When state legislatures around the country passed virtually identical bills to deregulate specific industries, dismantle unions or award massive tax cuts to corporations, one might wonder if such pro-special interest, pro-corporate legislation originates organically from the people’s elected representatives. Today, People For the American Way Foundation released its latest Right Wing Watch: In Focus report on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the quietly influential organization behind pro-corporate laws in states throughout the country. By connecting powerful industry lobbyists with elected officials, ALEC works behind the scenes to mold state laws in the interest of big corporations – usually completely under the radar of voters. The report, ALEC: The Voice of Corporate Special Interests in State Legislatures, is available here.
“ALEC facilitates the agendas of special interests by providing direct access to legislators around the country—a level of access ordinary citizens could never achieve,” said Michael Keegan, president of People For the American Way Foundation. “Wealthy corporations are taking advantage of their ability to spend vast amounts of money with little oversight or disclosure to influence policy. ALEC’s influence comes at the expense of the American people, who simply will never match the financial resources of giant corporations.”
The report explores how ALEC quietly and effectively advances a pro-corporate agenda in the states:
- Undercutting Health Care Reform
ALEC’s healthcare task force is comprised of pharmaceutical executives and advocates for the privatization of Medicare and SCHIP.
- Corporate Power and Workers’ Rights
ALEC’s model legislation pushes union busting laws and large-scale deregulation.
- Tax Policy
ALEC fights for “super majority” laws that make it nearly impossible to make the tax code fairer, as well as massive tax cuts for the wealthy.
- Private School Vouchers
ALEC attacks public education by bolstering risky, wasteful and ineffective private school voucher programs.
- Voter ID and Election Laws
ALEC attempts to maintain corporate clout in government by making it harder for young and low-income Americans to exercise their right to vote.
- Obstructing Environmental Protection
ALEC uses energy industry dollars to fight climate change policies and regulations on polluters and promote climate-change denial.
You can read the report here.