Wednesday, February 29, 2012

ALEC Private Sector Member Tries to Defend ALEC

(Unfortunately Google Blogs
won’t let me do more than a few  “quotes”
without totally screwing up the pageview
so the snips from the article are noted like this.)

When you are reviewing your tweets watch out for this one – he tweets to #Occupy as

This guy is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)  and the owner of Brownstone Communications out of Washington, DC – even though he says he is in Chicago.  The company has a typical ALEC like webpage that tells you nothing.

Today on @ALEC_states they applauded him for his great article on ALEC that was posted on Redstate webpage (at least I didn’t have to go on the virus infected Powerline webpage to get this).  Here’s what you should know about Redstate

Today, RedState is the most widely read right of center blog on Capitol Hill, is the most often cited right of center blog in the media, and is widely considered one of the most influential voices of the grassroots on the right.
The name of his blog entry is
The Truth About ALEC
And was published
Monday, February 27th at 6:01PM EST

And received
1 Comment
And had
ONE Recommenders

So let’s take a look at some of the lies he is spreading about ALEC with snips from his “diary”.

In recent months, ALEC has become a target of a sloppily-orchestrated, but well-funded effort by conspiracy theorists and anarchists (think “Occupy”) who care more about creating another dark, sinister boogeyman to scare you rather than honestly and seriously confront the challenges before us.
HONESTLY!  Seriously confronting the challenges before us?  What challenges the challenges of the private sector / corporate enterprise members that you represent?  And YES!  ALEC is a sinister boogeyman that does its business in secret!  For over 30 years ALEC has been writing legislation that is pro-business, unbeknownst to the American public.  And NO – the past year has proven that those of us who are here fighting ALEC are NOT “conspiracy theorists” – we are truth tellers about a sinister, secretive organization, known as ALEC that is trying to destroy representation of, by and for the people and change it to representation of, by and for corporations – an organization that is pushing fascism.

I’ve been intimately involved with ALEC for over fifteen years. I thought I’d share an honest perspective about ALEC and what it is and isn’t, rather than have you fall prey to the nonsense-chanting, drum-beaters in the tin foil hats.
Nuff said!  Except for the fact that – I take a bath daily, I have a job, I don’t wear a tin foil hat and I don’t beat on drums.
First, ALEC doesn’t exist in a vacuum. A number of legislative organizations similar to ALEC exist across the country. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), like ALEC, brings together legislators and policymakers from across the country who listen to and work with members of the private sector in an effort to promote public policy and learn about what’s worked — and what hasn’t worked — in their respective states.
ALEC is nothing like NCSL and he knows it!  If you review the comparison of the two organizations on ALEC Exposed  the major differences are:
  • NCSL is run by an Executive Committee made up of legislators only.
  • NCSL does not accept for-profit corporate members or donors.
  • NCSL is led by a fully bipartisan group of legislators through an "Executive Committee." Each year, the chair of NCSL's Executive Committee rotates between Republican and Democratic legislators.
Can’t say that for ALEC – which is funded by corporations, has legislation written with the help of corporations and has a “Private Sector Board” that meets to make decisions for ALEC.

Oh and by the way - you may want to take note of this:
More than 98% of ALEC's revenues come from sources other than legislative dues, such as corporations, corporate trade groups, and corporate foundations.

In addition to ALEC and NCSL, a wide range of other groups fulfill similar missions, such as the Council of State Governments (CSG), the State Legislative Leaders’ Foundation (SLLF), the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and others.
Not the way ALEC does – with ALEC’s pro-business agenda that is totally at the expense of the citizens of the United States.  ALEC cares about business - the other organizations he noted care about democracy and representation of, by, and for the people.

He then spends a whole paragraph praising the “states rights” focus of ALEC – while not mentioning once that their focus is pro-business in it’s focus.

Many of the recent attacks on ALEC seem to focus to a great extent on ALEC’s work to promote “model legislation” to be considered in states across the country as some sort of devious plot to avoid the legislative process in the states. Nothing could be further from the truth
Intentional misdirection of the topic by  this ALEC member. He then goes on to talk about ALEC’s “model legislation” (HAH!) and how it is comparative to the legislation penned by other organizations across the United States.  NOT ONCE does he mention that ALEC corporate representatives - aka lobbyists -  help write and vote on ALEC legislation before it is brought back to the states.  He completely glosses over the issue that our legislators sit with corporate lobbyists and write, review and vote on “pro-business” legislation that will be brought back to our states.  Pro-business legislation that hurts the US citizen and builds corporate profit.

I particularly like this snip, where he tries to compare NCSL and ALEC
First of all, both bring together legislators from across the country to discuss common problems they face in their states. Policymakers learn from legislative colleagues (and yes, regulated industries, academics and think tanks) how different approaches have worked, or have failed, in other states. Those policymakers benefit from the wisdom of those with greater experience and familiarity with issues than they may have themselves. And those who have confronted problems in their states are afforded the opportunity to share their wisdom and experience with others who benefit from it.
Well, well, well – NOW regulated industries are considered policymakers?  And let’s be clear that “regulated industries” are not the only corporations that sit at the table with our legislators at ALEC meetings and write, review, revise and vote on ALEC ”model legislation”.  ALEC “model legislation” that is pro-business in it’s entirety – unlike the legislation that comes out of NCSL.

I have served as a state private sector chairman for ALEC and I’ve previously served over ten years on both ALEC’s “Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development” and “Tax & Fiscal Policy” task forces. I’ve worked to support model resolutions for consideration, given presentations to task forces and been involved in the shaping of policy.
Would someone please tell me why he is shaping policy that affects Minnesota and Wisconsin.  I DID NOT elect him to my state legislature.  He should keep his nose out of the business of the states..

While it might be difficult for an Australian expert on public/private transportation partnerships to visit all fifty states and share Australia’s experience with the issue, that expert can visit ALEC or NCSL and be heard by legislators from around the entire country.
Here he specifically notes ALEC’s worldwide reach!  And as to the rest of this paragraph – I would like to know who paid for this Australian expert to come into the Untied States and address legislators AND what ALEC company he/she works for and what “ALEC model legislation” were they trying to get passed with this international expert.

Much of the criticism you may have seen or will continue to see about ALEC seems to be centered around the fact that the private sector is involved in ALEC and the ALEC process. Frankly, this as a strength of ALEC, rather than a detriment. And as much as the critics would have you believe that the private sector speaks to these issues from a unified voice, nothing could be further from the truth.
A strength – really ????? Having corporate lobbyists write pro-business legislation that is then introduced at our stat houses is a strength?  Unless you are a fascist – I do not believe that you would say something like this.  Lobbyists (unfortunately for us) have a place in the process – but most Americans would agree that place DOES NOT INCLUDE writing legislation at ALEC meetings.

While industry can be unified on an issue, they are just as likely to be divided on issues.
Who the hell cares – industry was NOT elected by the people of the United States of America.  This is a non-issue.  I don't give a damn if industry lobbyists arre divided on issues while they are at ALEC meetings - writing, revising and voting on ALEC "model legislation".  The key point is that business should not be writing legislation and giving it to ALEC members to take back to the states to implement.  The people of the United States ARE NOT divided on that issue.

The end result? Those legislators who serve on that ALEC task forces are vastly better informed than they otherwise would be.
Better informed in the way that business wants the US run – and, by the way they are probably better paid too than the legislators who don’t belong to a corporatist organization.

And despite the nonsense you may hear from ALEC critics, if these task forces reach consensus and agree on “model legislation” or a “resolution” or “statement of principles” related to a policy challenge, does the legislation get any special treatment if they choose to introduce it in their states? Nope.
Prove it – I want to see the flow of money between ALEC corporate sector members and ALEC legislators.  I want ALEC members to get off the payroll of the state for ALEC expenses – when we know in fact that AELC reimburses legislators directly for expenses they incur at ALEC meetings – and then the legislators bills the state also. 

And I can tell you that those who choose that path and are willing to give up significant portions of their time and put effort in becoming more engaged and informed by involvement with groups like ALEC are among the best elected representatives this country has to offer.
And many of us would disagree with you on that fact – but then again he is  speaking for the private sector – and he is  not and never has been an “elected” official.  He is an ALEC private sector / corporate enterprise member.  There is a big difference - huge difference.  But the passion in this snip shows how ALEC private sector / corporate enterprise members actually think they are part of the legislative process.

So when you see the well-funded and coordinated attacks against ALEC that you are likely to see in the coming months, please recognize them for what they are — a misleading, unfair, inaccurate political attacks and nothing more.
Well funded attacks???? – that’s a crock of shit and a lie, and he knows it.  All of us are activists with NO corporate money propping us up – like ALEC has.  We don’t have $365,075 coming to us from PhRMA to fight our ALEC battle – but ALEC has $365,075 and much, much more coming into their coffers to fight the people of the United States.

a misleading, unfair, inaccurate political attacks and nothing more.
That’s exactly what I think of his diary. 
Another pro-corporate private sector member trying to make sure that their precious ALEC gets some press that isn’t all negative – which it should always be – ALEC press should always be negative.

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