Archive for Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Corporations drop memberships in ALEC, which has strong ties to Kansas Legislature

April 11, 2012


— A handful of major corporations recently announced they have dropped their memberships in the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that promotes “model” legislation for conservative legislators and has strong ties to the Kansas Legislature.

The decision by Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Intuit, Kraft and McDonald’s to leave ALEC comes as ALEC has been under fire from civil rights and government watchdog groups for pushing voter ID laws and the so-called “stand your ground” law that has been cited in the controversial slaying of a Florida teenager. In addition, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has said it will not award any more grants to ALEC.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we will continue to educate the public about ALEC’s agenda, and highlight the influence of corporate money in our state laws and public policies,” said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, a citizens lobbying organization. The civil rights group ColorOfChange has also called on companies to separate from ALEC.

On Wednesday, Ron Scheberle, executive director of ALEC, struck back.

“Today, we find ourselves the focus of a well-funded, expertly coordinated intimidation campaign,” Scheberle said. “At a time when job creation, real solutions and improved dialogue among political leaders is needed most, ALEC’s mission has never been more important. This is why we are redoubling our commitment to these essential priorities.”

Common Cause said they weren’t surprised ALEC “would call the free exercise of democracy an ‘intimidation campaign.’”

ALEC describes its mission as advancing free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty. The group includes legislators and representatives of corporate interests that produce “model legislation.”

Last year, the Center for Media and Democracy released a report that described ALEC, which enjoys tax-exempt status as a nonprofit, as a public policy front for corporate interests, including Kansas-based Koch Industries, which helps fund ALEC.

In Kansas, a healthy contingent of legislators have been active in ALEC for years, going to its meetings, serving in leadership positions on its board and returning to Kansas with model legislation that they then start pushing through the legislative process.

Twenty-three Kansas legislators, all Republicans, attended the last annual ALEC meeting where they received information on defeating federal health reform, expanding charter schools and lowering business taxes. Shortly after the ALEC meeting in New Orleans last August, Gov. Sam Brownback rejected a $31.5 million federal grant, which he had earlier accepted, to establish a health insurance exchange system. The exchange is a key part of President Barack Obama’s health care proposal.

Another ALEC connection to Kansas lawmaking is Art Laffer, who serves on ALEC’s Board of Scholars. Laffer, an economist, was paid $75,000 by the Brownback administration as a consultant for Brownback’s proposed plan to phase out the state income tax and eliminate taxes for nearly 200,000 businesses. That proposal is currently being considered by the Legislature.


jayhawklawrence 6 years, 1 month ago

ALEC operates like a cult to the detriment of the american people. We have to wake up and realize what is going on.

kansanjayhawk 6 years ago

ALEC is no more a cult than move on . Org or NAACP or ACLU or any other liberal organization they just happen to be conservative.

Linda and Bill Houghton 6 years, 1 month ago

It is good to see that some major corporations are waking up to ALEC agenda. What we need locally is for the legislature to break loose from ALEC. Unfortunately, that is probably a tall order in the current political climate.

John Hamm 6 years, 1 month ago

We have to wake up and realize what the Democrats are doing to America.

gccs14r 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm sad that you find the 21st century frightening. Too bad you can't go back to the 19th where you'd be more comfortable, but don't try to re-create that time.

kansanjayhawk 6 years ago

Obama and the D's have really run up the debt.

tomatogrower 6 years, 1 month ago

Let's not forget the Democrats were in charge for a very long time when the US prospered big time. Let's see, who was in charge when the stock market crashed in the 30's? And in 2008? Hmm. I guess if you profit during the recessions, Democrats would be a bummer.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 1 month ago

Black Friday happened in October of 1929 under Hoover. His initial response to it was to cut taxes over and over again (just like today's Republicans want) with no effect. Recovery didn't really start happening until FDR took office and even then it was painful and slow. Both of my parents grew up during the Depression and I can guarantee you, people starved during that time. My dad was a "country dweller" and because they had land to do subsistence farming, keep a few free range chickens and could actually hunt for meat they were in slightly better shape than my mother's family, who were city dwellers. My mother told me that there were times the family actually subsisted on oatmeal, given to them by the government. Eggs were so precious that the only person allowed to have them was my grandfather and then only on Sunday morning.

tomatogrower 6 years, 1 month ago

Exactly. And every town had what was called a "poor house", but what we call "homeless shelter". Except our homeless shelters are cleaner, and there aren't families sleeping on the floor next to other families or roaches and rats. Thanks to the evil Democrats, we now have safety nets for those who are on hard times. Are those safety nets sometimes misused by lazy jerks? Yes, but those lazy jerks make a lot less money than the ambitious jerks, like Madoff. You know the ones who really support deregulation, so they can rip off more people.

And remember the stimulus money they had in the 30's. Those evil Democrats took those lazy poor people and paid them to build those auditoriums and libraries that were too sturdy, and how are the entrepreneurs suppose to be able to tear them down? I could rant some more about the horrible conditions under other Democratic presidents, but do I need too. Except there was that RINO, Eisenhower. He built that hiway system that should have been built by private companies. And who would want to go back to the horrible conditions of the '60's? I mean you didn't even have to get a college degree to get a good job. Unthinkable.

verity 6 years, 1 month ago

"And remember the stimulus money they had in the 30's. Those evil Democrats took those lazy poor people and paid them to build those auditoriums and libraries . . ."

Which is exactly what should have been done this time around. Would have given people jobs and helped rebuild our infrastructure---and probably helped the economy a lot more than bailing out companies without making them accountable.

tomatogrower 6 years, 1 month ago

I was being sarcastic. I'm in that kind of mood today.

verity 6 years, 1 month ago

I know you were being sarcastic, tomato---however, I wasn't. Obama's first priority should have been a jobs program.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 1 month ago

Infrastructure? We don't need no stinkin' infrastructure. And if we do let my private corporation campaign contributors get the contracts. It's not technically a kickback.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 1 month ago

A well-funded, expertly coordinated intimidation campaign?

That's not happening to ALEC... that is what ALEC is.

costello 6 years, 1 month ago

Yep. I'm not trying to intimidate anyone. I just don't agree with the political agenda being pushed by this group, and I don't want to provide any funding for it.

I'm looking to move both my home phone (AT&T) and my cell phone (Straight Talk/WalMart) to companies that don't belong to ALEC. Also shutting off my wireless Internet (Verizon) when the contract is up in June.

I'm also a (former) regular customer of Walgreens and Amazon.

verity 6 years, 1 month ago

Have you looked into CREDO for your cell phone service? I've had them for about three years and they provide very good service. Unfortunately, they don't have wireless internet.

optimist 6 years, 1 month ago

And I now do business with most of them. I'm pleased with the services they provide and while im not a fan of this type of organization whether it's left or right I don't disagree with their agenda items. Consider you're vote cancelled out. ;-)

Michael LoBurgio 6 years, 1 month ago

Through ALEC, Global Corporations Are Scheming to Rewrite YOUR Rights and Boost THEIR Revenue

Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations. In ALEC's own words, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU?

kansanjayhawk 6 years ago

Liberal groups do the exact same thing!

kansanjayhawk 6 years ago

Liberal groups do the exact same thing!

texburgh 6 years, 1 month ago

You forgot to report that Dave Trabert, President of the Kansas Policy Institute also serves as an ALEC advisor. And his hand-picked education "expert," Matthew Ladner, who spent a couple days as Dave's guest speaking to legislative committees about how to effectively dismantle public education, wrote the ALEC report card on education.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

The Koch bros. and other right-wing plutocrats will likely make up for any funding shortfall. They have too much to gain from ALEC's campaign to dismantle government, particularly anything to do with education and social welfare, because doing so will allow huge tax cuts for the wealthy. They also want the elimination of all regulations because they require them to limit pollution and maintain safe working conditions for their employees.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

+1 Biddness good; regulation and taxes bad.

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month ago

tomatogrower...did you pay attention in US History class in high school? remember Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover? remember speculating on the US stock market and Black Friday? remember Laissez Faire economic policy? remember Teapot Dome Scandal? the republicans must love how little their constituency knows of American History........maybe FOX didn't mention it..... The GOP loves amnesia....they forgot those three clowns and blame FDR....the forget bush and blame Obama.... half the story works right????

tomatogrower 6 years, 1 month ago

Tusch, I was being sarcastic. I'm in a very bad mood today. Democrats have done more for our country's prosperity than Republicans. I was hoping the conservatives on this forum would see that.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 1 month ago

Good luck with that, tomato. The old boys club on this board are only interested in how much of a buck they can make off the backs of the poor and middle class and out doing each other on who is the most conservative.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

Business people want to make money; that's good for all of us most of the time. They get nervous when they bed down with folks who want to dismantle more than just taxes and regulations and begin working on social issues. These can easily backfire on certain businesses if they get muddied up in the debate and it looks like they want to join in the discrimination. Good move by all the corporations who are starting to understand why ALEC isn't always helpful to their bottom line.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

Did merrill sleep in this morning? Usually he's on stuff like this like white on rice.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

Well, at least the wart on his butt made an appearance.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 1 month ago

Good thing I didn't have a mouth full of coffee...

kochmoney 6 years, 1 month ago

I see that you now salivate without a bell.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

Deep breaths, N.B. Once Mitt gets elected you can be his minister of information. It will be refreshing for once to have a White House who tells the "truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

dwendel 6 years, 1 month ago

You're so cute when you froth and rant. Please take a deep breath and try for some coherency and a few less epithets next time. And if you're trying to compare ALEC to a couple of unemployed black panther nut jobs doing something really stupid near a polling place, I don't think that's a very valid comparison -- sort of the equivalent of comparing George Soros to, say, a back-country unemployed right wing nut job who spends all day every day slobbering over the Faux screeching blondes and trolling a distant small town's rather insignificant community news site.

pace 6 years, 1 month ago

So Just math you are saying Alec stand for protecting the white race?

Corey Williams 6 years, 1 month ago

"...a couple of Klu Klux Klansmen had stood outside a Chigago inner-city polling station with billy clubs in hand?"

I don't think I'd pay money to see that, but it would prove to be very entertaining.

tomatogrower 6 years, 1 month ago

So making people buy health insurance is free stuff? I just don't get that. There are some who don't carry health insurance now, and make your rates go up when they use the hospitals for free, but you really hate a bill that requires these people to pay their way? You Tea Party people are just confusing, weird and confusing.

Allowing banks to loan money to people who have stars in their eyes, and want the big expensive house which they can't afford, instead of the little inexpensive house which they can is ok? I mean the banks sold the loan to some other sucker anyway, and they made a big, quick profit, right? So that's just capitalism, right? But believe me those loans were given to people who work, or, at least they did until their company moved overseas or downsized.

And did anyone say they wanted an education for free? No, we pay taxes for that. We save and take out student loans for that. All they want is for colleges to quit raising their tuitions beyond what they thought they were going to have to pay. They don't want to expect to pay $40,000 for their education, then find out its going to be double that, for no apparent good reason. I'm sorry you hate people who are trying to get an education and better themselves. Are you jealous?

optimist 6 years, 1 month ago

It shouldn't have any affect on everyone else's insurance rates. The vehicle that could have been used to encourage individuals to carry health insurance without violating their rights is in bankruptcy and consumer law. There are some things that bankruptcy can't erase such as taxes and often times debt to attorneys and I'm pretty certain student loan debt. Include medical debt, especially if the individual filing lacked health insurance at the time the expenses occurred. Making individuals responsible for their decisions makes more sense than forcing them to buy a product or service through force of law. I understand the purpose and I even like the idea in principle but there is simply no way that it is Constitutional. That should be our primary concern.

BigDog 6 years, 1 month ago

Let me see one politically leaning group Common Cause (liberal group funded by George Soros) going after ALEC (conservative group funded by Koch borthers)

I am sure you will get nothing but balanced information and facts from both sides in this situation ... sarcasm intended

Unfortunately voters buy the crap that they both sell without doing much research ... both rely on fear and emotion

Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

More on ALEC from the 4/12/12 morning news:

Amidst a movement to overturn "Stand Your Ground" gun laws after the Trayvon Martin shooting, we look at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate-funded group that worked with the National Rifle Association to pass the measures across the country.

On Wednesday, the fast-food giant Wendy’s became the sixth corporation to publicly cut ties with the secretive right-wing group for backing the laws.

Over the past week McDonald’s, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Intuit have all announced that they have decided to not renew their membership with ALEC.

We speak with Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, which runs "ALEC Exposed," a website that published more than 800 "model" bills and resolutions secretly voted on by corporations and politicians. "We’ve seen ALEC, which is really a corporate bill mill, push legislation on all sorts of issues to make it harder for Americans to get justice, to make it harder for Americans to vote, to make it harder for Americans to have their day in court if they or their loved one is killed or injured by a corporation, by corporate greed, by a bad drug, by a product," Graves says.

She notes many of the draft bills outline the privatization of Social Security, schools and prisons

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

You've only spammed two threads on this award-winning website with this drivel? You're slacking, merrill

Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

Koch money put Sam Brownback into D.C. politics and has yet to stop. It's like Sam Brownback is a Koch employee.

If my memory serves me well the Kansas group of D.C. politicians are also members of ALEC. Are they using tax dollars to attend or in any way fund ALEC? Interesting question.

Koch/ALEC offer up "scholarships" to fund believers attendance to their political functions so I heard this morning on the news.

kansanjayhawk 6 years ago

I think you are forgetting liberals like George Sorros etc. They do the same thing from the left.

kansanjayhawk 6 years ago

I think you are forgetting liberals like George Sorros etc. They do the same thing from the left.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

Publicopoly Exposed

How ALEC, the Koch brothers and their corporate allies plan to privatize government.

ALEC nuts and bolts

ALEC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that in recent years has reported about $6.5 million in annual revenue. ALEC’s members include corporations, trade associations, think tanks and nearly a third (about 2,000) of the nation’s state legislators (virtually all Republican). According to the group’s promotional material, ALEC’s mission is to “advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty, through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector, the federal government, and general public.”

ALEC currently claims more than 250 corporations and special interest groups as private sector members. While the organization refuses to make a complete list of these private members available to the public, some known members include:


  • Exxon Mobil
  • the Corrections Corporation of America
  • AT&T
  • Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
  • Time Warner Cable
  • Comcast
  • Verizon
  • Phillip Morris International
  • Koch Industries
  • along with a host of right-wing think tanks and foundations.

ALEC is composed of nine task forces–(1) Public Safety and Elections, (2) Civil Justice, (3) Education, (4) Energy, Environment and Agriculture, (5) Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development, (6) Telecommunications and Information Technology, (7) Health and Human Services, (8) Tax and Fiscal Policy and (9) International Relations–each comprised of “Public Sector” members (legislators) and “Private Sector” members (corporations and interest groups).

Each of these task forces, which serve as the core of ALEC’s operations, generate model legislation that is then passed on to member lawmakers for introduction in their home assemblies. According to ALEC promotional material, each year member lawmakers introduce an average of 1,000 of these pieces of legislation nationwide, 17 percent of which are enacted. For 2009, ALEC claimed a total of 826 pieces of introduced legislation nationwide, 115 of which were passed into law–slightly below the average at 14 percent. ALEC does not offer its model legislation for public inspection.

ALEC refused to comment on any aspect of the material covered here.

More and more:

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month ago

oh and your pathetic strawmen......acorn was set up by that southern grit gotcha guy who was busted trying to mess with Mary Landrieu's office in Louisiana....James O'Keefe. The scary part is that if you put a white hood on him he looks the part. I grew up in Louisiana and Mississippi so I've seen dumb firsthand. Changing the subject and inventing do conservatives get ahead in this world????? answer.....they scapegoat minorities and think liberal and thinking are they hate smart people.......

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 1 month ago

I grew up in Louisiana and Mississippi so I've seen dumb firsthand. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Thanks for bringing it with you to Kansas.

kansanjayhawk 6 years ago

The bottom line is that both liberal and conservative organizations do the exact. Same thing proposing model legislation. Liberals just don't like. The political position and effectiveness of this group.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Big money from Corp America and wealthy families is over throwing Democracy right before our very eyes. Facism is their preferred model.

kansanjayhawk 6 years ago

I'm concerned that many of the posts do not take into account that this is really nothing new. Proposing model legislation, criminal codes, and specific social legislation has been the forte of the liberal left for many years! Just because conservatives are now playing the same political game and attempting to change the direction of the State's and the nation should not be a surprise. Corporate America is not necessarily evil or fascist any more than it is left-wing extremist or socialistic or communist.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.