ALEC's Grip on Ohio's Legislature Puts Corporations Above People

New Report Documents Influence of American Legislative Exchange Council in Columbus

COLUMBUS, OH - A new report released today by People For the American Way Foundation, Common Cause, the Center for Media and Democracy and Progress Ohio reveals the deep ties between the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Ohio’s legislature. Through a side-by-side comparison of ALEC legislative models and actual Ohio bills, the report shows how Ohio’s legislators are working in tandem with corporate leaders to deregulate key industries, privatize education and dismantle unions.

The report, ALEC in Ohio: The Corporate Special Interests that Help Write Ohio’s Laws, is available here.

"It's appalling to find out just how large a role corporate special interests play in writing Ohio's laws,” said Brian Rothenberg, Executive Director of ProgressOhio. “ALEC and their Ohio legislators are well aware how outraged the public would be, which is why the entire operation is cloaked in secrecy.”

“A bill to require a picture ID to vote was nothing more than a solution in search of a problem,” said Pat Clifford, an organizer for Common Cause in Ohio.  “We knew immediately that the effort did not originate in Ohio, and that ALEC was pushing it from behind the scenes.”

“Under a shroud of secrecy, ALEC provides wealthy corporations a voice and a vote at our lawmakers’ table,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President at People For the American Way Foundation. “These special interests are drowning out the voices of the citizens of Ohio and Americans across the country. As a result, ordinary people are suffering from policies that transfer the public’s resources into a few private hands and leave American citizens in the dust.”

“Ohio is led by ALEC alum John Kasich, who has long advanced the agenda of ALEC corporations to the detriment of American citizens during his time in Congress and now in the statehouse in the Buckeye state,” said Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy. “We applaud the work of Progress Ohio and the other citizen groups that have worked to expose the way Ohio’s laws are being distorted to aid the global corporations that back ALEC, including efforts to push a privatization agenda that takes funding for public services and buildings made possible by hardworking taxpayers and converts these public assets into profit streams for some of the richest corporations in the world.  Ohioans rebuked Kasich for advancing the ALEC corporation agenda last year, and we expect his extremist agenda will be rebuked yet again.”

The report demonstrates ALEC’s policymaking influence with an in-depth analysis of the organization’s ties to key Ohio lawmakers, as well as a side-by-side comparison of nine ALEC “model” bills and actual Ohio legislation, including:

  • Attacks on workers by severely limiting collective bargaining, eliminating public employment through outsourcing and privatizing government functions;
  • Diminishing public education through private school voucher programs and private scholarship tax credits;
  • Encouraging the privatization of state prisons to benefit the private prison industry;
  • Voter suppression bills designed to disenfranchise thousands of eligible Americans;
  • Draconian anti-immigrant measures that criminalize undocumented workers and penalize their employers;
  • Creation of barriers for consumers and injured parties in seeking justice from corporations in a court of law;
  • Measures to prevent implementation of health care reform.

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