Kraft Foods

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.

 

Sanofi Dumps ALEC, Making 41 Corporations Out

From PRWatch by Rebekah Wilce

The French pharmaceutical manufacturer, Sanofi (formerly Sanofi-Aventis) announced they have cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

“Sanofi has been a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force. The task force has adopted “model” legislation opposing health insurance reforms and making it harder for those injured by pharmaceuticals, as well as for the family members of those killed, to hold pharmaceutical companies liable. Sanofi was also a “Vice Chairman” level sponsor of the 2011 ALEC Annual Conference (this level of sponsorship cost $25,000 in 2010) and funded ALEC’s Arizona “Scholarship Fund” to the tune of $3,000 in 2010, in addition to funding other state ALEC scholarships and previously co-chairing a state for ALEC. ALEC “scholarship funds” provide a vehicle for ALEC’s corporate members to buy influence with legislators through gifts of flights, hotel rooms, and other perks denominated as “ALEC scholarships,” as CMD has reported.”

To read the full announcement from PRWatch click here….

Merck Pharmaceutical and Wells Fargo Dump ALEC, While Duke Energy Holds Out

From PRWatch by Rebekah Wilce

Merck, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, and Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the United States, have joined 38 other major firms and cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a controversial “bill mill” that brings together right-wing legislators and corporations to draft controversial model bills behind closed doors. The exit of the two firms brings the total to 40 major American firms that have departed ALEC in recent months. Meanwhile, Duke Energy, the largest regulated utility company in the United States, has not responded to recent intensified consumer pressure to dump ALEC. Beyond their membership in ALEC, all three firms have been criticized for dodging taxes from 2008-2010.”

Read the full article at PRWatch here

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.

Sierra Club Releases “Clean Energy Under Siege” Report – ALEC Responds

VLTP Special Report By Bob Sloan

Last Friday, the Sierra Club released a report on clean energy that was critical of the efforts of what has become known as the ALEC Koch led “Cabal.”  One article on this provided a rundown of key points released in the report.  These include:

  • Growth in clean energy in has made it a threat, and therefore a target from “oil, coal, and gas interests.”
  • Those interests have launched a coordinated and well-funded, multi-pronged assault at the federal level (e.g., Congressional attacks on the Production Tax Credits, harping on theSolyndra non-“scandal”), as well as in the states, by groups like the dirty-energy-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which “provide[s] state lawmakers with ‘model legislation’ that will carry out the goals of its corporate members.”
  • Many of the self-appointed “experts” and anti-clean-energy groups “masquerade as think tanks,” (Heartland, Heritage, Mackinac and Manhattan Institute) maintaining a veneer of impartiality while being funded by oil and gas interests – people like the Koch brothers (ALEC member), etc.
  • The oil and gas message is now focused on touting the benefits of fossil fuels – including a veritable fountain of cheap natural gas from hydrofracking – while constantly pushing out tired and inaccurate lines about clean energy being too expensive, unworkable because of intermittency, and the like.”

The report cites Exxon as contributing heavily to “think tanks” pumping out false science claims about renewable energy and our environment:

“Exxon (an ALEC member) has contributed more than $600,000 since 1998 to the Manhattan Institute, and approximately $676,500 since 1998 to the Heartland Institute…”

It also provides a primary reason why such contributions are helping oil and gas companies prevent clean energy efforts from taking hold – and just why our Congress seems so ineffective in legislating anything involving gas, oil and renewable energies:

“The oil and gas industries contributed to 387 — or 88 percent — of all members of the House of Representatives in the 2010 election cycle. The industry also contributed to 89 out of 100 senators. In both chambers of Congress combined, Republicans received 86 percent of all oil and gas donations.”

Seeing their name mentioned in this report on Friday, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) immediately released a response to the Sierra Club’s findings on Saturday.  In their response, ALEC began by saying they support renewable energy as does many of their members…

“ALEC has state legislative members that are very supportive of the renewable energy industry.  In addition, ALEC has private sector members that represent renewable energy technologies and even more private sector members that work with and supply products and services to the renewable industry as whole.”

However the next paragraph “explains” ALEC’s position on renewable energy…

“ALEC’s stance on renewable energy has been very clear. ALEC believes that free markets in energy produce more options, more energy, lower prices and less economic disruptions. Also, ALEC believes that mandates to transform the energy sector and use renewable energy sources place the government in the unfair position of choosing winners and losers, keeping alive industries that are dependent on special interest lobbying. ALEC opposes mandates and therefore opposes infighting among fuel sources. ALEC also believes that government programs designed to encourage and advance energy technologies should not reduce energy choices or supply. They should not limit the production of electricity, for example, to only politically preferable technologies.”

No denial of the involvement of the Koch brothers, or campaign contributions by them and ExxonMobil.  No denial of their influences in our Congress or upon members of either house as Sierra claimed.  Research over the past few years has shown that when it comes to “special interest lobbying” ALEC itself is the leader in that category.

Further down, ALEC went on to claim:

“Sloppy research, half-truths and fabrications are found throughout the Sierra Club report. The report shows the very partisan approach and, unfortunately careless, nature behind the Sierra Club’s publications. It is important to point out some the glaring errors regarding the references to ALEC and the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force within ALEC.”

These are similar claims ALEC has made regarding the very public exposure they have been receiving due to extensive research and fact checked disclosures that have been in the news over the past 18 months.  In dozens of articles published by ALEC and think tanks mentioned in the Sierra Club report (and others) they have accused “leftists, Liberals and Progressives” of leading an uncalled for attack upon ALEC and the cabal.  However, in each case the documentation, model bills, reports and articles published about them have been found to be accurate and well supported, resulting in 40 corporations, private foundations and more than 50 legislators to resign from ALEC.  Led by the Center for Media and Democracy’s “ALEC Exposed” and the efforts of other national and  activist organizations – including Occupy groups – researchers have published hundreds of informative and factual articles and reports to the public.  In April of last year more than 800 pieces of until then hidden ALEC model “bills” were turned over by a whistleblower and publicized by CMD and the Nation Magazine.

“Sloppy research, half-truths and fabrications” are what ALEC and the Koch-led cabal operate upon, not the Sierra Club, SourceWatch, CMD, Occupy or other organizations making the actions and activities of ALEC public.  Examples of this are seen in the Sierra report:

“In May, ALEC invited a Who’s Who of anti-clean energy advocates to a meeting in Charlotte to plot strategy. The Heartland Institute was there, even after its internal documents had been exposed and the damage of its self-inflicted wound with the Unabomber billboard had been done. The field general for the Koch brothers, Americans for Prosperity, was there. The first-string squad for the anti-clean energy team was suited up and on the field….

In response to this claim, ALEC did not bother to deny it – just “falsely” claiming it was false – then saying:

Fact Check: This is demonstrably false.  The American Legislative Exchange Council has three conferences a year for its members to discuss pressing public policy issues affecting the states. One of these three conferences is our Spring Task Force Summit which was held in Charlotte, NC on May 11-12.  Our private sector members who attended this conference consist of a wide variety of industries including renewable energy companies. Our agenda for the meeting covered many topics that are of interest to our state legislators from agriculture policy, smart grid deployment and what causes gas prices to streamlining permits for solar installations.”

Did they deny the Heartland Institute was there?  That Americans For Prosperity was there?  That the agenda did not include anti-clean energy advocates?  No, they just attempted to water it down by claiming they discussed many topics of interest to their legislative and private sector members.

The report identified Todd Wynn as ALEC’s staffer (actual title is Director) of their Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force  and gave a history of Wynn’s past affiliations:

“…The staffer behind ALEC’s energy task force is Todd Wynn. Wynn’s resume is a journeyman’s travelogue through the world of ultra-conservative advocacy. Wynn’s opposition to wind energy is well documented from his time with the Cascade Policy Institute….While with Cascade, Wynn wrote reports with titles like, “The Dirty Secret Behind Clean Jobs” and “Renewable Energy Failure: Why Government Mandates Don’t Work and What They Will Do to Our Economy.” Before that, he worked for another “free market think tank,” the American Tradition Institute (ATI).”

ALEC’s response?

“Fact Check: Mr. Wynn has never been on the staff at the American Tradition Institute. He like many of the other fellows of ATI serves in an unpaid advisory capacity to the ATI staff”

No denial about;  Wynn’s control of the ALEC Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force, didn’t deny his previous position with Cascade Policy Institute, the reports written by Wynn or his previous affiliation with the ATI.  No, their response was limited to “…Wynn has never been on the staff” of ATI, instead he’s just an “unpaid fellow” that served in the capacity of advisor to ATI staff.  Possibly Wynn was then “underpaid” for his valuable anti-renewable energy work while at ATI.

As with nearly every press release, claim, false denial or other response to the articles and reports critical of ALEC, the organization once again responded with several paragraphs of double talk and unsupported denials.  Whereas the Sierra Club report is well documented with 94 end notes supporting their claims.  ALEC’s response had…0 facts, no foot or end notes or links to where a reader could find where their claims or denials were substantiated.

Conclusion:  the Sierra Club has accurately identified the problem, the players involved with ALEC, the agenda of this cabal and how many of our Congressional officials are helping them to enrich the oil and gas companies and maintain their stranglehold on consumers’s dollars at the pump and our tax dollars paid out in needless and expensive government subsidies.

The foregoing helps us understand why it has been so difficult to separate the oil and gas companies from ALEC.  They cherish the power and influence they are able to wield upon state and federal lawmakers through their membership in ALEC.  They aren’t as worried about their “brand” as Kraft, Coke and Pepsi were when they quit ALEC.  When it comes to the oil companies, we are so dependent upon them for our fuel needs, they believe we’ll buy it because we have no other choice.  That is why it is so important to push for renewable energy and break the stranglehold upon us that ALEC has given them…and above all, understand that any press release, statements or claims coming from ALEC and their sycophantic cabal members are well thought out and designed to misinform and help them succeed in their conservative agenda.

The fact that global warming is real and oil companies and manufacturers are helping to further increase pollution, bringing us to the point of no-return – where the harm done becomes irreversible – has become undeniable.  This summer’s national drought has demonstrated this better than any report could ever do, with Americans from coast to coast experiencing the very real effects of climate change first hand and personally.  It’s time all of us begin to understand that the arguments put forth by the Koch/ALEC Cabal are nothing more than hollow words meant to distract us from realizing they will sacrifice us all – and the very planet – in pursuit of continued enrichment.  They simply must be stopped!

Compiled Thursday Coverage of the ALEC Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah…

Click on the article titles below for links to the articles or videos:
 “I know you’re being attacked by a lot of these leftist groups in your states. I know you are,” Ron Scheberle, ALEC’s executive director told lawmakers during lunch Wednesday before turning to the group’s corporate sponsors. “Thank you. Thank you for standing with us. I know you’ve been attacked a lot — extortion threats and letters. But those who are here today are standing strong.”

“Alec is a conglomeration of the world’s richest multinational corporations,” Jesse Fruhwirth said. “They’re a lobbying organization that relies on a pay to play, where if you have hundreds of thousands of dollars, you can buy legislation.”

 “This corporate?funded 501(c)(3) organization…has unprecedented access to lawmakers and to the composition of the bills they pass into law. Out of Florida’s 160 state legislators, 60 have had ties with ALEC since 2010 through dues records or records of its task forces where corporate lobbyists vote as equals with legislators on “model” bills behind closed doors.”

Anti-ALEC Protest And Rally For Public Education Thursday

“The American Legislative Exchange Council has descended upon Salt Lake City for its annual meeting, and the nonprofit that secretly feeds lawmakers biz-friendly bills is being harried by local activists at every stop. Thursday activists are picketing ALEC for efforts to dismantle public education.”

Color Of Change Applauds Walgreens’ and General Motors’ Decisions to End their Membership in ALEC

“30 Companies Have Left the American Legislative Exchange Council, Announcement Comes During Group’s Annual Meeting in Utah; Civil Rights Organization Now Calls on Online Retailer eBay to Drop ALEC.”

Report claims Florida lawmakers do bidding of corporate-funded ALEC

“Some of the most controversial bills introduced recently in the Florida Legislature were thought up by out-of-state corporate interests with financial motives, according to a report released Thursday by a two national watchdog groups and Progress Florida. The report says the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is a shadowy force exerting an uncanny amount of power over Florida’s lawmaking process.”

Pre-fab bills

 “Paying membership dues (often out of campaign contributions) in order to access “model” legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council is the legislative equivalent of purchasing term papers online (“ALEC bringing its clout, agenda and convention to Utah,” Tribune, July 15).”Any lawmaker who cannot draft his or her own legislation based on the needs of constituents has no business serving in the Utah Legislature.

“I elect local people to serve in our Legislature, and I expect them to focus on listening to Utah citizens to creatively solve local issues.

“Certainly, this is harder than simply downloading “model” legislation, but if you aren’t willing to do the work, don’t run for office.

“Buying pre-fab legislation from a secretive organization two time zones away is beneath the dignity of the office of an elected representative. This remains true, whether the organization is conservative or liberal.

Ingrid Griffee – Salt Lake City

“ALEC represents a pay-to-play system at its worst, a system where the most powerful corporations buy their way in,” Common Cause President and CEO Bob Edgar, a former Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania, said.

ALEC under fire (Video)

“(Lisa) Graves points to the organization’s by-laws, made public through the IRS that say state chairmen “shallpropose model legislation in their states. State chairmen are sitting lawmakers, including Utah State Senators Curt Bramble and Wayne Neiderhauser and state representative Chris Herrod.”

Walgreens’ and General Motors Become 29th and 30th Corp. to Drop Membership in ALEC

From Color of Change –

“General Motors Company, the world’s largest automaker, has ended its relationship with the American Legislative Council (ALEC). Walgreens, the country’s largest drug retailing chain, has also parted ways with the right-wing policy group….

Walgreens Logo

“Walgreens will not be renewing its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (“ALEC”) where we have participated on ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force. Walgreens will continue to be an active presence on critical health care and pharmacy issues facing the country and looks forward to continuing to work across the political spectrum in the public policy arena.

“On Monday, Bryan Roosa, General Motors’ regional director of state government relations, told a ColorOfChange staffer via email that, “GM has communicated to ALEC that we will no longer fund nor participate going forward.”

Read the entire article 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

ALEC’s Federal Task Force – “How to Change Democracy From Within”

ALEC has a heretofore hidden task force.  It’s existence is known only to ALEC members and their closest “affiliates” – and referred to by them simply as the Federal Forum.  A hint of it can be found at ALEC’s site listed under “Federal Relations.”  Before getting in to the purpose of this task force, what it does and why it has been kept secret by the “Cabal,” it is necessary for us to understand the philosophy behind the creation and operation of this “Task Force.”  To do that I must take a brief moment and quote below from Eric Heubeck’s 2001 treatise, “The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement.”

“It is becoming increasingly clear that we must heed Paul Weyrich’s call for a tactical retreat from the fields of political battle–not totally or permanently, but until such time as we can confidently proclaim that traditionalists are a force to be reckoned with in the wider society…”…We must, as Mr. Weyrich has suggested, develop a network of parallel cultural institutions existing side-by-side with the dominant leftist cultural institutions…

“It must be emphasized that this new movement will not be “disengaged” from the wider society, only “differently engaged.” We are, quite simply, replacing political activism with cultural activism as the center of our focus. And while the visibility of the new movement will be less pronounced than the existing (political) conservative movement in the short term, the seeds that we now sow will have dramatic repercussions over the long term. We have the capacity to fundamentally transform the face of American culture in the 21st century by following a different path, one built on the aggressive dissemination of our cultural values, rather than the idle hope that enough of our cultural values still remain in the body of the American people to carry us on to a few more isolated electoral victories.

“We will never stop being engaged in the wider culture. We will not “hunker down” and wait for the storm to blow over. Our strategy will be to bleed this corrupt culture dry. We will pick off the most intelligent and creative individuals in our society, the individuals who help give credibility to the current regime. To do this, we will promote a set of beliefs more compelling than that of our opponents…

“Our movement will be entirely destructive, and entirely constructive. We will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them. We will endeavor to knock our opponents off-balance and unsettle them at every opportunity. All of our constructive energies will be dedicated to the creation of our own institutions.

“We will maintain a constant barrage of criticism against the Left. We will attack the very legitimacy of the Left. We will not give them a moment’s rest. We will endeavor to prove that the Left does not deserve to hold sway over the heart and mind of a single American…”

For those who probably missed the published research report on ALEC’s Federal Government and Corrupt Practices VLTP released last November, you should take the time to download and read this comprehensive report.  The full report ties President Bush, VP Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and others directly to ALEC.  You will want to have this report on hand if you have any intention or desire to inform others about ALEC or pursue them as I have.The following is based upon that research which consumed 24 months of effort.

 

ALEC’s Federal Forum TF is one of the key tools being used to accomplish a primary goal provided in the above treatise – “Weaken and eventually destroy” American institutions and replace them with “their own” institutions.  To accomplish this they have to work from within.

The security mechanisms put in place generations ago to protect the integrity of our many “institutions” (agencies, departments, schools, state and federal legislatures) are all designed to deflect attacks from the outside.  Those on the inside are required to guard against attempted subversion’s or changes to our agencies and departments coming from the outside.  Unfortunately when those charged with such internal security are infiltrated by elected, appointed or hired individuals that have a desire to destroy democracy from within, those security measures fail.

In my last diary I informed about ALEC’s hidden memberships that include lifetime, foreign and subscription memberships.  With this discovery of life members, foreign officials and sitting Governors taking part in policy and development of model legislation for our individual US states, we discovered the hidden way in which ALEC wields their considerable influence.  Now we delve deeper into the cabal’s operations that allow them to transfer those influences from state to federal laws and policies…ALEC’s “Tenth” Task Force, the Federal Forum…

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Here is a link to the only remaining trace of ALEC’s published Federal Forum (2005) document:

FF Cover sheet

With blurbs from prominent ALEC Congressional members:

alumnus statements on ff

and the “Mission” statement adopted by this Federal Forum:

FF Mission statement

This document from 2005 is all that remains.  ALEC scrubbed all links, took down their publicized references to the Federal Forum and has refused to discuss or answer questions about this task force, the initiatives or identify the current or former “co-chairs” of this task force.  In 2005 U.S. Senator George Allen and Congressman Mark Green were co-chairmen of the Federal Forum:

Co-Chair's of 2005 FF

Looking back to 2005 we can clearly see from this policy document what the objectives were for this federal forum.  What continues to hide beyond our research is who has served as co-chairs from 2006 through 2012?  The initiatives they pursued within Congress, the success or failure of those models and policies.

Here is what their priorities for the FF were in 2005, starting with President Bush’s initiatives:

Bush Initiatives

then the “resolutions” (which ALEC uses frequently to drive or change policies):

FF Fed Level Resolutions
FF Fed Level Resolutions 2

Here is a list of the ALEC “Alumni” members who were serving in Congress  and tasked with implementing the initiatives of ALEC and President Bush in 2005:

2005 FF alumni 1
2005 FF alumni 2

A full reading of the entire Fed Forum document is beyond enlightening and frightening to those of us who have a desire to maintain our democracy and democratic processes in place and functioning as they have for more than 200 years.  It also answers our questions about how ALEC and the Koch cabal have been able to quickly advance particularly favorable state legislation into the federal arena.

Of particular interest – and as a way of demonstrating the linkage between ALEC and the other cabal organizations and members, pages 19 and 20 have to be read.  On those pages ALEC lists their “State Policy Experts” to be contacted by members with questions on the policies being pursued at the federal level.  These experts are from all the usual suspect stink tanks; Evergreen, Reason, Shook, Hardy and Bacon, the Friedman Foundation, Alliance for School Choice, Competitive Enterprise Institute, American Enterprise Institute, Progress & Freedom Foundation, Tax Foundation, Institute for Health Freedom and the Heritage Foundation.

With nearly 100 members now serving in our House and Senate, the ALEC “Alumnus” represents a large caucus that can be used to push an agenda – or to block the agenda of Democrats and others.  When combined with the Koch bought members who prevailed and were elected in 2010, Koch and their cabal now have over 200 representatives representing their interests in our Congress…out of 535 total members.  We should all be getting extremely worried about the future of our democracy – really worried.

As most of you will now understand, the initiatives of 2005 shown above are still being pursued and argued vigorously in Congress and at the state level; tenth amendment, balanced budget pursuits, patriot act, reverse mortgage act, social security and Medicaid “reforms”, eliminating the federal estate tax, immigration enforcement, healthcare and repeal or support of lower taxes (corporate)…its all there in this document…and in Congress being debated in every session.  Fresh in everyone’s mind is the battle over increasing the debt ceiling, and the Republicans pushing for a balanced budget amendment in 2011.  Also on our minds is the pursuit of offshore drilling initiatives – and the impact of that due to the Event Horizon oil spill incident in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago.  Now, through the lens of the ALEC Federal Forum task force we can see the influence(s) that enabled and continue to pursue these key conservative initiatives from within Congress.

Of interesting note to the creation and development of this task force, is the creator himself and who he is.  A former aide to Congressman John Ashcroft brought along with Ashcroft as he assumed the duties of Attorney General in 2001, was a man named Andrew Schauder.  As more and more of our research reveals, Schauder is in the growing number of the cabal individuals, organizations, foundations and corporations operating out of Wisconsin.  Schauder is listed as a native of Green Bay.

Schauder remained with the AG’s office as a senior advisor to Ashcroft through 2005.  He was recruited by ALEC from his post to take over their “Alumni Forum” (created in 2001 with the Bush election) and turn it into the Federal Forum.  Schauder served as the first Director of this task force before moving on to a position with the US DOL under Chao (Mitch McConnell’s wife) as Deputy Chief of Staff and Acting Chief of Staff.  Schauder left the DOL to hire on as a lobbyist for Ashcroft’s DC lobbying firm.  After a short stint there, he took a key position with American Traffic Solutions, another ALEC member corporation.  ATS and Schauder were in NOLA in 2011 at the ALEC conference pushing for legislation to allow expansion of the traffic surveillance (cameras) initiative used to ticket speeders and traffic violations (for a substantial fee, of course).  Here is Schauder’s bio proffered by the Ashcroft Group when he was hired:

Andrew Schauder has 10 years of experience developing and maintaining strategic relationships at the federal, state and local levels to meet the goals of senior government officials as well as private sector companies. Previously, Andrew served as Acting Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Labor under Secretary Elaine L. Chao. His job included managing and directing policies and programs at the $11 billion cabinet agency that achieved record results in protecting the health, safety, wages, and retirement security of the nation’s workforce. Andrew was a member of the Management Review Board and chaired the grants review team.Prior to joining the Office of the Secretary, Andrew managed strategic relationships with Department of Labor stakeholders including state and local legislators, governors, mayors and membership organizations as the Senior Intergovernmental Officer.

Before his tenure at DOL, Andrew was the Director of Federal Affairs for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the nation’s largest non-partisan, individual membership organization of state legislators. He created and managed a federal outreach program that increased the visibility and effectiveness of the organization and its members. Andrew built unprecedented levels of participation and engagement between ALEC’s public and private sector members and Congress.

From 2001 to 2005 Andrew served at the U.S. Justice Department as Special Assistant to the Attorney General in various capacities including in the Office of Legal Policy, the Office of Legislative Affairs, and the Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison.
Andrew served on the Ashcroft 2000 Senate campaign focusing on policy and research. From 1999 to 2000 he worked in the Office of U.S. Senator John Ashcroft as a Research Assistant. Andrew joined The Ashcroft Group to be with a familiar team of known, talented professionals whose unique background and experience provides a mission-driven culture that delivers results to its clients.

The positions held, influence wielded helped Schauder develop the Federal Forum so that it was the best venue possible to enable the cabal to quickly and efficiently incorporate their initiatives and agenda directly into our Congress. Additionally, we now know for certain that the cabal think tanks and organization are the “go-to” experts who provide the ALEC lawmakers with faux scientific reports,  talking points, discussion topics, etc.  Reason, Heritage and the other’s agenda are brought into both houses and disseminated to other members of Congress through the bought and paid for lawmakers who serve ALEC and Koch…and are proudly listed by ALEC as noted above.

Obviously Schauder was a wise choice and his work is still benefiting ALEC long after he moved on.  Through his travels and work we are able to see how the revolving door works for ALEC and the cabal; they simply move key individuals (in reality lobbyists) in and out of government service where and when it serves their agenda.  With each transition favors are earned, traded and acquired that can be used in the next transition to the benefit of the lobbyists, corporatists and of course, ALEC.

When combined with the membership Exposé referenced and linked to above, there is much cause for concern.  As the wording at ALEC’s Federal Relations link provides above, the agenda remains the same – only hidden behind a thick and nearly impenetrable curtain.

We have no idea who the Congressional “Co-Chairs” of the FF Task force is today…the initiatives pursued (though the ongoing battles in Congress provide some insight)…and unfortunately we have less knowledge about which foreign officials may be “helping” push the conservative ALEC/Cabal agenda.  What we do have is a nearly complete listing of the corporations funding this crap.  Nearly thirty corporations, several foundations and dozens of lawmakers have abandoned ALEC but hundreds of each still remain loyal to the cabal.  As we pursue abolishing ALEC we have to pressure those enabling lawmakers, companies and “charities” remaining ALEC members to leave them as well.  Without funding ALEC and the Koch led cabal cannot function.  Without lawmakers to advance the legislation, businesses donating to the lawmakers and a way for lobbyists to meet secretly with lawmakers, ALEC cannot continue to exist.

In the next Exposé we will introduce you to more federal level interference – upon our judiciary from state appellate courts, through the full federal court system right into the SCOTUS.  This comes through ALEC’s nefarious (and also hidden from view) “Amicus Project”…

Reposted from Daily Kos by Bob Sloan