Gates Foundation

What Happens to Corporations Who “Quit” ALEC?

Thomas Jefferson on the state of America todayLast year, a number of  national progressive groups with ample funding spent a lot of time working to get corporations to change their business paradigms and cut their ties to ALEC.  A very admirable undertaking, as this was supposed to cut directly into ALEC’s operating capital while putting them (ALEC and the progressive groups) in the spotlight of at least cable news shows and internet media reporting.  A spot of MSM coverage, but just a spot.

I have asked before on these pages, and will ask again–did these corporate members of ALEC back off their financial support for a radical right wing agenda when they quit ALEC–after all, most of them claimed to know nothing about ALEC’s political work.  They were just involved for “business”.

koch-cokeCoca Cola, for example, issued a statement that “Our involvement with ALEC was focused on efforts to oppose discriminatory food and beverage taxes, not on issues that have no direct bearing on our business.”

Well, don’t believe for a second that Coca Cola participated in ALEC meetings and never heard a word about Voter ID laws or immigration laws, or women’s health laws, or any number of other radical right wing model legislation.  I can’t prove this because Coca Cola’s PR department is not taking questions on this subject and I wasn’t allowed into any of the ALEC meetings.  But none of the photos and videos we have of Coca Cola members at ALEC meetings—in social situations or in task force meetings–show them wearing blinders and ear plugs.

So what exactly did Coca Cola – and the other insurgents– do to get their “get out of jail free card” from MSNBC, big national public interest groups like Color of Change and Common Cause, and the written press?

No2

Are they making any sort of amends for the ALEC written model legislation they voted for?

Are they making any sort of restNo6itution to those directly hurt by
model legislation that ALEC passed?

 

NO-12Are they encouraging legislatures not to pass these hateful bills?

 

No9
Are they now doing anything to help black voters register to vote?    Again,No.

 
To put it succinctly, many of the corporations that are no longer bankrolling ALEC continue to engage in stealth lobbying through other Cabal members.

Stealth lobbying.  ALEC is a 501(c)3 so it is precluded from lobbying.  There have been three whistleblower complaints filed with the IRS  about ALEC, in fact, being a lobbying organization.  (VLTP has the master complaint of those filed, rather than one by any of the big national interest groups.  Let’s hear it for grass roots activism!)

And appropriately, this is all about money.  Money is at the core of what ALEC stands for.  And despite claims of success at getting corporations to quit ALEC, we can plainly see that in about half the cases money flowing into ALEC went to “another ALEC” instead.

Were goals actually achieved, or did ALEC slip past this attack?

The results are indeed mixed.  Assuming that companies actually are not making any donations to ALEC or actively involved in ALEC policy-writing, let’s take a look.  (Please click on any of the blue-colored links to find out more about these members of “The Cabal”, or “The Other ALECs” (as Truthout has dubbed them) with whom the quitting corporations are now in bed.)  Then let’s say it again, without laughing, that they did not know about ALEC’s political agenda.

List of Corporations Which Have Dumped ALEC Which Are Still Supporting the Radical Right Wing:

Corporations

1.) Coca-Cola – NGA, SGAC, SLLF

2.) Kraft – SGAC, CSG,SLLF

3.) Intuit – CSG, SLLF,NGA

4.) McDonald’s – SGAC, CSG,SLLF

5.) Mars – SGAC

6.) Reed Elsevier – SGAC

7.) American Traffic Solutions – SLLF

8.) Blue Cross, Blue Shield – CSG,NGA

9.) Procter and Gamble – SGAC, CSG, SLLF,NGA

10.) Scantron -NGA

11.) Amazon -NGA

12.) Medtronic -CSG

13.) Walmart – SGAC, CSG, SLLF, NGA

14.) Johnson & Johnson – NCSL, CSG,NGA

15.) John Deere -SGAC

16.) CVS – SGAC, SLLF,NGA

17.) Hewlett-Packard – SGAC, CSG,NGA

18.) Best Buy – SGAC, NCSL,NGA

19.) ExpressScripts -CSG

 

Non-Profits

20.) Gates Foundation – SLLF

21.) Lumina Foundation – NGA

To summarize, while ALEC may have been financially hurt by the exodus of these corporations, corporate behavioral change was most certainly not achieved as monies were simply re-directed to other influential members of the Cabal.  These corporations need to be treated accordingly for trying to pull the wool over the publics’ eye.

Please, write to these corporations and tell them that they have not fooled you by “quitting” ALEC only to stay involved with those rad-right groups which are

supporting financial de-regulation
supporting privatization of government
supporting the elimination of unions
supporting the elimination of the minimum wage
supporting climate change denial legislation
supporting Voter ID
supporting Kill at Will

These corporations have certainly NOT distanced themselves from the extremist agenda of ALEC, and in fact manipulated the progressive media into creating the echo chamber that sold this to the public.

 

The Cabal Exposed

This is a series of articles published by Truthout which reports on “The Other ALECs”.  A great deal of time and research is evident in these reports, and while some of the claims made in the articles do not match our research findings–I’m sure that these differences will be examined soon–we want you to read these articles to see how ALEC is just one member of what we have been calling The Cabal

The Other ALECs: A Look at the Lesser Known Stealth Lobbies That Write Bills for Your State
“other stealth lobbyists have penetrated bipartisan trade associations for state government officials – groups subsidized by taxpayers. In particular, corporate lobbies advance their agendas through the Council of State Governments – whose multimillion-dollar budget is mostly taxpayer funded – and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Through these innocuously named organizations, lobbyists exploit a well-tethered network of nonprofits representing state-level officials to advance the agendas of their corporate clientele.”

Part 1: Uncovering the Other ALECs
The Other Bill Mill – The Council for State Gpvernment (CSG). 
Upon being sworn into office, all state-level legislators (there are about 7,500 of them total), as well as their respective legislative staffs, automatically become CSG members. The organization’s membership also includes representatives from the executive and judicial branches of state governments.

The National Conference of State Legislatures NCSL, considered an “instrumentality of the states” by the IRS, has served a “forum for America’s Ideas since 1975.” NCSL plays host to a series of educational conferences and task force meetings, and like its cousin, CSG, it boasts a membership that includes every state-level elected official in the United States.

Though not directly responsible for any policy positions, per se, the State Legislative Leaders Foundation(SLLF) says that it is a “nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1972 for the express purpose of providing our nation’s state legislative leaders with information on critical public policy issues and aspects of leadership.”

Part 2: Exposed: The Other ALECs’ Corporate Playbook
Founded in 1988, Stateside is self-described as the “industry leader” in state and local governmental affairs counseling. The company’s home pagetempts potential clients with a program that “transcends the conventional categories” of lobbying. The page further explains: “State and local government relations – done well – protects the bottom line, promotes brand awareness, builds champions among policymakers and safeguards the ability of corporations and associations to succeed.”  A lobbying behemoth – the self-proclaimed largest firm of its kind – Stateside has enough tricks up its sleeve to tackle even the most difficult, and often delicate, lobbying cases.

The niche of stealth lobbying is so profitable that in addition to Stateside, other firms also participate. One is MultiState Associates. This firm, founded four years before Stateside in 1984, employs the same overall strategy of using the Groups to promote corporate agendas.  MultiState offers a flexible, “full range” program to respond to the changing needs of corporate clients.

Sometimes even the best stealth lobbyists need a little help from like-minded friends.  For this, they turn to lobbyist trade associations like the State Government Affairs Council (SGAC). SGAC is a private organization, fully funded by contributions from the private sector. Over 182 multinational corporations and/or their affiliated trade associations paid for a SGAC membership in 2012.

What we at VLTP call ALEC DNA, is replicated by “The Playbook”, the M.O. for these “Other ALECs”.

Step One: Fund Groups
Step Two: Representation on Group Boards, Task Forces
Step Three
Set a pro-business Education Agenda
Step Four
: Schmooze
Step Five: Model Legislation
Step Six: Model Bills Distributed Nationwide

Part 3: How Big Business Has Triumphed in State Legislatures on Civil Liberties, Higher Education and Energy

Many people concerned about these policies, though, may not realize that the assault on the civil liberties of dissenters in the United States in some instances pre-dated the post-9/11 era. Many also do not realize that a number of recent policies that undermine civil liberties have been advanced through state governments and not just federal agencies.  Left off the table, probably accidentally: who defines “terrorism” and what his/her/the organization’s agenda is, the motives behind labeling a group or person a terrorist (and leaving other people or groups off the list), and how malleable the term has been, as Greenwald pointed out, since its popularization in the United States in the 1980s under then-President Ronald Reagan.

The Other ALECs’ higher education agenda goes well beyond performance standards and delves into the sphere of student loan debt and the privatization of public universities.

Last December, ALEC adopted model legislation, based on a Texas law, addressing the public disclosure of chemicals in drilling fluids used to extract natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The ALEC legislation, which has since provided the basis for similar bills submitted in five states, has been promoted as a victory for consumers’ right to know about potential drinking water contaminants. This bill was a CSG model months before it became an ALEC model.

The CSG agenda goes above and beyond the actual promotion of the production of dirty energy resources like fracking and ethanol and into the promotion of the burial of carbon into the ground in a process known as carbon sequestration, sometimes also referred to by propagandists as “clean coal.” Put more bluntly: this model bill was written by the oil and gas industry, for the oil and gas industry.

Part 4: The Other ALECs’ K-12 Education Agenda Exposed  The economic crisis has created a rationale for ALEC and other stealth lobbyists to push privatization campaigns while claiming that they are necessary “reforms” for improving our failing education system, according to Brian Jones, a teacher and New York-based activist featured in the education documentary “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman.”  “For the charter operators, ‘reform’ means more money, bigger salaries, etc. For the politicians, it means they get to shout to working and poor people about how they’re reforming education, while doing a huge favor to wealthy, powerful interests,” Jones told Truthout.

The Gates Foundation alone gave $400,000 to a CSG program dedicated to “reforming” public education and pushing charter schools. Gates also financially supports a CSG initiative to collaborate with Boeing to create “fair and reliable measures of teacher effectiveness that are tied to gains in student achievement.” None of these contributions even account for Microsoft’s sizable donations to CSG.

 

CSG’s “Model” for Public Education
Charter Schools;
Teacher Tenure/Education Identifier Initiatives;
Innovation Zones

Copyright, Truthout. Reprinted with permission.  To read the entire Truthout series on The Other ALECs, they may be found at the following links:

http://truth-out.org/news/item/10506-the-other-alecs-a-look-at-the-lesser-known-stealth-lobbies-that-write-bills-for-your-state%20%E2%80%A6

http://truth-out.org/news/item/9033-subverting-the-statehouse-uncovering-the-other-alecs

http://truth-out.org/news/item/9889-exposed-the-other-alecs-corporate-playbook

http://truth-out.org/news/item/10316-how-big-business-has-trumped-the-peoples-will-in-state-legislatures-on-civil-liberties-higher-education-and-energy-policy

http://truth-out.org/news/item/10435-the-other-alecs-k-12-education-agenda-exposed



The Gates Foundation’s Leveraged Philanthropy

Corporate Profit Versus Humanity on Three Fronts – The Effect of ALEC Members/Policies on the World

The Gates Foundation, and Gates personally, also own stock and reap profits from many of these same partner corporations. In addition, the Foundation owns a profit-generating portfolio of stocks which would seem to work against the Foundation’s declared missions…

Gates’ leveraged philanthropy model is a public-private partnership
to improve the world, partly through targeted research support but principally through public advocacy and tax-free lobbying to influence government policy. The goal of these policies is often to explicitly support profitability for corporate investors, whose enterprises are seen by the Gates Foundation as advancing human good. However, maximum corporate profit and public good often clash when its projects are implemented.

For example, chemical giant Monsanto has partnered with the Gates Foundation, which reportedly works to suppress local seed exchanges and environmentally sustainable agricultural practices through its global agricultural charity work. Fraud-prone drug giant GlaxoSmithKline  is a partner in the Foundation’s work to leverage its own relatively fractional contribution to vaccination efforts, so that it centrally controls enormous world funds for purchase, pricing, and delivery of vaccines for world public health. And in its U.S. education reform charity work, the Gates Foundation has increasingly shifted its funding to promote market domination by its British corporate education services partner, Pearson Education.

To read all about the ramifications of the various Gates Foundations intentions, please click here