lobbying

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 draws attention of the League of Women Voters

The League has supported transparency in government for years.

What is new is that the resolution names, specifically, the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The LWV adopted the resolution because some Casper members were concerned about legislators who received ALEC scholarships to attend its meetings and promote model bills, said Amy Williamson of Laramie, LWV president.

The LWV resolution says in part, “There is evidence that members and committees of the Wyoming Legislature sponsor legislation written by political, business and other interest groups that promote their agendas.”

“Efforts by any organization to direct the passage of laws in Wyoming’s Legislature must be transparent to citizens and legislators of Wyoming, consistent with the fundamental principles of openness and accountability,” the LWV resolution adds.

Please click here to read more about this important action by the League of Women Voters to fight back against ALEC.  And demanding transparency on all legislation is necessary to be sure our representatives in government are representing their real constituents and not out there selling their votes to organizations of any political persuasion. 

Wyoming LWV–you have our respect and admiration.

 

ALEC Now Sponsoring Overtly Political Events with the RSC

GOP’s corporate front group

The revolving door between Capital Hill, the lobbying sector, and corporate jobs is out of control. Unaccountable corporate lobbyists write laws, draft budgets, and create policies that protect personal and business interests.

…But perhaps it is no surprise that the federal Republicans and ALEC have finally gotten a room, and that it’s at the Heritage Foundation. Republicans and ALEC have long held similar beliefs and worked together on the state level. President Bush and other top Republican leaders have spoken to ALEC. The group, which used to be a nonpartisan corporate front group, happy to advance legislation to either party, as long as it served its corporate backers, has increasingly become the state-based arm of the Republican Party’s progressively more conservative legislative agenda.

To read all of this extensive and in-depth report, please click here

Violations of the Internal Revenue Laws by the American Legislative Exchange Council

This article is written by Marcus S. Owens,  Director, Exempt Organizations Division, Internal Revenue Service, 1990-2000

Please click here to see Mr. Owens’ c.v. which establishes him incontrovertibly as an expert in this matter.

Now, let’s release Mr. Owens’ smoking gun report about ALEC’s 501(c)3 status, which Common Cause is challenging.

The information in this submission, a great deal of which was not presented in prior complaints, confirms that ALEC has deliberately and repeatedly failed to comply with some of the most fundamental federal tax requirements applicable to public charities.  The information in this submission also suggests, quite strongly, that the conduct of ALEC and certain of its representatives violates other civil and criminal tax laws and may violate other federal and state criminal statutes as well.  Thus, Clergy VOICE urges the Service to investigate immediately, and after verifying this information to assess penalties and other appropriate sanctions–including revocations of ALEC’s tax-exempt status.  Indeed, given the visibility of the organization, any inaction on the part of the Service would undermine the integrity of the law itself.

OVERVIEW OF KEY FINDINGS

  • A pattern of lobbying activity far beyond the limits set by Federal Tax Law;
  • Excessive private benefit to corporate members, including the promotion of legislation applicable to only one or a small number of corporate members;
  • Excessive private benefit to state legislators, including unreported taxable income for personal expenses, which may also implicate state ethics laws and federal anti-bribery laws;
  • Excessive private benefit to the Republican Party in a manner similar to that in American Campaign Academy v. Commissioner
  • A pattern of filing multiple inaccurate Forms 990–which include affirmative statements that ALEC engaged in no lobbying activities (even in years when it had registered two of its attorneys as lobbyists for the organization) and affirmative statements that ALEC made no payments to or for the benefit of government officials (even when it paid travel and entertainment expenses for state legislators and their families)–indicating both civil and Criminal violation of federal tax laws.

Wow!  And he’s just getting warmed up. 

  • ALEC’s legislative activities are not limited to promoting “model legislation” that is drafted by and intended to advance the interests of its corporate members.  The organization also mobilizes its Legislative Members to prevent the passage of legislation that threatens the interests of its corporate members.  [sites examples from the NY Times]
  • Incredibly ALEC reports on its annual information returns that the organization engages in no lobbying activity. a position that was recently affirmed by the organizations counsel.  ALEC’s primary activity is to craft the “model legislation” for which it is famous and advocate for its passage nationwide.  Indeed ALEC’s Bylaws state that its corporate purposes include “disseminat[ing] model legislation and promot[ing] the introduction of companion bills in Congress and state legislatures…
  • A survey of ALEC’s model legislation reveals numerous examples of bills that were crafted by industry representatives  to advance their business interests, including:  The Drug Liability Act, The Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Disclosure Composition Act, Stand Your Ground Legislation; Model Legislation to Limit Successor Asbestos-Related Liability for Crown Holdings; The No Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Act; etc.–not the business of a charity.
  • ALEC filed that it had registered lobbyists in North Dakota.
  • South Carolina, Indiana, and Colorado have laws explicity stating that ALEC does not have to disclose its lobbying expenditures in their states..  If they weren’t lobbying, what was the purpose of these laws.
  • ALEC failed to register as lobbyists in Minnesota when it hosted an event with lobbyists and state GOP lawmakers.
  • ALEC national meetings. generally held in luxury resorts and hotels, include perks such as meals, recreational activities, and subsidized childcare for legislators and their families.  Golf tournaments, open bar parties, baseball games–all subsidized directly or indirectly by ALEC’s corporate members.
  • In 1999 and 2000 it appears that taxpayers paid at least $3 million in expenses claimed by lawmakers while they received industry-funded “legislative scholarships” from ALEC to cover their expenses.
  • ALEC’s legislative scholarships are not merit awards as one would expect from the use of the word “scholarship:  They are not even made for educational pursuit,  ALEC Form 990s show that these are just payments made by ALEC to “reimburse [state legislators] for travel expenses incurred.
  • A $3454 reimbursement to State Representative Seth Morgan in 2009 for “entertainment and childcare for his 3 children at ALEC’s “Kids Congress, his wife’s cost to attend the meeting, and travel expenses for the entire family
  • Ohio’s Todd Snitchler likewise received a “scholarship” to cover entertainment, childcare, his wife’s costs to attend, and airfare.
  • Ohio’s Kris Jordan and John Adams received “Scholarships” for their spouses to attend the Annual Meeting.
  • And NONE of these legislators reported the payments for ramily travel and entertainment on their state disclosure forms.  It bears emphasis that this practice appears to be replicated in other states.
  • Yet ALEC takes the incredible position that the scholarships are neither revenues or expenses of ALEC.  ALEC treats amounts related to spousal and family travel as compensation.

According to the law, upheld by the Supreme Court, “the presence of a single non-exempt purpose, if substantial in nature, will disqualify an organization from tax exempt status, even if the organization also conducts charitable activities…In other words, if ALEC is serving private interests other than incidentally, they do not qualify for 501(c)3 tax exempt status.

Based on the facts, ALEC appears to be operated to benefit the private interests of its corporate donors.  It dedicates the bulk of its time, energy, and resources to formulating, disseminating and supporting its model legislation.   Each piece of model legislation constitutes a legislative proposal that ALEC supports, and thus qualifies as “Special legislation under the law.  Likewise the expenses incurred by ALEC in researching, drafting and promoting each piece of its model legislation are all lobbying expenditures.

The misstatements and omissions on ALEC’s Form 990 may expose the organization to far more than civil penalties,  If the misstatements or omissionswere made knowingly or willfully, ALEC and those involved could be subject to criminal prosecution.

Under Federal Criminal Code, there are penalties for certain conduct relating to filing required or information returns with the IRS.  DOJ has indicated a greater willingness to seek criminal prosecutions of individual [associated with charities] who falsify information.

But the actions of ALEC and its members may violate criminal laws in addition to civil and tax laws, especially if the courts consider ALEC’s violations of the Federal Criminal Codes to be tantamount to a Conspiracy to Defraud the United States Government.  These include the Honest Services Fraud, “Pay-to-Play” prohibition, and RICO violations.

CONCLUSION

“This submission, together with the IRS complaint filed by Common Cause and media accounts regarding ALEC’s activities, raise a number of complicated and significant questions regarding the organizations continued qualification for exemption from tax. Given the influence wielded by ALEC and its members, the nature of he violations, and he fact that they are ongoing, we urge you to take immediate action to investigate ALEC and, if appropriate, assess penalties and other sanctions–including revocation–to ensure that these abuses do not continue to occur.”

There is a lot more to this article than I could summarize.  A good understanding of the legal issues facing ALEC is important to understanding the way it does things.  Please click here to read the entire report.  Given the qualifications of Marcus S, Owens, this is an article to be taken seriously while learning about and understanding the tax code attacks on ALEC.  Hey it was the IRS that took Al Capone down.

Campaign finance board to investigate ALEC

The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board says it will investigate the American Legislative Exchange Council’s lobbying status in Minnesota.

The board disclosed the investigation in a letter to Common Cause Minnesota, the local arm of a national group that is asking many states to probe whether the conservative organization has violated its tax-exempt status.

To read more about this legal attack on ALEC please click here

Do you think that this might have to do with the following from ALEC’s Spring Summit?

In their Civil Justice task force workshop, ALEC introduced model legislation that would limit the ability of attorneys general to pursue lawsuits against private-sector companies on behalf of their states. It’s called the Attorney General Authority Act. 

In other words, an attorney general would be required to obtain a statute from his/her state legislature before they could file a lawsuit against an entity. Imagine the havoc this would create in cases of corporate malfeasance. The hands of the attorney general would, in effect, be completely tied until a statute was issued in favor of legal action.

Special Rights for ALEC: Three States Exempt Stealth Corporate Lobbying Group From Lobbying Rules

A new report by the Center for Public Integrity reveals that legislators in three states have explicitly exempted the organization from state lobbying registration and disclosure laws:

[In] three states — South Carolina, Indiana and Colorado — it turns out that ALEC has quietly, and by name, been specifically exempted from lobbyist status.

To read how ALEC, which claims it is not a lobbyist, needs special exemptions from lobbying status, please click here.