If you're not familiar with ALEC, here's the high-level overview. ALEC is the acronym for American Legislative Exchange Council, a secret right-wing consortium created to write boilerplate legislation for states to use to advance the right-wing agenda. Some of ALEC's handiwork can be seen in Ohio, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Florida, to name a few.The "secret" isn't the website but who's writing this legislation for the right wing legislators to use. Here's what ALEC has to say about it's legislation:
ALEC has a new game called Publicopoly. Some of the "properties" include government operations, health, environment, telecommunications, infrastructure, education and public safety. But of course, it's not such a new game after all. The object of the game is to privatize everything. To that end, they have aggregated the reports of think tanks like the Mackinac Center, the Reason Foundation, the Platte Institute, and the Heartland Institute. [Emphasis added.]
One of the most important resources ALEC provides to its members is model legislation. Through the combined effort and unique partnership of public and private sector members, model legislation is drafted, deliberated and approved by one of ALEC's nine Task Forces. These bills provide a valuable framework for developing effective policy ideas aimed at protecting and expanding our free society.And guess, JUST GUESS who's got all this started? According to the mediamatters transparency project, the Richard Mellon Scaife controlled Allegheny Foundation has given $1.7 to ALEC over the years.
While ALEC provides the resources, our members, long known for their legislative activism, introduced hundreds of bills based on ALEC model legislation. During the latest legislative cycle, dozens of ALEC model bills were enacted into law.
That's even more than the $1.25 million Exxon gave to ALEC.
Of all the foundation donations, Allegheny Foundation is the biggest.
And these numbers may be low. In 1999 the Washington Post published:
Another form of proselytizing is conducted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich. ALEC's members are predominantly conservative state legislators. The organization provides training, information and draft legislation to make them more effective. Of the country's 6,500 state legislators, 3,000 belong to ALEC, including dozens of leaders of state legislatures and senates. Twelve sitting governors are ALEC graduates, as are 77 members of Congress. The group's first president was a then-member of the Illinois House named Henry Hyde.The "insignificant" support of between $15K and $75K per year has continued since then.
ALEC makes a mark with its model legislation. The last time it counted (1995-96), 132 ALEC bills were enacted in various states, from charter school legislation to pro-business bills on environmental and regulatory topics. Many states used its version of welfare reform legislation.
ALEC is unabashedly pro-business. Its expert task forces, which write the model legislation, are composed of legislators and business representatives. About two-thirds of ALEC's $6 million budget comes from corporate contributions.
Scaife has given ALEC more than $2 million since 1975, keeping the group alive in its early years. Now his donations ($75,000 last year) are an insignificant part of its budget.
I wonder how much ALEC legislation has oozed into Harrisburg? I wonder how much commentary Scaife's braintrust has written about it? I wonder if ANYONE knew that without Scaife's millions, ALEC probably wouldn't be the organization it is today.