Intuit

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.

 

ALEC-New Partnerships and Exposing Hidden Foreign Influences – with a Comparison to the NCSL

ALEC Finds New Friends

Republican Study Committee (RSC) a Quiet New Partner

Seems ALEC is searching for legislative support through a new partnership as dozens of members – legislative and corporate – abandon membership in the organization.  In the article about this they provide the RSC is meeting with ALEC at the Heritage Foundation next week:

“Frankly, this gathering is long overdue,” Paul Teller, the executive director of the RSC said in a statement.

“As Washington encroaches more and more into state and local spheres, it’s important that conservative legislators at the federal and state levels collaborate on policies to stop and roll back the ever-expanding federal government.”

“Recent legislative proposals on Capitol Hill have focused on rolling back federal involvement in states, such as efforts to replace Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program with block grants and to allow states to opt out of the federal highway and mass transit programs. Those positions are very much in line with ALEC’s efforts to empower states…Kaitlyn Buss, a spokeswoman for ALEC, said in an email that there is “no formal partnership with ALEC and any organizations.”

“Obviously federalism is one of ALEC’s foundational principles, and so facilitating a conversation about federalism is very much in line with our work,” Buss added.”

I would suggest to the RSC that they fully research ALEC and understand the extent of the group’s efforts to “Roll Back” the federal government before ecstatically climbing into bed with them…but of course, since the RSC, ALEC and the Heritage Foundation were all founded by Conservative activist, Paul Weyrich, they’re already well acquainted.

This is why it is important for us to understand just how far ALEC will go to influence state sovereignty by attempting to lessen the controls exerted upon individual states through federal governmental controls and oversight. In the past the Heritage and members of the RSC have quietly lent assistance to ALEC in their pursuits – now it appears they are preparing to remove the curtain obscuring the close troika-like relationship. I think this removes any further claim of ALEC being truly “bi-partisan” in their operation and legislative pursuits.

Before we consider what the impact of a joint RSC/ALEC partnership against federal controls would have upon the U.S., we should first look at current ALEC activities along these lines involving memberships held by foreign representatives. Together ALEC’s state lawmakers work hand in hand with several influential foreign elected officials to establish US state and foreign policies and pass laws suggested by those representing foreign powers…and the claim ALEC makes that their activities are similar to those of the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL)….not by a long shot More →

Center for Media and Democracy Comes Under Attack For Reporting on ALEC

A VLTP OP-ED in response to an article from PRWatch today  by Lisa Graves — August 29, 2012

“The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) sent a message to hundreds of legislators across the country attacking the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), the creator of ALECexposed.org. Among other things ALEC claimed, “CMD is an attack-dog, not a watch-dog.”

The error-filled missive, which was intended to buck up the ALEC faithful as more and more corporations flee the organization, has us here at CMD pondering the old adage, “First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they want to attack you and then you win…”

You should read this important article by Lisa Graves here

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It appears the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is tiring of losing legislative and corporate members and support due to exposure of their ultra-conservative activities.

For years bloggers, citizen journalists at Daily Kos, PFAW, Think Progress and even foreign news services have reported on various activities and actions of ALEC.  Until 2011 those reports and mentions of ALEC were rare, sporadic and lacked any real depth about the organization.  This was because while many were concerned about the activities of this registered U.S. charity’s involvement in crafting and supporting partisan legislation, they had few facts and little documentation to work with.

Concerned citizen journalists at Daily Kos worked for a couple of years developing facts and documenting activities of ALEC.  In April of last year students activists from Cincinnati and many of the DK writers worked to plan and implement a protest and rally at ALEC’s Spring Summit held in that city. By anyone’s measurement the event held on April 29th could best be described as a “small but enthusiastic” event with Teach-Ins to educate Ohioans about ALEC and report on their activities.  There were speakers, a rally at Fountain Square and a couple of hundred of us marched around the hotel where ALEC’s corporate and legislative members were meeting to determine new laws they wanted imposed upon Americans.

ALEC members strolled through the rally, laughing and shaking their heads at such foolishness aimed at them.  Many smirked, asking; “ALEC? Alec who…Baldwin?”  Legislative members came out of the hotel during the march, attempting to speak with marchers and inform that “they” were not the ones supporting SB 1070 style legislation, or in favor of attacking collective bargaining…while around the corner at another entrance to the Hilton Netherland Plaza hotel corporate members laughed and pointed at marchers passing by, shaking their heads at the futile protest while they smoked their cigarettes and cigars, holding drinks in their hands.

Though all of this took place in view of the Cincinnati Enquirer’s windows, not one word about the protest march was reported in the Gannett owned paper. To the ALEC contingent and their supporters, the rally, march and teach-ins were nothing more than a minor inconvenience and served to fill them with a sense of pride that their power and influence were so vast – and opposition to both so small.

That all changed after the CMD and Nation Magazine went public with documents and materials turned over to a protest organizer in Cincinnati by a whistleblower associated with ALEC.  As the site “ALEC Exposed” went up in July 2011 with public access to all of the “model bills” in ALEC’s arsenal, the Nation and CMD published several articles detailing the model legislation disseminated by ALEC to every state and chronicled the impact that legislation had upon various segments of our society.

Third IRS Whistleblower Complaint Brought Against American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

BREAKING NEWS FROM VLTP –

Earlier this year two complaints were filed against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) by Common Cause and Clergy Voice, alleging major violations of IRS Code lobbying prohibitions committed by ALEC, a “charity” which enjoys a 501(c)(3) tax exempt status with the IRS.

ALEC claims their activities are all related to educating lawmakers and that none are related to lobbying for or against legislation or a particular candidate.  Nearly all of their activities, however, appear to be directly related to creating thousands of pieces of model legislation and lobbying for passage of each one in most U.S. states.  ALEC openly boasts a success rate of 17% of “their” model legislation becoming law.

The first two complaints address issues of lobbying and soliciting contributions from corporations, businesses and other organizations.  The contributions are then used to reimburse ALEC state legislative members for their travel, lodging and incidental expenses related to attending any of ALEC’s three annual events (Summits or Meetings).  The money is requested by ALEC’s state chairmen and when received they forward the funds to ALEC to “hold” until an event is concluded.  Then state legislators submit requests for reimbursement for the costs of their attending, and ALEC disburses the held funds.

A third issue involves state lawmakers strategizing with corporate lobbyists or representatives at these annual meetings to develop proposed legislation in one or more of nine (9) ALEC task forces.  Once adopted by ALEC these model bills are sent back to states with ALEC members who are required by ALEC’s by-laws to ensure introduction of any legislation adopted by ALEC.

The Voters Legislative Transparency Project (VLTP), Inc. filed a third complaint and in it reports that it concurs with and supports the allegations put forth in both of the now pending complaints.

ALEC and Their Corporate Member AT&T team up in CA.on ALEC Model Legislation To Rip-Off Consumers

From Nieman Watchdog by Bruce Kushnick

As the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) continues to bleed corporate, foundation and legislative members the “we don’t lobby” conservative lobbyist group out of DC continues to pursue their agenda undauntedly. AT&T has been under increased pressure from activist and Occupy groups for months to dump ALEC following the Trayvon Martin murder in Florida.  This legislative action in California demonstrates clearly why AT&T has refused to give in to the continuous pressure by consumers and activists alike to quit the legislative ghost-writing organization.

ALEC meets this coming week in Salt Lake City, UT. where no doubt AT&T will be present and pushing for increased dissemination of this CA. bill to the other states…and possibly more of similar self-serving telecom legislation.

From the Kushnick article:

“AT&T is asking the California legislature for a big favor. A new bill — based on model legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) would remove all regulations on voice-over-Internet services (VOIP) — meaning that, as one progressive group put it, ‘just as most Americans are moving to new technologies, the state might pull out the rug on any rules to protect consumers who use it.'”

Read the entire article with links here

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell ALEC Companies to Stand Down!

For the past year, the Center for Media and Democracy has worked to expose the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), through its ongoing www.ALECexposed.org investigation into ALEC’s operations, lobbying, and “model” bills voted on behind closed doors by corporate lobbyists and legislators voting as equals. ALEC’s extreme agenda has included templates to change our laws to make it harder for juries to hold vigilantes who kill people accountable, for American citizens to vote, for Congress to limit the distorting and corrupting influence of money in our elections, and numerous other bills that undermine the rights and opportunities of Americans.

Please join us in reaching out to corporate members of ALEC to demand that they stop bankrolling ALEC and stop corrupting the democratic process. Tell them to dump ALEC!

To read and sign the letter to corporate members of ALEC, please click here

Who is ALEC?

This is a good overall story about ALEC for those looking for a good overview.  It is from the CBS Evening News with Roger Pelley.  Hope you saw it on TV, but if not, here it is.

This is one of the better :summary” stores that I have seen on the MSM.  I hope that CBS will realize what they are looking at here and put their investigative reporters on this story and shine more light on this secretive organization which does its best to avert attention.

To read the entire report, including the embedded video, please click here.

To see the video only, please click here for the VLTPVideoChannel.

Dell drops membership in right-wing corporate front ALEC – Joins 20 Other Companies

From Think Progress Special Report…

 

BREAKING: DELL BECOMES 21ST COMPANY TO DROP ALEC | Computer technology giant Dell has decided to drop its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council, a right-wing corporate front group behind the spread of voter suppression laws and Stand You Ground legislation. According to a letter from Dell’s Principal Social Strategist obtained by ThinkProgress, the company has decided not to renew its membership. Dell is the 21st group to end its relationship with ALEC, but some large corporations remain in the fold, including State Farm and AT&T.

 

Full article found here…and a longer article here by Death And Taxes.
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Johnson & Johnson becomes first N.J. company to part ways with ALEC

Today Johnson & Johnson became the next company to dump the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  J&J held a seat upon ALEC’s Private Enterprise Board as well as key positions within ALEC’s numerous task forces.  They are following the lead of companies such as Coca~Cola, Yum Brands, Wal-Mart, Amazon, PepsiCo and McDonalds and several foundations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

ALEC’s response to this latest blow is best described by one of J&J’s consumer ads…and they should consider J&J’s advice across the bottom of the ad…

When announcing their decision to leave ALEC, Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich, said in a statement today:

“We have been in dialogue with ALEC for some time, and while we acknowledge ALEC’s recent decision to focus only on innovation and growth-supporting policies, we have decided to suspend our participation and membership,” Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich, said in a statement today…”

Read the Nj.com article here