Aug 28, 2012
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.