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INSOURCING Analysis – Prison Labor Competing For Your Job

In December 2010 I wrote the following article on prison labor and those involved in removing jobs from the private/public sectors and putting them in the hands of inmates.  Now that I look back even I am sitting here shaking my head at the names, companies, legislators and laws involved in this huge profitable enterprise.  I take little satisfaction in saying I tried to bring this subject to the attention of America’s workers, unions and lawmakers years before the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and their activities regarding American workers and exploiting taxpayers were exposed in 2012.  However, when you read this keep in mind the corporations and individuals who have by now become infamous for their membership in – or support for ALEC – and compare that list to what I provided in this Daily Kos post on December 6, 2010…and since then I discovered how the Dept. of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance have teamed up to help transition our jobs from neighborhoods to prisons.

INSOURCING – Faith Based Prison proposal and links to Tea Party – Follow-up More →

The History of the NRA/ALEC Gun Agenda

by Lisa Graves at PR Watch

Here is a review of the NRA-by-way-of-ALEC gun agenda:

  • The retail sale of machine guns has been barred by federal law since the gangster era but, as uncovered by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), one year ago at ALEC’s “policy summit” in Arizona, the NRA obtained unanimous support from the corporate and lawmaker members of ALEC’s Task Force for “amending” ALEC’s “Consistency in Firearms Regulation Act” to expressly bar cities from banning “machine guns.” Other provisions of that bill prevent cities from banning armor-piercing bullets and from banning efforts to alter guns to make them more deadly if the state does not do so. It also bars cities from suing gun manufacturers for gun deaths based on the theory of liability used by governments to sue tobacco manufacturers for smoking deaths.
  • In 2008, as noted by CMD, in the aftermath of the tragic massacre of students and professors by a heavily armed Virginia Tech student, ALEC adopted a model bill to remove state prohibitions of guns on college campuses and to allow students to bring guns to class More →

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.

Records: Ohio House office aided conservative group

Activists say the council improperly influences the state’s legislative process

Hundreds of emails were sent through an Ohio lawmaker’s office last year to arrange free meals and other perks for legislators from lobbyists at events sponsored by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, records show.

The Ohio House scheduler was asked to arrange session dates around council events and obliged, raising questions about the council’s sway at the Statehouse.

Seventy-two of 132 lawmakers serving at the start of this session — including every member of GOP leadership in both legislative chambers — are members of the council.

The state pays a blanket fee to belong to the council, and many member lawmakers — including Seitz — pay their $100, two-year membership through campaign accounts.

“Having the state pay dues is their loophole for not having to report these events,” Rothenberg said. “It clearly flouts the ethics law.”

To read this informative article in its entirety, please click here

Amgen Drops ALEC – Pfizer Leaves ALEC Board & Dreyfus Not Funding ALEC in 2012

From an article published at PRWatch by Rebekah Wilce

Continuing and unrelenting pursuit of ALEC and their corporate members by activist and labor groups, having huge impact upon the ultra right organization.  Thirty plus companies, four foundations and more than 50 legislators have already left ALEC – an organization operating under the banner of being a “Charity”, much like their former UK partner, Atlantic Bridge. The AB charity was disbanded by the UK government earlier this year when it was discovered their agenda was solely conservative and that it performed no real charitable operations – again much like ALEC.

Common Cause and Clergy Voice have already challenged ALEC’s charitable and IRS exemption status through whistleblower claims to the IRS filed earlier in 2012.  As the controversy continues to make headlines, more and more companies are finding it more prudent to separate themselves and their “brands” from ALEC and their numerous legislative pursuits that includes the disenfranchisement of voters and privatizing state education systems.

Amgen, a $15.3 billion pharmaceutical company based in California, announced its determination not to renew its membership on August 3 in response to a letter from a group of concerned shareholders and advocates led by Walden Asset Management and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, has dropped its seat on ALEC’s corporate board, according to the agenda from ALEC’s 2012 annual meeting. Even commodities and energy trading corporation Louis Dreyfus confirmed to CMD that it had decided not to fund ALEC this year.”

ALEC Exposed lists the following companies and foundations that have now dumped ALEC:

Companies:

Foundations:

Read the full CMD article here

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