Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina holds an ALEC lifetime membership.  In 2008 then a SC State Rep., Haley applied for a Legacy membership by making the first payment of $1,000.00 to ALEC as reported to the S.C. ethics commission.

Haley

We believe the $1,000 payment listed by Haley as an “Annual membership payment” was for the lifetime membership.  The normal annual membership fee to an ALEC state lawmaker is/was $50.00 per year paid every two years in amounts of $100.00.  If Rep. Haley was not paying for a legacy/life membership, she was paying for 20 years of membership.  Other lawmakers paying for a lifetime membership submitted payments in the same manner as Governor Haley did.

To clarify the reason for the expenditure was an installment of a Legacy membership; this author contacted the Governor’s press office and sent an email query to the Governor for explanation or comment.  Both requests went without response or comment from the Governor or her representatives.

Below is the ALEC “Legacy Brochure” :

Legacy Brochure 1

Legacy Brochure 2

Legacy Brochure 3

Legacy Brochure 4
I contacted Kaitlyn Buss, ALEC’s Director of Communications with a list of questions regarding the Legacy Membership program and whether or not Governor Haley had continued her lifetime membership in ALEC and/or had attended ALEC meetings/conferences since becoming governor of S.C.  Ms. Buss also failed to respond to my queries or offer any response.

As noted in the actual application, ALEC Legacy “benefits” begin with the first installment; “Legacy Membership Program and benefits become effective after receipt of the first contribution” stated at the bottom of the application form.  State Rep. Haley was an active and acknowledged lifetime member of ALEC – with all the rights and benefits available – at the time she subsequently announced her candidacy for Governor of South Carolina.  It is unknown which of ALEC’s nine task forces Governor Haley chose to become an advisor to.

South Carolina Rep. Liston Barfield was seen wearing a Legacy member badge at the ALEC Annual Conference in New Orleans in August 2011:

Barfield
Possibly looking at key legislation proposed in SC by Barfield and other known ALEC members and/or signed into law by Governor Haley, will help us answer the question about whether the Governor’s loyalties are to constituents or to ALEC.

Exempting ALEC from the state lobbying laws:

•    SECTION 2-17-5.   Transfer of duties and powers from Secretary of State to State Ethics Commission. This 2011 legislation exempts ALEC from S.C.’s lobbying laws:
SECTION 2-17-90.   Acts prohibited of lobbyists’ principals; acts prohibited of public officials and employees; exceptions; disclosure requirements.,,
“…(1) In addition, invitations may be extended and accepted when the invitation is extended to all members in attendance at (a) national and regional conventions and conferences of organizations for which the General Assembly pays annual dues as a membership requirement and (b) American Legislative Exchange Council conventions and conferences;”

ALEC styled legislation was introduced last year by ALEC member, Senator Rose (in Jan. 2011) titled:

•    “Council on Efficient Government Act”, (S. 177).  This closely resembles ALEC’s model legislation by the same name; “Council on Efficient Government Act”.  This legislation is currently residing in the Senate Committee on Finance.  The bill is described as: “…TO PROVIDE THE REQUIREMENTS OF A STATE AGENCY PROPOSAL TO OUTSOURCE GOODS OR SERVICES, TO PROVIDE FOR AN ACCOUNTING METHOD TO BE USED BY THE COUNCIL, AND TO PROVIDE EXCEPTIONS”.
•     “Voter ID” legislation of 2011(H-3003) that again closely resembles ALEC’s “Voter ID Act”, was introduced or sponsored by S.C. ALEC members (Clemmons, Barfield, Sandifer, etc.) and was passed and signed into law by Governor Haley.
•     The “EDUCATION FINANCE ACT OF 2011” (H-3002), “Income tax credit” for tutoring expenses (up to $2,000) incurred by the taxpayer in a taxable year for the tutoring of an eligible student.  This also closely resembles ALEC’s “The Family Education Tax Credit Program Act
•    Another Bill “TO PROVIDE THAT A LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT IS EXEMPT FROM STATE STATUTES AND REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE STATE BOARD UPON MEETING CERTAIN CONDITIONS”, and
•    Legislation “RELATING TO THE DEFINITION OF “TEACHER”, SO AS TO REVISE THE DEFINITION BY REQUIRING CERTAIN MINIMUM TIME IN THE CLASSROOM AMONG OTHER CRITERIA” (H-3018).
•    ALEC member Rep. Clemmons also introduced “Teacher contracts” legislation (H-3028) extending teacher induction period from one to three years.  This means teachers can be forced to work as an Induction teacher for three years before applying for or receiving a permanent position and contract salary.  Again some of the language and intent is similar to ALEC’s “Career Ladder Opportunities Act.”
•    The legislature (through ALEC members Rep. Smith and Rep. Loftis) proposed legislation establishing the “S.C. College and University Board of Regents” (H-3025).  This proposed legislation would eliminate the South Carolina State Commission on Higher Education and the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education, replacing it with a Board of Regents. Not surprisingly, this legislation contains much of the same wording as ALEC’s “Resolution Supporting Training and Continuing Education for Higher Education Governing Boards”.
•    A “Private School Tax Credit” bill to provide a tax credit of $100.00 per child for purchase of books or supplies used for home schooling or attending Charter Schools.
•    A Constitutional Amendment to remove the Superintendent of Education as an elected post, and make that position one of gubernatorial appointment, with duties, compensation and oversight controlled by the General assembly.

Repealing the Patient Affordable Care Act is also a key ALEC pursuit.

•    S.C. ALEC members proposed a “Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act” (H-3011, sponsor Rep. G. Smith) that is titled exactly the same as ALEC’s “Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act.”

From the foregoing it can be determined that the S. C. ALEC state chairmen, Rep. Barfield and Sen. Alexander have been fulfilling their duties under ALEC’s bylaws requiring state chairmen to “ensure introduction of model legislation”:

Section 10.03    Duties:
“State Chairmen duties shall include recruiting new members, working to ensure introduction of model legislation, suggesting task force membership, establishing state steering committees, planning issue events, and working with the Private Enterprise State Chairman to raise and oversee expenditures of legislative scholarship funds.”

If Governor Haley has maintained her lifetime membership, perhaps she’s also been quietly fulfilling her duties as well by quickly signing every piece of ALEC model legislation that lands on her desk?  An even more important concern is how many other ALEC “Alum” now holding key offices are also actually loyal “lifetime” members?  Kasich, Walker and Brewer are all alumni.  How about Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor?  Both are known ALEC “alumni” and with the discovery of the Legacy membership program, one or both could be members while serving in the U.S. Congress.  ALEC’s refusal to release any of their membership lists, forces researchers to spend hours digging out these small bits of evidence – which ALEC will neither deny or provide a “no comment” on.

A second important holder of an ALEC Legacy membership is U.S. Representative Alan Nunnelee (R MS), a Legacy member while serving as a MS Senator (1995 – 2010).  Nunnelee won the race for the U.S. House and is now the current incumbent and up for reelection in November, 2012:
Nunnelee

Rep Nunnelle is currently the only confirmed Legacy member out of 97 ALEC alumni serving in Congress.

Known Legacy members from Indiana (four) where RTW just passed, school reform including charter schools passed in 2011, the first ALEC voter ID law was passed in 2007-2008 and in 2010 Governor Daniels signed legislation (similar to S.C.’s exempting ALEC from Indiana lobbying laws).  IN. Legacy members include:

•    Rep Dave Frizzell (R IN) became a lifetime member in 2004 (now serving as current ALEC National Chairman) – listing his member payments as operations or contributions:

Frizzell

•    Rep James R. Buck (R IN) became a lifetime ALEC member in 2007 – listing his membership payment(s) for “operations”:

Buck

•    Rep. P. Eric Turner (R IN) became a lifetime ALEC member in 2009 – listing his membership payments as “contributions”:

Turner

•    Senator Jeff Drozda (R IN) became a lifetime member with his initial payment of $2,500 to ALEC on March 20, 2006:

Drozda

•    Rep Ronald Forster (R GA) became a lifetime ALEC member in 2006:

Forster

•    Rep. Harold Brubaker (R NC) (ALEC Public Sector board member) became a lifetime member by paying the full $5,000 on May 24, 2004, listing it as an operations expense:

Brubaker

•    Rep.  Julia Howard (R NC) who paid the first $2,500 lifetime membership installment on January 20, 2010 – again listing her member payments as an Operating expense:

Howard

•    Sen. Jerome Delvin (R WA) became a lifetime member in 2008:

Delvin

•    Rep. William Howell (R VA & Speaker of the VA. House) became a lifetime member in 2005:

Howell

•    Rep John Cosgrove (R VA) became a lifetime member in 2005:

Cosgrove

•    Sen Val Stevens, (R WA) proclaims herself to be an ALEC Legacy member in her official bio:”Leadership: Legacy member and a former National Board Director of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization whose mission is to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty among America’s state legislators.”

•    Senator Bob Burns (R-AZ) is a Legacy Member and former Senate President, succeeded by Sen. Russell Pearce as President and defeated in 2011 by Rick Murphy :

Burns
In our research we discovered ALEC made changes to their IRS 990 reporting in regard to Legacy memberships.  They have been doing this since 2005, reducing the amount of accounts receivable and changing funds from legacy memberships back and forth between listing them as contributions and donations.

Below is the 2008 change taken from ALEC’s “Notes to Financial Statements”:
2006-07 Notes to financial statements
This follows earlier changes regarding memberships – specifically Legacy memberships from 2005 through 2007:
2005-06 Notes to financial statements
2008 Notes to financial statements

The foregoing may explain why legacy membership payments over the years are listed differently; as contributions, operating expenses, etc.  What impact, if any this could have in the ongoing IRS complaint for review of ALEC’s tax exempt status is unknown at this time.

In addition to the real possibility Governor Haley’s ALEC membership may be influencing her decisions in South Carolina and Rep Nunnellee’s may be influencing his decisions in Congress; another ALEC Legacy member (Jeff Drozda) has been using his loyalty to ALEC and connections to ALEC corporate members to his – and their – benefit.

After serving one full term, Drozda was reelected in 2006 then resigned midterm in 2008.  While a state Senator he was employed by United Healthcare (UH – a division of the United Health Group, a long time ALEC corporate member/sponsor).  In 2008 Drozda became UH’s Vice President of State Government Affairs and with the promotion Drozda was ordered to relocate to South Carolina.  He immediately resigned his Senate post.

In 2010-2011 Drozda registered with Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi as a lobbyist for United Healthcare.  In February 2012, Drozda was selected as CEO of the Louisiana Association of Health Plans (LAHP), the state trade association for the health benefits industry.  The selection of Drozda was made by J Pegues, CEO of Coventry Health Care of Louisiana and president of the LAHP Board of Directors.  Like UHG, Coventry is also an ALEC corporate member.

UH and LAHP are working to provide privatized Medicaid services to Louisiana and Mississippi, the latter under a program titled “MississippiCAN” and so far this program is failing miserably,while generating large profits for UH and its subsidiary, Golden Rule Insurance.

The foregoing example of coordination and loyalties exhibited by ALEC’s collective membership demonstrates how closely woven their interests and activities are and why ALEC corporations flourish.  Low income families – as in Louisiana – are usually the loser in services when these efforts of privatization are accomplished through legislation.

Subscription Membership

The remaining relatively unknown type of affiliation is termed a “Subscription” membership costing $250.00 annually.  We learned that this is offered to ALEC state lawmaker members who have been selected and appointed to head a state department or agency.

One corroborated case of ALEC offering such a membership to a recently appointed former ALEC member is that of Rep. Todd Snitchler, (R-OH).  He was appointed by Governor Kasich (an ALEC alum) to the position of Chairman of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUCO).

We have no documents showing Snitchler accepted the subscription membership offered by ALEC and or not.  However as in the case with Governor Haley and Drozda we ascertained just how loyal Snitchler remains to ALEC’s corporate members once he became the PUCO Chairman.  He favored the same ALEC member companies that contributed to his election campaignsAmerican Electric Power, Duke Energy.

In an email from ALEC’s Board liaison and Donor Relations Coordinator, Briana Mulder offered Snitchler a subscription membership:
SnitchlerMulder’s discussion about subscription memberships, provisions and benefits was provided so matter-of-factly, ALEC has obviously provided similar memberships before this offer was made.

Again, due to secrecy surrounding ALEC memberships it is difficult to ascertain which “alumni” are instead still active ALEC subscription members – serving as directors or chairmen of important state and/or federal agencies or departments –serving in some capacity.

With regard to AEP and Duke Energy we discovered in December 2011 PUCO approved a new energy security plan submitted by AEP.

Simultaneously Snitchler and the PUCO Board worked with Duke Energy on another ESPfor an auction system that would determine energy – and ultimately the cost of that energy to consumers – through 2015.  The Duke ESP was approved by the PUCO the same month as the AEP plan.

The rate increases authorized for American Electric Power under the December ESP resulted in double digit increases in energy costs to private consumers and as high as 50% to public school customers.

On February 29, 2012 Chairman Snitchler revoked the AEP energy plan by a unanimous vote of the Commission.

In November 2011, ALEC members, Sen. Kris Jordan (R OH) and Sen. Seitz (R OH) sponsoredS.B. 216 that would repeal S.B. 121 requiring electric distribution utilities and electric services companies provide 25% of their retail power supplies from advanced and renewable energy resources by 2025.  Governor Kasich proposed a legislative measure (S.B. 315) this past April that would allow cogeneration systems in the definition of “renewable energy resource” under Ohio’s renewable portfolio standard.  Critics of the proposal have warned that the inclusion of cogeneration in the RPS could harm the development of other renewable energy systems, particularly wind.

This past February, PJM filed two measures with the Federal Regulatory Commission(FERC) arising from their stakeholder process.  These are designed to reform the generation interconnection process and include public policy requirements in regional transmission planning.

In May, Chairman Snitchler was a speaker at the 2012 PJM Interconnection Member Meeting.  PJM is a regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia, serving 60 million customers.  Duke Energy and AEP are both members of PJM Interconnections and PJM is a client of Shook, Hardy and Bacon (operating ALEC’s Civil Justice Task Force through Victor Schwartz as Director and Mark Behrens as Advisor).

PJM, Duke and AEP have keen interests in reducing government regulations on energy, and object to the new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s focus on renewable energy and environment.

In Ohio, an ALEC Alum Governor, ALEC influenced General Assembly and ALEC alum Chair of PUCO coordinated legislation and policies beneficial to ALEC member companies.  Their actions cost customers of AEP and Duke Energy huge increases in energy costs, while generating higher profits to the ALEC companies.  Whether similar manipulations are ongoing in other states, enabled by hidden ALEC members placed in key positions, is unknown at this time.  But this one exposure in Ohio demonstrates exactly how ALEC members are able to impact energy pricing and regulations over an entire state – to the benefit of the corporate members of the cabal.  I’m hopeful that other researchers will take the time to delve into their state records and determine whether or not this is happening in their locales.

CONCLUSION

The foregoing interconnections are shown to demonstrate a paradigm operating within all levels of government; state, federal and international.  All funded by major U.S. and multi-national corporations, utilizing current and former lawmakers in diverse ways to implement policies that enrich and empower.  True competing small businesses, taxpayers and consumers collectively provide that enrichment and fall prey to the legislative and financial power generated through this agenda.

This insight into previously unknown activities and influence through ALEC presents a clearer picture of how democracy in America is compromised through a well planned, comprehensive and highly organized and coordinated manner.  With ALEC members in our legislatures, sitting as Governors, Congressmen and as heads of key state departments – such as education and energy – critical systems and services are completely compromised.

When corporations have lawmakers writing favorable legislation, governors signing those into law and heads of government departments and regulatory agencies all serving under the ALEC “flag”, consumers are continuously at risk of exploitation – as we’re now experiencing in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and several other states with GOP “Super majorities”.

There are certainly many more Legacy and Subscription members yet to be identified and reported.  The foregoing list combined with the actual Legacy brochure and ALEC documents, establishes for a certainty the existence of these types of memberships within ALEC.  The legislation presented, passed and signed into law by GOP Governors demonstrates clearly the power and influence wielded by ALEC members nationwide – used to advance a pro-corporate agenda.

I want to include the great work of other DK Abolish ALEC members who participated in the research used to compile this expose; MNDem999, Ron1951, Hector Solon and the cooperative efforts of the Center for Media and Democracy.  We tried to provide the tax information to a member of Common Cause in DC so it could be looked at in regard to their IRS complaint about ALEC’s tax exempt status.  Our phone call was not returned.

More Evidence Private Prisons Don’t Work

A recent report dismantles claims by private prison industry and its backers—including the extremist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—that private prisons are a better deal than publicly run facilities.

Prison Bed Profiteers: How Corporations Are Reshaping Criminal Justice in the U.S.,” from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), demonstrates that many common claims of private prison companies have been repeatedly disproven and the private model often survives off low-paid, poorly trained staff, which can lead to compromised levels of safety for staff and inmates, as well as the general public.

The report also explores the influence private prison companies exert over criminal justice policymaking and the industry’s overall lack of transparency. Two of ALEC’s major sponsors are Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut Security), the largest private prison firms in the country.

Says Chris Harney, a senior researcher at NCCD:

Since we know private prisons aren’t going away in the near future, we sought insight from experts about substantive ways to slow expansion and improve implementation, operation and oversight. A critical part of this effort is encouraging lawmakers and jurisdictions to consider other options that have been shown to be viable, particularly promoting alternatives to incarceration and, when choosing privatization, demanding stronger contracting and monitoring.

ALEC has helped lead the charge to privatize prisons by writing model legislation for its right-wing state legislature members to push in their states.

ALEC has helped lead the charge to privatize prisons by writing model legislation for its right-wing state legislature members to push in their states. Read more from this 2011 investigation by The Nation and the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

On Friday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) and the legislature’s top Republican leaders announced they reached a deal on a state budget for next year that includes transferring $50 million from funds intended to help homeowners facing foreclosure to the private prison industry. Worse, some Republican legislators want to “save money” by removing auditing and oversight from private prison contractors. 

In February, a scheme to privatize Florida’s prisons was stopped after a huge public outcry led by Florida working families, community and civil rights groups. The plan was backed by extremist Gov. Rick Scott (R), GEO and ALEC.

An InTheseTimes investigation last summer revealed that ALEC arranged secret meetings between Arizona’s state legislators and CCA to draft what became S.B. 1070, Arizona’s notorious immigration law, to keep CCA prisons flush with immigrant detainees. ALEC has proven expertly capable of devising endless ways to help private corporations benefit from the country’s massive prison population.

Also, an AFSCME report last year followed the money from the major private prison corporations to the lawmakers pushing lucrative prison privatization contracts in several states.

According to “Making a Killing: How Prison Corporations Are Profiting from Campaign Contributions and Putting Taxpayers at Risk,” each election cycle the three largest private prison companies—CCA, GEO and the Management & Training Corporation pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaigns of governors, state legislators and judges, in the hopes of advancing their political agenda—establishing more private prisons and reducing the number of public ones.

There are numerous links to various reports in this article.  To read this entire article, please click hereand be sure to open all of the links in the article.

ALECexposed at Netroots

Advocates and researchers converged this week in Rhode Island to talk about work exposing the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The group, including the Center for Media and Democracy‘s Executive Director Lisa Graves, was gathered for a panel at Netroots Nation, a conference which brings together bloggers, social justice advocates, labor and organizational leaders, grassroots organizers, and others. Each in their own way, the panelists talked about how through ALEC corporations are unduly influencing and corrupting American democracy. CMD launched ALECexposed last July after a whistleblower gave Graves “model” bills that had been voted on by ALEC corporations and legislators behind closed doors on ALEC task forces.

…Another ALEC objective discussed is the effort to privatize public pensions. ALEC’s plan for this is to transfer the management of pension funds from the public sector to for-profit Wall Street firms through 401(k) programs. The argument that this is financially beneficial to taxpayers is not true, Carey said. “ALEC preys on legislators who don’t have knowledge on the issue and ALEC spreads misleading information.”

To read all of Sara Jerving’s article at PR Watch, please click here

ALEC’s Fracking Agenda Exposed

Lisa Graves, Executive Director of The Center for Media and Democracy, sheds light on ALEC’s fracking agenda.

To watch this video, please click here