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ALEC (Who is ALEC?)

Last Updated:2013-Feb-25
Principal Writer:Rob Dennis

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Bill Moyers report: United States of ALEC

Watch this Bill Moyers report on how ALEC has become a dominant force in state governments...

Wisconsin - An example of how ALEC works

ALEC's eight national task forces - on issues ranging from education to taxes - draft policies for use across the country.

The organization doesn't operate in a vacuum, of course. It is but one strand of the intricate web of money, politics and influence that leaves ordinary Americans feeling voiceless.

Case in point: Wisconsin.

Koch Industries' political action committee donated $43,000 to Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker's 2010 campaign. Walker is a former ALEC member, as are 49 members of the Legislature, according to the Center for Media and Democracy.

David Koch personally contributed $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which spent nearly $3.5 million in TV ads and mailers (under the name Right Direction Wisconsin PAC) attacking Walker's opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Other ALEC members and conservative groups also poured money into Wisconsin. Of course, anti-Walker groups gave money as well - they just got outspent (Barrett raised $6.1 million to Walker's $11 million. Independent expenditures were lopsided as well: $3.5 million in ads against Barrett to $1.9 million against Walker).

Walker won with 52 percent of the vote.

Conservative donations also helped Republicans to take control of both houses. The leaders of the Senate and Assembly now were ALEC members (Democrats retook control of the Senate in 2012).

After Walker took office in 2011, he proposed a budget bill that among other things eliminated public employee collective-bargaining rights except for wages, drawing national attention. Portions of Walker's bill resembled ALEC's "Public Employer Payroll Deduction Policy Act," which prohibits automatic payroll deductions for union dues, and the "Public Employee Freedom Act," which says that mandatory collective bargaining rights violate employees' freedom to contract on their own terms. It also reflected the Koch brothers' anti-union views.

"Koch-backed groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation have long taken a very antagonistic view toward public-sector unions," wrote Andy Kroll of Mother Jones magazine. "Several of these groups have urged the eradication of these unions."

The bill was only the most visible sign of ALEC's influence. In all, the Wisconsin Legislature introduced 32 bills or budget provisions in 2011-12 that reflected ALEC model legislation, according to the Center for Media and Democracy.. Nineteen of them became law.

Note: ALEC disbanded a ninth task force, the Public Safety and Elections task force, because of the furor over its push for voter ID and stand-your-ground laws. The NRA was that task force's corporate co-chair in 2011, according to the Center for Media and Democracy.

Koch Industries campaign contributions in Wisconsin

We have collected campain contribution reports from Koch Industries showing their activity in the 2010 Wisconsin elections. We highlighted the relevant lines in the report for you. To view them, click here, here, here, and here.

NJ bills match ALEC bills

Some of the biggest legislation endorsed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie mirrors model legislation drafted by ALEC.

For more, read this New Jersey Star-Ledger report.

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