by Clyde Weiss | July 16, 2011
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is one the most powerful tools in corporate America’s anti-worker arsenal. A secretive organization with a membership of nearly 2,000 state legislators and 300 corporations, ALEC writes “model legislation” that right-wing lawmakers can (and often do) introduce under their own names. The influence of ALEC’s big business sponsors is never willingly disclosed.
That’s why a new report in The Nation is so fascinating. Aliya Rahman, an Ohio-based activist who helped organize protests at ALEC’s Spring Task Force meeting in Cincinnati earlier this year, leaked more than 800 of ALEC’s model bills to The Nation. The magazine, in partnership with the Center for Media and Democracy, had policy experts analyze those documents.
What we get is what The Nation calls “an inside view of the priorities of ALEC’s corporate board and billionaire benefactors (including tea party funders Charles and David Koch).”
The magazine examined ALEC’s efforts to undermine health care reform and rig elections. The full archive of ALEC documents is available here. For more coverage of the disclosures, check out these stories in The Los Angeles Times, Salon.com, Daily Kos and AlterNet.org.
AFSCME members already are familiar with ALEC and the Koch brothers. In the current issue of AFSCME WORKS magazine, we describe ALEC’s efforts to push the right-wing agenda in statehouses across America, and also list several other corporate-funded think tanks, political action committees (PACs) and advocacy groups that contribute to this echo chamber of anti-worker ideology.
AFSCME WORKS also has examined how the Koch brothers are funding the tea party movement by creating and supporting a number of right-wing organizations, including the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, the Federalist Society and Americans for Prosperity.
AFSCME WORKS also has looked into the Michigan-based Mackinac Center, the nation's largest state-based conservative “think tank.” AFSCME will continue to expose the workings of similar anti-worker groups in coming months.