Heartland

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

ALEC’s Koch Funded Cabal “Educating” our state and Federal Judges

ALEC’s Koch Funded Cabal “Educating” our state and Federal Judges

A VLTP Special Report – ALEC’s Federal Interference, Part II

August 20, 2012 | by Bob Sloan

Last month I began a two part series that began with “ALEC, the Koch Led CABAL & “The Amicus Project” – Fed Court Interference.” The first segment dealt with identifying and exposing ALEC’s Koch-funded cabal interfering with our judicial processes by filing hundreds of “Amicus Briefs” to state and federal courts in pending cases.  These were cases involving issues under the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments and other rights – and submitted by numerous cabal members, such as ALEC, Heritage, Heartland, Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses, CATO, Mackinac, etc.

When they file these briefs it is not sufficient to simply join together and file one comprehensive “brief” or argument in support of whatever position the cabal’s side is advocating for.  No, they file separate briefs making it appear that there is a groundswell of support on the cabal’s side of an issue.  I described this as the “front door” access the cabal uses in their attempts to influence outcomes in judicial cases involving legislative and related pursuits of the cabal.

This diary will introduce everyone to the cabal’s “back door” access to and influence upon state and federal judges through seminars and conferences provided by the cabal members...to in effect “program” judges to rule favorably in key cases.  These seminars are used to “educate” our judiciary as to the positions held by corporations and other matters important to businesses and their wealthy owners.  These seminars are provided to judges prior to important case reviews…the amicus briefs are “reminders” to the judges of what they “learned”through these seminars that were provided along with luxury vacations paid for by many corporations that may eventually wind up as a party before one or more of these judges.

The seminars take place at truly plush resorts (many of them the same used by ALEC for their annual meetings involving legislators) during all expense trips provided to the judges by a number of Conservative funded organizations (click the blue links for more information about these groups); the Foundation for Research on Economics and Environment (FREE Foundation), George Mason University’s Law and Economics Center, Northwestern University’s Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program, James Madison University’s Center for the Constitution at Montpelier and several other, smaller organizations.

These seminars are a way for ALEC’s corporate members and contributors to assist the cabal’s pursuit of influencing judges to render pro-corporate decisions on important issues and cases.  Below the fold I’ll provide some of the information, a video from ABC’s 20/20 and other documents identifying how this entire “system” has been set up, the funders and backers and the impact these maneuvers have had upon our judicial system.

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Since the founding of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 1973, conservative Republicans have pursued one overall objective – to control all three branches of the federal government.  The reason for seeking to gain total control is obvious.

In this pursuit they began by striving to grab control of state government’s three branches: legislative, judicial and gubernatorial.  In this latter effort, they have been relatively successful in that today they have twenty-one fully controlled state governments.  Many of these states became “Red” after the 2010 election that brought wins to the Tea Party and control to the GOP in more states than ever before.

It isn’t sufficient for anyone seeking control of our government to merely hold a majority in any of the three branches of government – they also need those in the controlling majorities to think like they do, owe their careers to those who worked to put them in office or exhibit a genuine allegiance to an overall agenda.

In 2001 ABC’s 20/20 presented an expose titled “Junkets for Judges” which can be found on YouTube in a two part presentation.  Here is a link to part two.

An important part of the foregoing investigative report is the fact that they claim as of 2001 they had identified more than 500 US judges who had attended these seminars.  Many that attended were at the time sitting in review of cases involving issues that were discussed at the seminars – and some returned to their courtrooms, and ruled favorably on behalf of corporate rights over governmental rights.  This 20/20 report only reports on the GMU seminars.  They don’t address the ones provided by FREE, Northwestern University, Liberty Fund or others.  At that time FREE had not opened their doors to state appellate and Supreme Court Justices and judges, providing the same pro-corporate seminars to them.

These junkets are designed to provide attending judges with an ultra-conservative, pro-corporate outlook on key issues.  During these free trips judges attend daily seminars provided by purported scientists, corporate executives and others advancing a one-sided, pro-corporate, free-market conservative ideology.  The seminars are designed to impart to the attending judiciary, corporate or business points of view on critical issues involving environment, economics, tort reform, EPA and takings law (eminent domain).

The cabal uses these free vacations in the same manner as the travel companies and time share companies do…everyone of us has been subjected to offers of “free vacations” for simply attending a time share presentation.  None of us plan on buying a time share, or joining a “discount” club – but face it, many do and for that reason the techniques are successful and continue to be used year after year.  These judicial education trips are no different.  Judges get an all expense paid trip, thinking they will have fun and can ignore the  propaganda presented in the seminars…but in the end, if they want to be able to take more of these trips, at some point they have to rule as if they’ve “learned” something at the previous ones, and thus be allowed subsequent trips.

I’m sure that those behind this activity involving the programming of judges, will no doubt claim that everyone has the right to advance their own arguments on important legal cases…that there are numerous other organizations providing seminars, conferences and work shops for judges.  Just as they’ve done in defense of ALEC’s operations and pursuits of proposing and passing state laws favorable to their conservative political agenda.

There are important differences between the cabal’s efforts of influencing the judiciary – and legislation – and the efforts put forth by others; the partisanship of their efforts.  All of their activities are designed to advance a pro-corporate, conservatively political position.  The claim of bi-partisanship or non-partisan makeup of the cabal’s members is delusional.  ALEC for instance has conservative leaning Democratic members, but they hold no positions of authority within the ALEC hierarchy; no chairmanship of ALEC’s task forces, on their Public sector board, etc.

Though the 20/20 expose concentrated upon George Mason University’s involvement in providing these trips for our judges,we found several additional universities and private, non-profit organizations participating in these efforts at both the state and federal level.  All but one are provided by conservative organizations, foundations or schools:

•    George Mason University(Law and Economics Center – LEC)   (Recipient of Koch funding totaling $20,297,143 from 1986-2006 ), Earhart Foundation, JM Olin Foundation.
•    Foundation for Research on Economics and Environment (FREE).  Funded by ExxonMobil, GE Foundation, Koch Family Foundation  ($1,305,500 through 2006), JM Olin Foundation, Earhart Foundation and Castle Rock Foundation (Coors). ($65,000 in 2009) and the Claude Lambe Foundation ($1,540,000).
•    Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program (funded by many key ALEC members, including Koch) .
•    Liberty Fund providing judicial conferences and seminars to/for Judges.
•    Federalist Society  (Koch funded   $1,437,200 through 2006)
•    Aspen Institute (Koch funded  $1,115,000 through 2006 with David Koch on the BOD).
•    University of Kansas, Law and Organizational Economics Center (LOEC) begun in 1995 by Henry Butler  with a $1,000,000 grant from the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation (see section on Henry Butler below).
•    International Judicial Academy which provides seminars for judges on the International level.

Supporters of the IJA have included; JEHT Foundation and Foundation to Promote Open Society.  JEHT Foundation ceased to operate in 2009 due to the Madoff ponzi scheme where their money was invested.  Foundation to Promote Open Society gets some of their principal funding from George Soros. Much of their contributions and donations received – along with their expenditures – are to/from other countries and include non-Soros’ funding.If you would like to know if a specific federal judge has attended one or more of these seminars, please visit http://tripsforjudges.org/ where you can input a judge’s name and search by organization, foundation, etc.  This link is somewhat outdated and does not have current information for 2012, but much of the information is in there and worth a look.

Other organizations provide judicial “training” to state and federal judges, but the foregoing seven are those with ongoing regularly scheduled seminars and trips.  Some completely reimburse judges for travel, housing and food while others reimburse to a set amount (such as U of K’s LOEC that reimbursed state judges up to $500.00 cap for travel).

The funding for six of the seven providing such judicial trips are funded with money from one or more of the Koch controlled family foundations.  In addition many known conservative foundations also fund these trips and seminars for judges, including; John M. Olin Foundation, Inc., M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Castle Rock Foundation, Claude Lambe Foundation (Koch controlled) and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

A sampling of topics presented in the seminars to these judges – state and federal – include; environment, takings laws (imminent domain), economics, tort reform, juror selection and jury decision making, The presentations are made by speakers from various colleges, universities and of greater importance from corporate CEO’s and executives representing Shell Oil and other major ALEC member corporations.  In addition many of the presentations are made by those representing; Heritage Foundation,  American Enterprise Institute, National Center for Policy Analysis, George Mason University, Brookings Institute and several other mostly conservative entities.

Trip/seminar funding listed by George Mason University include most of ALEC’s for profit corporate members, and the non-profits that fund ALEC – and most have ties to the Koch and related foundations previously mentioned.  (Those in bold are known ALEC/Koch benefactors, affiliates or corporate members). These funders are:

3M (former ALEC member)
Abbott Laboratories  (ALEC member)
Aequus Institute
Armstrong Foundation  (ALEC funding source)
AT&T (ALEC Member)
Atlas Economic Research Foundation
Batchelder III, Hon. William G. (current Speaker of the Ohio House)
Batchelder, Hon. Alice M. (Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit)
BP America, Inc. (ALEC member)
Brunswick Corporation
Castle Rock Foundation (Coors, ALEC funder)
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation (ALEC Funding)
CIGNA Corporation (ALEC affiliated through Nickles Lobby firm)
Coca-Cola Company (former ALEC member)
Commonwealth of VA Tax Donations
Cortopassi Institute
Dow Chemical Company  (ALEC member)
Earhart Foundation
Exxon Mobil Corporation (ALEC member)
FedEx Corporation (ALEC member)
General Motors Corporation (ALEC member)
Gillette Company
Goodrich Foundation
John M. Olin Foundation
John William Pope Foundation
Johnson & Johnson (ALEC member)
Lilly Endowment, Inc. (ALEC member [Eli Lilly parent])
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt (Koch Ind. Patent Atty)
Pepsico Inc. (former ALEC member)
Pfizer, Inc. (ALEC member)
Property and Casualty Ins. Ass.
Randolph Foundation
Roe Foundation
Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc.
Sarah Jane Humphreys Foundation, Inc.
Sarah Scaife Foundation, Inc.
Searle Freedom Trust
Sharp Foundation
Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation
Shell Oil Company (ALEC member)
State Farm Insurance Companies (ALEC member)
Sunmark Foundation
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (ALEC member and joint amicus brief filings)
Unilever United States, Inc. (former ALEC member)
Verizon Communications (ALEC member)
William E. Simon Foundation
J.P. Humphreys Foundation

And when we researched Northwestern Law’s Judicial Education Seminars we found many of the same funding sources:

American Petroleum Institute (ALEC affiliate)
AT&T Inc. (ALEC member_
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
 (ALEC benefactor/member)
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Exxon Mobil Corporation (ALEC member)
LyondellBasell Industries (ALEC member)
McDonald’s Corporation (former ALEC member)
Microsoft Corporation (ALEC member)
Pfizer Inc. (ALEC member)
Searle Freedom Trust (ALEC affiliate – Heritage Foundation funder)
Shell Oil Company (ALEC member)
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (ALEC member)
The Dow Chemical Company (ALEC member)
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (ALEC/Koch affiliate & funding)
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (ALEC affiliate and joint amicus brief filings)

Here is a picture from FREE’s 2007 website that listed their funding sources for the judicial education program:free 2007 funding

Again, we see many of the same sources that are funding GMU and Northwestern University’s programs.  Note the corporate donors are all ALEC members – or were in 2007 – and the $100,000 annual contribution from the Koch’s Claude Lambe Foundation.

In 2006 federal courts began requiring that all “seminars” provided to judges had to be reported.  The reports required submission of the organization providing the seminars, topics presented and the name and organization presenting, where the funding came from for each.  A current listing of seminars held and reported to the US court since 2009 is found here.  As you’ll find if you visit, there are page after page of such seminars directed at “educating” our judges – state and federal.  Each one has basically the same funders, presenters, and you’ll also see that in many cases funding is provided by federal judges and their wives for these events.

The FREE foundation was uncomfortable filing such reports with the court system, so after we exposed them in 2010-2011, FREE decided to stop dedicating their seminars to judges.  Now they provide the same seminars, with the same topics and presenters but provide that these are for “Religious Leaders”.  Judges are still free to attend these FREE seminars – but since FREE lists them as for Religious Leaders, there is no requirement to submit reports to the US court system about them…no list of benefactors, topics, presenters, attendees, etc.

George Mason, Northwestern, Liberty Fund all continue to report their judicial seminars to the federal court as required.  FREE is the only one to cease their reporting by now claiming that their seminars are no longer dedicated to judicial education – but the seminars are “still open to judges” that wish to attend.

As with the ALEC model legislation, many of the titles provided for the topics covered in these judicial seminars are worded innocuously so they sound non-partisan and beneficial to the public as a whole.  We learned with ALEC to be suspicious of the wording of their proposed legislation and look instead to the content.  One has to do the same with the titles of the seminars and subjects listed for educating judges.  Below are just a few.  Those in bold are known ALEC/Koch affiliates:

Center for the Constitution at Montpelier June and December 2010 (Funder: Robert H. Smith)The Future of Executive Authority
Historical Context of the Constitution Related to Modern Technology
Future of the Fourth Amendment
Bioengineering and the Future of 14th Amendment Personhood

Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment August 2011 (funded by MJ Murdock Charitable Trust)
Taking the Long View of Progress

Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment July 2010 (funded byMJ Murdock Charitable Trust)

George Sack (John Hopkins University)
Addiction: A Disease of the Brain or a Disorder of Choice?

Sally Satel (American Enterprise Institute)
Delusions and Dreams vs. Consumer Driven Health Care

Regina Herzlinger (Harvard Business School)
Foundations for Understanding Health Care Policy

Regina Herzlinger (Harvard Business School)
Genetics and the Future of Medicine

Raymond Gesteland (University of Utah)
Genetics and the Future of Medicine

George Sack (John Hopkins University)
Information, Incentives & Health Care Decision Making

John Goodman (National Center for Policy Analysis)
Perspecives from a Medical Entrepreneur

George Herzlinger (Belmont Instrument Corporation)
Potentials for Policy Reform

John Goodman (National Center for Policy Analysis)
Potentials for Policy Reform

Regina Herzlinger (Harvard Business School)
Practical Problems with Organ Donation

Sally Satel (American Enterprise Institute)
Reflection on Science and Policy

Raymond Gesteland (University of Utah)
Reflection on Science and Policy

Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment August 2010 (funded by MJ Murdock Charitable Trust – Seminar title: Terrorism, Civil Liberty and National Security [08/08/2010 – 08/12/2010] (continued))

James Carafano (The Heritage Foundation)
Cyber-Screwed- Why We Can’t Fight Cyber-terrorism

James Carafano (The Heritage Foundation)
The Unhappy Marriage: Civil-Military Discord in Fighting Terrorism

Charles Fried (Harvard Law School)
Sunni and Shi’a: There Are Differences and Why They Matter

Richard Stearns (United States District Court)
Terrorism and the Allocation of Public Resources

Richard Stearns (United States District Court)
The Limits of Law- The Necessity of Executive Disobedience

Charles Fried (Harvard Law School)
The Limits of Law- The Necessity of Executive Disobedience

George Mason University Law & Economics Center
Seminar title: Economics Institute for Judges, Week 2 [03/10/2012 – 03/16/2012] Funded by xyz corp.

Todd Zywicki (George Mason University School of Law)
Mortgage Markets

Todd Zywicki (George Mason University School of Law)
On the Efficiency of the Common Law

Todd Zywicki (George Mason University School of Law)
The Not-So-Good Old Days of Consumer Credit

Henry N. Butler (George Mason University School of Law)
Economic Thinking

Henry N. Butler (George Mason University School of Law)
Economics of Insurance

Henry N. Butler (George Mason University School of Law)
Law & Economics in the Courts

Henry N. Butler (George Mason University School of Law)
Supply, Demand & Mutually Beneficial Exchange

Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program Seminar title: Advanced Law and Economics Institute: Environmental Economics [09/21/2009 – 09/23/2009]

Funders
American Petroleum Institute
AT&T Inc.
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Exxon Mobil Corporation
LyondellBasell Industries
McDonald’s Corporation
Microsoft Corporation
Pfizer Inc.
Searle Freedom Trust
Shell Oil Company
State Farm Mutual Automobil Insurance Company
The Dow Chemical Company
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Speakers/Topics

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Environmental Federalism

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Externalitites

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Markets in Action

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Review of Economic Concepts: Incentives Matter

Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program
Seminar title: Economics Institute for Judges [10/11/2009 – 10/16/2009]

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Corporate Governance

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Economic Evidence

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Forensic Economics

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Information and Prices, Allocative Efficiency, Equilibrium

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Principal-Agent Problems and Contracting

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Risk, Injury, and Liability

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Scarcity, Mutually Beneficial Exchange, Comparative Advantage

George Mason University Law & Economics Center
Seminar title: The Strategic Constitution [10/21/2009 – 10/24/2009]

Robert Cooter (Boalt Hall School of Law, Univ of CA, Berkeley)
The Strategic Constitution

George Mason University Law & Economics Center
Seminar title: Economic Analysis of Law [11/06/2009 – 11/12/2009

Charles Goetz (University of Virginia School of Law)(Member American Family Business Foundation)
Analyzing Human Choice

Henry Manne (George Mason University School of Law (Emeritus)
Corporate Law

William Landes (University of Chicago Law School)
Economic Structure of Tort Law

Charles Goetz (University of Virginia School of Law)
Fairness vs Efficiency

William Landes (University of Chicago Law School)
Intellectual Property

William Landes (University of Chicago Law School)
Negligence, Strict Liability and Causation

Charles Goetz (University of Virginia School of Law)
Rivalrous and Risky Decisions

Charles Goetz was a signatory to Milton Friedman’s letter: “Top Economists Agree: It’s Time to Repeal the Death Tax!” letter sent under the letterhead of the American Family Business Foundation in 2001.  Other signatories included ALEC, Jonathan Williams (ALEC), Art Laffer (ALEC Scholar), Henry N. Butler (review of the US Court’s Seminar reports linked to above, reveals that Butler is a frequent speaker at most of the seminars given to judges).  His credentials vary, sometimes listing him as GMU School of Law, Northwestern U’s School of Law, etc.It is important to know who these people are who are lecturing our judiciary.  Let’s look closer at Henry N. Butler.  As noted above, Butler founded the University of Kansas’ Law and Organizational Economics Center (LOEC) in 1995 with a $1,000,000 grant from the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation.  Here is more on Butler from Wiki:

Henry N. Butler (born c. 1955) is an American professor of law, economics, and public policy. He currently serves as the executive director of the Searle Center at the George Mason University’s School of Law. He formerly served as the Director of the Judicial Education Program at the American Enterprise Institute-Brookings Institution Joint Center for Regulatory Studies. Butler is a conservative and a supporter of free markets with little regulation; he has acted as an expert witness in a legal cases involving antitrust, restrictive covenants, damages, joint ventures, and other issues.Butler ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia’s 11th congressional district in the 1992 elections; he lost the general election to Democrat Leslie L. Byrne.

Butler received his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Richmond in 1977. He then attended Virginia Tech, where he earned a Master of Arts in 1979 and a Ph.D. in 1982. There he studied under Nobel Economics Laureate James M. Buchanan. Butler received his Juris Doctor law degree from the University of Miami School of Law in 1982, where he was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics.

Butler spent three years at Texas A&M as an assistant professor of management before becoming a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics at the University of Chicago Law School during the 1985-86 academic year. From 1986 to 1993, Butler was a professor at George Mason University School of Law. After 1992 Butler was a Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Distinguished Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Kansas School of Law and School of Business, and for a short time served as dean of the Chapman University, Argyros School of Business and Economics and Chairman of the Chapman University Law and Organizational Economics Center before moving to Chapman in 2001.

Butler has been involved in the political and legal spheres. While at George Mason University, he served as director of the Law and Economics Center at the George Mason University School of Law, which operates the Economics Institutes program for federal judges, which is controversial. In December 1995, Butler introduced the Economics Institute for State Judges at the University of Kansas’ Law and Organizational Economics Center.

Butler has written extensively on law and economics. He has written a casebook, Economic Analysis for Lawyers (with Christopher Drahozal, Carolina Academic Press), used at the Economics Institute for State Judges. Other books by Butler include Unhealthy Alliances: Bureaucrats, Interest Groups, and Politicians in Health (1994,American Entreprise Institute) The Corporation and the Constitution (with Larry E. Ribstein; 1995, American Entreprise Institute); and Using Federalism to Improve Environmental Policy (with Jonathan R. Macey; 1996, American Entreprise Institute).

Butler serves on the Legal Advisory Council of the AEI Legal Center for the Public Interest and the Advisory Board of the Atlantic Legal Foundation.

Butler has been cited (report to the Kansas Insurance Commission) in key reports involving insurance and spoken to the Federal Trade Commission on economic issues.University of Kansas, School of Law…”a Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Distinguished Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Kansas School of Law.  Know who else is now advocating “Excellence in Advocacy” at U of K’s School of Law?  Shook, Hardy and Bacon – the law firm that advances ALEC’s “Tort Reform” model legislation through the Civil Justice Task Force.  The CJTF is directed by Victor Schwartz of SHB, and another SHB attorney sits as the CJTF “Advisor” – Mark Behrens.

Here’s a picture of Victor Schwartz of SHB giving a presentation on Tort Reform to ALEC’s Civil Justice Task Force working group in 2010 in San Diego:

Schwartz at ALEC TF Meeting in SD

Today as yesterday, pictures say a lot…here are three pictures of Henry Butler.  In the first, he’s speaking at ALEC’s 2010 Meeting in San Diego, CA.  In the second he is speaking at a Searle Center judicial seminar in 2010 and in the third are judges sitting in attendance at that seminar…

Henry Butler speaks at ALEC

Henry Butler speaks at Searle Economics Institute seminar

Judges at Searle 2010 Butler Seminar

Another frequently used speaker at these judicial education seminars is Todd Zywiki, professor at GMU.  Here is Zywiki’s bio provided by the FREE Foundation where Zywiki sits upon their Board of Directors:

Todd J. Zywicki is Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law ands Co-Editor of the Supreme Court Economic Review.  From 2003-2004, Professor Zywickiserved as the Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission. He has also taught at Vanderbilt University Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, Boston College Law School, and Mississippi College School of Law.Professor Zywicki clerked for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and worked as an associate at Alston & Bird in Atlanta, Georgia, where he practiced bankruptcy and commercial law. He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia, where he was executive editor of the Virginia Tax Review and John M. Olin Scholar in Law and Economics. Professor Zywicki also received an M.A. in Economics from Clemson University and an A.B. cum Laude with high honors in his major from Dartmouth College.

Professor Zywicki is a Senior Scholar of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Senior Fellow of the James Buchanan Center, Program on Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, at George Mason University, a Senior Fellow of the Goldwater Institute, and a Fellow of the International Centre for Economic Research in Turin, Italy.  During the Fall 2008 Semester Professor Zywicki was the Searle Fellow of the George Mason University School of Law and was a 2008-09 W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow and the Arch W. Shaw NationalFellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.

Professor Zywicki is the author of more than 60 articles in leading law reviews and peer-reviewed economics journals.  He is one of the Top 50 Most Downloaded Law Authors at the Social Science Research Network, both All Time and during the Past 12 Months.  Heserved as the Editor of the Supreme Court Economic Review from 2001-02.  Hehas testified several times before Congress on issues of consumer bankruptcy law and consumer credit and is a frequent commentator on legal issues in the print and broadcast media, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, andThe Laura Ingraham Show.  He is a contributor to the popular legal weblog The Volokh Conspiracy and The Atlantic Business Channel of The Atlanticmagazine.

Professor Zywicki is a member of the Governing Board and the Advisory Council for the Financial Services Research Program at George Washington University School of Business, the Executive Committee for the Federalist Society’s Financial Institutions and E-Commerce Practice Group, the Advisory Council of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Program Advisory Board of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment.  He is currently the Chair of the Academic Advisory Council for the following organizations: The Bill of Rights Institute, the film “We the People in IMAX,” and the McCormick-Tribune Foundation “Freedom Museum” in Chicago, Illinois.  He serves on the Board of Directors of the Bill of Rights Institute and in 2005 he was elected an Alumni Trustee of the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees.

Federal Judge Jerry E. Smith that Zywiki clerked for, attended many of the GMU and FREE trips and seminars: http://tripsforjudges.org/….  Click on judges, select Jerry E. Smith and look for yourself: trips and seminars from FREE, Liberty Fund, Federalist Society, etc.  Here’s a partial screen shot of some of his attendance:Judge Jerry Smith trips for judges screen shot

The Chairman of FREE is John Baden.  Baden and FREE are not only important as a part of programming our judges, he has shown he has great influence at the SCOTUS level as well (remember I began this with a segment on the use of Amicus briefs used at the federal and SCOTUS levels of our judiciary).  Here is Baden, his wife and FREE’s Associate Director Pete Geddes with Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas at a Heritage Foundation President’s dinner:

SCOTUS Thomas at Heritage Presidential Dinner

Here is a muckety chart showing the connections between Justice Thomas and the Koch cabal…

Harlan R. Crow affiliations

Notice that near the center of this graph, you find beside Thomas: Charles G. Koch foundation, Searle Freedom Trust, American Enterprise Institute, Coors and Castlerock Foundation, Scaife Foundation, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and from there it widens out to include most of the cabal organizations, foundations and individuals involved.

In this graph, you’ll find the connections between Justice Thomas’ law clerk, Naomi Rao and other organizations. (RAO was a witness against the confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor – and links to the Bush administration:

Neomi Rao

Much of the policy, legislation and resolutions the seminars provide to judges are based upon pro-corporate pursuit and are/were financially beneficial to not only the Koch brothers (personally), but to ALEC’s corporate membership; ExxonMobil, AT&T, Koch Industries, PhRMA, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, their Insurance company members, etc.  Not only is Koch’s interests and that of the corporate members assisted through this form of judicial influence, but also other Conservative “foundations” which help fund the cabal’s overall “free market” pursuits.

Arguments that “we’re only doing what other bi-partisan organizations are doing” is bullshit.  As the above demonstrates, all of this is being done to advance an agenda that is totally partisan and dedicated to the views and positions held by one political group – a minority view.  This is how the conservative faction has become able to successfully pursue their vision of democracy and America over the objections raised by the majority.  We now can clearly see all their activities; the model legislation, resolutions, judicial and legislative influences and the corruption bought through campaign contributions.  It all has a purpose, design and end goal…none of which any of us as true Americans will accept or condone.  One glaring example of their pursuits and influence is demonstrated by looking at the Citizen’s United SCOTUS decision and how that has benefited the GOP party – and in particular the conservative faction of that party owned, operated and controlled by the likes of Grover Norquist and Karl Rove.  Look what has happened in America since that single SCOTUS decision brought to us in part through the cooperation of Thomas, Scalia and Alito – all with ties to the Federalist Society and Koch money.

Between ALEC’s Federal Forum Task Force, their Amicus Project and these seminars, our federal judiciary is continuously “educated” in the ways of the cabal and the pro-corporate positions advanced.  At the core of these efforts are several key players; the Koch brothers (obviously), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, George Mason University, Heritage Foundation and Mackinac Center, etc.  The tools used include not just pro-corporate seminars and filing briefs to the same judges – it also includes placement of key “clerks” and “interns” close to these judges and SCOTUS.  With the constant pressure, influence and being in close proximity to individuals representing the cabal, the trend of our courts to lean to the right in many of their decisions and opinions is not surprising.  What is surprising is the fact that all of this has been ongoing for decades and operating quietly under the radar of us all.  They have been so successful that by 2012 this has become the “norm” for political and judicial reporting.  Too many of our large media outlets are now compromised and for those of us operating in “alternative” media outlets, our audiences simply are not large enough to have a substantial impact.  This all works to the benefit of the cabal – who collectively now own or control more than 85% of the US news outlets.

We can ill afford to allow this status quo to continue.  VLTP and our Abolish ALEC group on DK have worked for months on end to research, compile and prepare these investigative reports for Daily Kos readers and Progressive voters.  It is important to make this material available to all – yes, even Republicans who are blissfully unaware of the corrupt influences such as those described above, being wielded under the GOP banner, should be made aware and forced to make a choice as our country moves forward.

In upcoming segments we’ll introduce many to the cabal’s involvement with foreign government representatives (without the knowledge of those nations) to develop U.S. policies and laws…and we’ll provide a true and accurate comparison between the NCSL and ALEC.

Be sure and visit our website at www.vltp.net for the latest news, articles and opinions on ALEC and the cabal.  If interested in research interning, send us an email through the website.  If you have information, ideas or documents, contact us through the website and let’s all work together to disinfect ALEC and the cabal and remove them from our democracy altogether.

What the Defections from ALEC Really Mean

You should all be aware of the group Color of Change, mentioned in conjunction with the ALEC corporate defectors along with Common Cause and other large national public interest groups sharing in the limelight.

What Color of Change did was to go to Coca Cola, for example, and say “we can’t have you selling your products in our black neighborhoods if you are going to be involved in legislation like Voter ID laws which prevent a lot of black people from voting”.  So Coke, not wanting to be shut out of black markets everywhere, says “oh my.  We didn’t know ALEC was writing legislation like that.  We quit them.”

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 do to get their “get out of jail free card” from Color of Change, MSNBC and Current TV commentators, big national public interest groups like Common Cause, and the written press?

Are they making any sort of amends for the ALEC written model legislation they voted for?  No. 

Are they making any sort of restitution to those directly hurt by model legislation that ALEC passed? No.

Did they make any apologies for what they did? No. 

Are they encouraging legislatures not to pass these hateful bills?  No. 

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

Coca Cola 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.”

So apparently Coke’s involvement in pay-to-play influence peddling is okay.  What do you say about that Jack Abramoff?

Granted, this is the first crack in the wall of silence that has enveloped ALEC for more than 35 years, and that is very significant in and of itself.  We all sincerely hope that it leads to more.  But I’m not quite sure why many are touting these corporate defections as victories—especially because, and you’re not going to like this, because these corporations that are no longer bankrolling ALEC continue to engage in stealth lobbying through other Cabal members.   CSG, The Council of State Governments is such an organization.  This group, like ALEC, is a bill mill, in many cases writing very similar model legislation to that which ALEC writes.   Truthout has done some excellent reporting on CSG and how they are picking up the baton on ALEC legislation.

Coca Cola, which is being used as an example here but which is not alone among the defectors, belongs to CSG, as Truthout has reported

Then, there is the National Center for Public Policy Research, as recently identified by Rachel Maddow.  You have read here and elsewhere–like PR Watch–that because of the public outcry over the Stand Your Ground legislation and the murder of Trayvon Martin, ALEC has shut down the Task Force that wrote that legislation—their Public Safety and Elections task force.  Well, don’t get suckered in by the incredible PR of the Cabal.  Here is the lead on a press release by NCCPR:

New Voter Identification Task Force Announced

Voter ID Project Created in Response to Leftists’ Claim that Ten Corporations Joined Them in Successful Effort to Pressure ALEC to Stop Supporting Voter Integrity

Washington, D.C. The National Center for Public Policy Research today announced the formation of a “Voter Identification Task Force,” intended to continue the excellent work of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in promoting measures to enhance integrity in voting.

The Cabal is extremely well funded and prepared, so as ALEC steps away from a key radical right wing political issue, up pop its replacements, organizations which Sourcewatch  has identified and which we at VLTP continue to research.  The National Center for Public Policy Research.  Or the Council for State Governments.  Or the Heartland Institute.  Or The Heritage Foundation.  Or the Mont Pelerin Society—trust me, you don’t want to know about the philosophy and the international reach of this uber conservative group.  Or the State Policy Network.  Or the Center for Civic Innovation.  Or the Cato Foundation.  And there are many more.  The cabal is financially and organizationally prepared to play whack-a-mole all day long with those of us who are trying to uncover it.  And you’ve got to give them a lot of credit for the way they frame everything they do, just listen to how noble these group names sound—why don’t Democrats learn from this? 

So, to come full circle with my argument, just what do these defections from ALEC really mean?