The Center for Media and Democracy recently put on line over 800 pieces of “model legislation” from an organization known as ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. The Rochester Citizen was in Madison when the story broke and the ALEC Exposed web site live.
The Center for Media and Democracy is located in Madison, Wisconsin and we had a chance to sit down with its Executive Director, Lisa Graves and talk about the disclosure of over 800 pieces of model legislation and the implications for America and ALEC.
How ALEC Interferes With The Constitutional Legislative Process
First we asked Ms. Graves to explain how ALEC is interfering in the normal legislative process in the country and in state legislatures.
“ALEC describes itself as one of the largest, if not the largest group of state legislators in the country. They are a group of legislators, but they are also a group of corporations who have extraordinary influence with and over those legislators. ALEC’s literature talks about the unique synergistic partnership of business and politicians and it talks about in its promotional materials it talks about working in unison with business as equal partners at the table with legislators and that may sound like just maybe business as usual in the lobbying world, but it’s not, because what ALEC does, ALEC’s perhaps unique function in some ways, is to have politicians on its task forces vote behind closed doors on model legislation, what they call model legislation, what I call wish lists legislation.
They have politicians vote behind closed doors along with corporations that are members of those task forces voting behind closed doors to pre-approve legislation that is then introduced all across the country cleansed of any reference of the fact that it came from ALEC, cleansed of any reference to the fact that it was voted on, pre-voted on by corporations and legislators in these ALEC task forces and then approved by ALEC’s board, its legislator board and what you have is, in a nutshell, an extraordinary circumstance in which politicians and corporations are voting on bills to take away your rights, to change your rights in every single area of the law, to adopt policies to outsource American jobs, to undermine the middle class and working class and the American dream by an extreme policy that basically tries to protect windfall profits of oil companies, tries to protect the wealthiest among us from having to pay their fair share of taxes in our society and they do it through a non-profit organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC.