The SPIN, August 3, 2011
Special Edition #2: ALEC Exposed
Big Business Woos ALEC Legislators in the Big Easy
by Lisa Graves
Today, the American Legislative Exchange Council kicks off its annual meeting in the Big Easy. State legislators from across the country will arrive in New Orleans to be wined and dined by corporate lobbyists. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, for example, has invited legislators to a big smoke at its cigar reception on Bourbon Street. But the meeting is not all fun and games. Legislators will be sitting down with some of the biggest corporations in the world -- Koch Industries, Bayer, Kraft, Coca-Cola, State Farm, AT&T, WalMart, Philip Morris and more -- behind closed doors. There, they approve one-size-fits-all changes to the law that ALEC legislators take home and introduce as their own brilliant policy innovations. Read this article on PR Watch.
Demonstration Planned To Protest ALEC Annual Meeting
by Jessica Opoien
When the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) gathers in New Orleans for its annual meeting at the end of the summer, it will have some company.
A peaceful demonstration has been planned to coincide with ALEC's 38th annual meeting, which is scheduled to be held August 3-6 at the Marriott New Orleans. According to the "Protest ALEC" website (which is not affiliated with CMD), advocates will hold a number of workshops devoted to examining the ALEC agenda, corporations, and politicians. The session will culminate with a program followed by a "March to the Marriott" from the Hale Boggs Federal Building. Scheduled speakers and performances include Jordan Flaherty, journalist and community organizer; Bob Sloan, prison industry investigative consultant and author; David Rovics, musician; and representatives from the AFL-CIO and Interfaith Worker Justice. Read this article on PR Watch.
Six Extreme Right-Wing Attacks by ALEC in State Governments
by Lisa Graves and Brendan Fischer (initially published by TruthOut.org).
"Model" bills voted on by corporations through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) touch almost every aspect of American life. The Center for Media and Democracy has analyzed and made available over 800 ALEC model bills to allow other reporters and the public to track corporate influence in state legislatures across the country (and in Congress) at ALECExposed.org. Here is a quick summary of six of the many "hot" topics on the ALEC corporate-politician agenda this year. Read this article on PR Watch.
ALEC Exposed: Warming Up to Climate Change
by Jill Richardson
As the U.S. suffers through catastrophic tornadoes, heat waves, and other climate extremes -- no doubt just a small taste of what the climate crisis will bring in the future -- polluting industries and the politicians that serve them want to convince you that excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is actually a good thing. Read this article on PR Watch.
3 Tips on Exposing ALEC's Influence in Your State
by Eric Carlson
(Editor's note: The Center is deeply grateful for all the research into ALEC politicians underway, especially by Daily KOS bloggers, and we are offering the tips today in light of the many questions people have asked about how to help with this research.) The Center for Media and Democracy recently unveiled a trove of "model" bills voted on behind closed doors by corporations and politicians through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Many of these bills and provisions have been introduced in state houses across the country without any mention of the ALEC connection and have become legally binding. In addition to the analysis of the more than 800 pieces legislation on "ALEC Exposed," CMD released a list of lawmakers from across the U.S. who serve as ALEC "Chairmen" in each state. Read this article on PR Watch.
ALEC Activity in Wisconsin, Circa 2004
by Katya Szabados
(From CMD: This report was originally printed as the cover story in the March 2, 2004 edition of the Madison-based newspaper "The Wisconsinite," titled "Dr. No and the Spectre of ALEC." While written more than seven years ago, the story it tells about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its role in Wisconsin government is illuminating and remains relevant today.
The intervening years have seen ALEC become even more influential as Wisconsin's political divide has grown, particularly after Republicans gained control of all three branches of state government. Some of the players have stayed the same, despite the intervening years -- readers will recognize the Fitzgerald brothers, former Governor Tommy Thompson and an assembly member named Scott Walker.) Read this article on PR Watch.
TAKE ACTION! -- Tell Corporations to Dump ALEC!
DUMP ALEC! Tell ALEC Corporate Board members to stop undermining democracy and dump their ALEC membership before ALEC’s next meeting in New Orleans, August 3-6, 2011. By supporting ALEC, these companies are cozying up to the Koch Brothers and Big Tobacco while aiding and abetting a radical agenda to dismantle public education and social services, undermine clean air and water rules, gut consumer protections, and rig the voting system in favor of corporate elites. Click here to take action! Send a letter today to Bayer, Wal-Mart, Kraft, Coca-Cola, State Farm, Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, and more saying DUMP ALEC! Read this article on PR Watch
About ALEC Exposed
by Lisa Graves
The Center for Media and Democracy has obtained copies of more than 800 model bills approved by corporations through ALEC meetings, after one of the thousands of people with access shared them, and a whistleblower provided a copy to the Center. We have analyzed and marked-up those bills and made them available at ALEC Exposed. Read this article on PR Watch.
Health Insurers Sacrifice Americans for Profit
by Wendell Potter
Three of the biggest health insurers have announced quarterly earnings in the past few days. If Americans were able to eavesdrop on what executives from those firms tell their Wall Street masters every three months, they would have a better understanding of why premiums keep going up while the number of people with medical coverage keeps going down.
It only takes three words, when you get right down to it, to describe the real of those folks: profits over people. Read this article on PR Watch.