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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

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

April 11, 2012

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— 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.

Comments

kansanjayhawk 1 year, 12 months 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.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 12 months ago

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

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kansanjayhawk 1 year, 12 months 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.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years ago

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

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Mike Ford 2 years ago

oh math.....you 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 facts....how do conservatives get ahead in this world????? answer.....they scapegoat minorities and think liberal and thinking are slurs.....man they hate smart people.......

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Richard Heckler 2 years 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:

Wal-Mart

  • 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: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/11603/publicopoly_exposed/

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Richard Heckler 2 years 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.

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Richard Heckler 2 years 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

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/4/12/outrage_over_stand_your_ground_laws

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BigDog 2 years 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

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weiser 2 years ago

I'm sick of working. Tax everybody and give me free stuff. Health Care, college, house, food I want it all for free. I don't care about my grandchildren, they never call me anyway. They can deal with it!

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its_just_math 2 years ago

Wonder what Eric "Fast & Furious" Holder would've done if a couple of Klu Klux Klansmen had stood outside a Chigago inner-city polling station with billy clubs in hand? Oh my goodness gracious, the scenarios in my mind are making me feel faint! Not to mention how outfits like "The Center for Media and Democracy" and every major lamestream liberal Obamamania corrupt media outlet and website would have went into hysterical freakout hyper overdrive mode. But notsamuch when a couple New Black Panthers stood outside a predominantly white polling station, billy clubs in hand......nah, no big on that one.

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Milton Bland 2 years ago

There is no voter fraud, just ask Eric Holder. It is not wrong to vote using his name, as long as you vote Democrat.

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its_just_math 2 years ago

"Center for Media and Democracy"

...now there's an insidious combination of words.

Hey far-left zealots, ya' still got George Soros. Now will you stop your whining?

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Flap Doodle 2 years ago

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

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Paul R Getto 2 years 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.

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Mike Ford 2 years 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????

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years 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.

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texburgh 2 years 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.

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Michael LoBurgio 2 years 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?

http://alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

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Bob_Keeshan 2 years ago

A well-funded, expertly coordinated intimidation campaign?

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

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thuja 2 years ago

Who are we except we? And if we are we, who are they?

Yes, someone needs to wake up.

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OonlyBonly 2 years ago

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

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Linda and Bill Houghton 2 years 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.

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jayhawklawrence 2 years ago

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

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