Advertisement

LJWorld.com weblogs Statehouse Live

Brownback says perception of ALEC influence is 'overblown'

Advertisement

Topeka — The presence of the American Legislative Exchange Council agenda in the Kansas Legislature can't be denied, but Gov. Sam Brownback thinks the perception of ALEC's influence is "overblown."

"They do model legislation, they have meetings, but there are probably hundreds of groups that do model legislation and hold meetings. I think it gets overblown a lot," Brownback said during an interview Monday with the Lawrence Journal-World.

ALEC describes itself as a group that promotes free markets, limited government, federalism and individual freedom. But its critics say it is a front for corporate interests that push legislation in Statehouses across the nation.

Both Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, and House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, have held high-ranking positions with ALEC over the years.

Approximately 50 Kansas legislators, all Republicans, are members of the group.

In recent years, the Republican-dominated Legislature and Brownback have approved numerous ALEC-developed bills.

Brownback's personal and business income tax cuts are modeled after ALEC policies. In 2011, Brownback wrote a foreword to ALEC’s annual report, “Rich States, Poor States,” which is written by economist Art Laffer, whom Brownback hired as a $75,000 consultant on Kansas’ tax-cutting plan.

Brownback also signed into law the ALEC-inspired Health Care Freedom Act, which was designed as an impediment to federal health reform.

In recent years, ALEC has come under increased criticism and has been losing corporate members after civil rights and government watchdog groups complained about ALEC's push for voter ID and so-called "stand your ground" laws.

Comments

Bob Smith 7 months, 1 week ago

The role of ALEC in the Permian Extinction has never been fully investigated.

0

Lane Signal 7 months, 1 week ago

You would think Brownie would at least be smart enough to keep quiet about ALEC. Denying something so obvious just draws attention to it. Perhaps Brownie's intention is to draw attention to his ALEC affiliation, but that's pretty stupid. Most ALEC affiliated donors are self unconscious enough to want to avoid a spot light on their activities. They know any light on their real agenda will be unflattering light. But Brownie seems too stupid realize this.

7

Bart Johnson 7 months, 1 week ago

How does such a group become so influential?

0

Lane Signal 7 months, 1 week ago

ALEC is so influential because it is aligned so strongly with corporate and private donors who craft and drive it's agenda. ALEC is a means for the wealthy and big corporations to band together and fund candidates who support a common agenda. That common agenda is concerned with 2 primary goals: government policy that financially rewards the wealthy (corporate and private) and policy that favors the election of those willing to favor the wealthy. Republican politicians know 2 things about ALEC: If a politician supports the ALEC agenda they will find significant funding. If a politician does not support the ALEC agenda, their competition (for Republicans, often within their own party) will get that funding.

7

Bart Johnson 7 months, 1 week ago

Bribes, however, are illegal. You cannot enforce a bribe in court, and in fact you will go to jail. The media would have a field day if they could dig up proof of a bribe. Without a government court to enforce such an agreement, and with the threat of prosecution for making such an agreement, how are they enforced? Why would anyone pay so much money for a "contract" that is dangerous and unenforceable?

0

David Reber 7 months, 1 week ago

The headline should read "ALEC tells Brownback to say perception of ALEC influence is overblown."

12

Richard Heckler 7 months, 1 week ago

ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. United States of ALEC – Bill Moyers http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/27/the_united_states_of_alec_bill

Unfortunately ALEC and a large majority of the republican party got married to the idea that working class blue and white collars make too much money. Talk about living in glass houses. Right to Work means lower wages.

ALEC and Repubs Busting unions is about YOU working for less money Union or NOT = monster corporate profits!!.

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?

ALEC – The Voice of Corporate Special Interests in State Legislatures http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/alec-the-voice-of-corporate-special-interests-state-legislatures

ALEC EXPOSED – The Koch Connection http://www.thenation.com/article/161973/alec-exposed-koch-connection

ALEC – Ghostwriting The Law for Corporate America http://www.justice.org/cps/rde/xchg/justice/hs.xsl/15044.htm

ALEC EXPOSED http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

ALEC Private Schools - Corporate Education Reformers Plot Next Steps at Secretive Meeting http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/02-9

6

Richard Heckler 7 months, 1 week ago

Arthur Laffer works for Sam Brownback. The consensus? Laffer seems to have forgotten, or ignored, some pretty basic concepts in economics. In other words, Laffer is getting laughed off the economic stage. Hmmmmmm food for thought I'd say.

Economist Arthur Laffer, patron saint of tax cuts, is back, with an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that he hopes will put the kibosh on future plans for government stimulus.

Laffer, who had his heyday back in the Reagan years, is best known as the popularizer of the notion that raising tax rates beyond a certain level can actually reduce tax revenues by, among other things, discouraging entrepreneurship.

The graphic representation of this idea, though not original to Laffer, came to be known as the Laffer Curve.

While he’s always had detractors, Laffer also had a lot of fervent fans back in the day.

But his latest excursion into the public debate has drawn harsh criticism not only from liberal economists like Berkeley’s Brad DeLong but also from stimulus-hating, anti-Keynesian economists you might expect to agree with the Laffer line.

The consensus? Laffer seems to have forgotten, or ignored, some pretty basic concepts in economics. In other words, Laffer is getting laughed off the economic stage.

Read more: http://business.time.com/2012/08/09/arthur-laffers-anti-stimulus-curve-ball-is-a-foul/#ixzz2OG2JKGYS

5

Richard Heckler 7 months, 1 week ago

I doubt corporate money supporters of ALEC have fully left the organization. They just don't want their names readily available to the public. My bet - the corporate $$$$$$ are still flowing into the ALEC cookie jars somehow.

Also considering tax paid members meet in secret how does ALEC skirt the Open Meetings Act?

5

Devin Wilson 7 months, 1 week ago

Good to know how our Governor feels about ALEC. Sorry, I disagree with his perspective. I understand ALEC meetings seem to be contentious, but an attempt at transparency would go a long ways. If people like what they see being discussed in ALEC meetings, they can make informed decisions on retaining their representatives, and supporting corporations who fund ALEC. Let the people have the knowledge and power to make informed decisions.

4

Larry Sturm 7 months, 1 week ago

If ALEC is so good why do they not let the news media in to their meetings and also have their meetings off shore, also why are their only republicans that belong to it. Tax payers should not be subsidizing congress members to go to these meetings.
BROWNBACK IS BAD FOR KANSAS.

7

Grégoire Guillaume 7 months, 1 week ago

ALEC is the bellwether of what's wrong with Kansas and the nation. There mission is to create an environment that deifies the rich, gives away the farm to them in order to create an under class that will fight among themselves and be willing to work for peanuts. It's disgusting that those we elected to represent us are saboteurs working laboriously to strip us of what's left of the "public good" sentiment to provide welfare, yes welfare for corporations.

7

Cait McKnelly 7 months, 1 week ago

Sorry, Sam, this is one instance when "plausible deniability" just isn't going to work.

6

Commenting has been disabled for this item.