What is ALEC? It is the fountain from which flows nearly every rightwing legislative act aimed at increasing corporate power and disempowering and disenfranchising working people. In a nutshell, ALEC is a national right-wing group that writes "model" legislation for its members. Who are its members? Republican state legislators and private organizations (think ExxonMobil).
Ever get the feeling that the rash of anti-union legislation sweeping over several states is coordinated? That is because, as outlined in this NYT article, it is - coordinated, in fact, by ALEC:
A group composed of Republican state lawmakers and corporate executives, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is quietly spreading these proposals from state to state, sending e-mails about the latest efforts as well as suggested legislative language.
NPR also has an excellent article on ALEC. Quite a coincidence that NPR's funding is now on the chopping block, dontcha think?The NPR article explains how it all comes together:
Only 28 people work in ALEC's dark, quiet headquarters in Washington, D.C. And Michael Bowman, senior director of policy, explains that the little-known organization's staff is not the ones writing the bills. The real authors are the group's members — a mix of state legislators and some of the biggest corporations in the country.
"Most of the bills are written by outside sources and companies, attorneys, [and legislative] counsels," Bowman says.
Here's how it works: ALEC is a membership organization. State legislators pay $50 a year to belong. Private corporations can join, too. The tobacco company Reynolds American Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp. and drug-maker Pfizer Inc. are among the members. They pay tens of thousands of dollars a year. Tax records show that corporations collectively pay as much as $6 million a year.This, my friends, is why our 'democracy' has become a sham. You and I have absolutely no power to change it. We are not part of the process. The process is money, and we ain't got none. Read it all.
With that money, the 28 people in the ALEC offices throw three annual conferences. The companies get to sit around a table and write "model bills" with the state legislators, who then take them home to their states.