Today, a group of concerned Americans held a press conference outside of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)’s summer meeting in New Orleans. The citizens expressed their concern about legislation that ALEC, working with their powerful corporate allies, has helped to push in state legislatures around the country. The New Orleans conference is one of several each year at which ALEC works directly with state lawmakers to advance pro-corporate special interests, through laws deregulating specific industries, dismantling unions and awarding massive tax cuts to big businesses. ALEC works behind the scenes to ensure that nearly identical “model bills” are taken up in legislatures around the country.
“Today we saw examples of the real harm that huge corporations, when given the keys to the statehouse with help from the American Legislative Exchange Council, can cause for our families and in our communities,” said Marge Baker, executive vice president at People For the American Way Foundation. “ALEC provides a direct link from wealthy special interests to the people’s elected representatives. Those special interests game the system and reap huge profits while working families lose vital programs, public education suffers and our health, safety and the environment is jeopardized. Even our means of democratic recourse is at risk: with the help of ALEC’s Voter-ID laws, the voting booth is being slammed shut on many American citizens as pro-corporate legislators cynically try to preserve their own power.
“Fortunately, the American people are not going to stand for government by the highest bidder. We will continue to fight against the unfair and disproportionate influence of wealthy special interests until our elected officials truly advocate for the needs of the people they represent.”