Watchdogs shed more light on ALEC as it prepares for DC meeting

With hundreds of state legislators arriving in Washington for this week’s annual policy summit of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Common Cause and the Center for Media and Democracy have compiled a new series of reports and records on how ALEC’s corporate backers are driving public policy for private gain.

The new material includes ALEC’s most recent tax return – IRS Form 990 from 2011 – which reports that ALEC spent nearly $5 million on closed-to-the-public conferences with state legislators (like this week’s meeting in DC) and “task forces” geared to advancing its corporate-drafted “model” bills.

Also released was a collection of more than 1,100 pages of new ALEC task force documents, which demonstrate how ALEC’s corporate members develop and drive its legislative agenda and work with legislators to secure passage of ALEC-backed bills. Common Cause already has provided more than 4,000 pages of similar documents to the Internal Revenue Service in support of our claim that ALEC is a lobby masquerading as a charity. Common Cause is pressing a tax “whistleblower” complaint with the IRS seeking to revoke ALEC’s tax exemption.

More than 40 companies, among them some of the biggest names in American business, have left ALEC in recent months amid publicity about its involvement in drafting and pushing for enactment of state laws restricting voting rights, weakening clean air and clean water regulations, undermining public schools, privatizing prisons and endangering public safety.

For more information, read our advisory to reporters on this week’s ALEC meeting.

 

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