ALEC, The American Legislative Exchange Council (originally the “Conservative Caucus of State Legislators”) was created in 1973. Its goals were to counter the Environmental Protection Agency, Unions, and government price controls. ALEC members include conservative corporations, and conservative state and federal legislators.
According to its website, ALEC “works to advance the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism at the state level through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public”
ALEC members include over 300 corporations, about ¼ of state legislators, and many members of congress, as well as a few Republican presidential candidates.
ALEC meets in secret, no cameras or recordings allowed, twice a year to discuss and draft legislation that would increase corporate profits, and advance the conservative agenda. Even though millions of dollars a year are funneled from ALEC member corporations to ALEC member politicians, it is listed as a non-profit organization.
Over the years ALEC has expanded its goals. It now also drafts legislation that reduces taxes on corporations and the rich, and advances pro-corporate legislation. Beyond legislation it rates ALEC friendly Judges, and is now working to influence America’s young people with a high school graduation requirement that promotes its views (Founding Philosophy and Principles Act),
ALEC has nine “task forces” that are responsible for drafting bills: 1) Civil Justice; 2) Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development; 3) Communications and Technology; 4) Education; 5) Energy, Environment, and Agriculture; 6) Health and Human Services; 7) International Relations; 8) Justice Performance Project; and 9) Tax and Fiscal Policy. Public- and private-sector members make up each of the task forces—the public-sector members are state legislators and the private-sector members typically are corporate lobbyists or think-tank representatives. These task forces generate model bills that members can then customize and introduce for debate in their own state legislatures. Private sector members effectively have veto power over model bills drafted by the task forces.
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy’s ALEC Exposed, and check out breaking news on PE Warch.