EAG’s Ben Velderman recently posted a defense of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), blaming “government school apologists” and “other leftists” for crediting ALEC for the national rash of anti-union and anti-public school legislation. Velderman uses “private sector leaders” to describe the over 300 major corporate lobbyists who, together with conservative think tank staffers, write legislation that is introduced in state legislatures over 1,000 times every year. Legislation that is written by and designed to benefit its corporate sponsors.
ALEC produces model bills written to improve profits in a long list of markets. The bills:
Weaken environmental regulations and deny climate change;
Support school privatization;
Undercut health care reform;
De-fund unions and limit their political influence;
Restrain legislatures’ abilities to raise revenue through taxes;
Increase incarceration to benefit the private prison industry;
ALEC came into the national spotlight when a Stand Your Ground law, written by the NRA and sold to Florida legislators by ALEC, resulted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
ALEC was established in 1973 after the success of the Heritage Foundation and its impact on national policy making. Among those who were involved with ALEC in its formative years were Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin, John Engler of Michigan, Terry Branstad of Iowa, and John Kasich of Ohio.
In fact, the Michigan Right to Work bill is taken from the ALEC model. That model language was written by Michigan’s Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank located in Midland, Michigan.
Velderman assures us all that there’s nothing wrong with this: “If an individual lawmaker chooses to introduce one of ALEC’s “model” bills in the state legislature, the bill still has to go through the entire legislative process – just like any piece of legislation – where it is subjected to numerous votes and revisions.”
Writing from Muskegon, Michigan, Velderman no doubt was paying attention when none of this happened in December 2012, when the Mackinac Center/ALEC Right to Work law was enacted in 5 days without a single public hearing or committee vote.