Saturday, June 2, 2012

The ALEC - ABC Tangled Web

Earlier today I was reading about the political scandal involving ALEC ALUM John Kasich - which involves all kinds of drama and intrigue including an FBI investigation and I read this little snip:
“Had I agreed to withdraw as a candidate, they told me I would be designated as the ‘Governor’s Guy’ in Portage County and that I would be given influence in who Gov. Kasich appoints to Kent State University boards and other state government appointments as they come open,” Manning's statement, provided to the Columbus Dispatch, said.

On May 17, Manning's attorney confirmed that FBI agents were in fact looking into his allegations, had interviewed Manning, and that he would have no further comment until the conclusion of the investigation.

But Manning isn't the only one accusing Kasich of shady dealings. Maggie Cook, who worked as membership director for the Associated Builders and Contractors, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that she was fired from her job after refusing to get out of a similar central committee race. Like Manning, Cook was a supporter of DeWine. She was cagey, and wouldn't say directly that she thought Kasich's people had pushed for her firing, but she did tell them, "I don't really know what to think because they brought a new president on, but I was in sales and it was really easy to see if you were doing your job well or not. I was making all my targets. I had sales metrics, monthly and quarterly goals, and I had met all of my metrics for the year.”

I found that last paragraph interesting earlier today - why would they can a sales person at a company who refused to get out of a political race.  But then, I was threatened once with firing because I actively supported John Kerry - so I could kinda understand this.  (Political afffiliations are not protected under any law.)

There was an update to this story posted on Saturday June 2

There were still others who entered the fray:  Maggie Cook, of Warren County, told the Plain Dealer that her job with Associated Builders and Contractors, was threatened if she didn't withdraw from the central committee race in which the governor put up his own slate. She refused to resign from the committee.  She was later fired.

Pause to catch your breath while I report that Bryan Williams, former director of the Summit County Board of Elections,  is a lobbyist for said Associated Builders and Contractors and a likely suspect in trying to influence Cook.

And Mr. Williams has a greater place in the hearts of America
A group seeking to bring a November statewide vote to make Ohio a “right-to-work” state got the OK to circulate its petition yesterday. The final green light came from the Ohio Ballot Board, which ruled that the proposed constitutional amendment is a single issue. … The coalition behind the Ohio ballot measure includes Chris Littleton, co-founder of the Ohio Liberty Council; Maurice Thompson, executive director of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law; and former state Rep. Bryan Williams of Akron, director of government affairs for the Associated Builders and Contractors of Ohio.

"Right to work for less" - An ALEC agenda that is being pushed.

But then  .... 

Last night I ran into this little snip and it made me think of the previous snip and I thought - hell let's take a little wander around the web and see what we can find.

LOS ANGELES, May 31, 2012 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- The Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD), with the support of the AFL-CIO and LIUNA, today jointly released the findings of a first-ever state-by-state comparative analysis of the Associated Builders and Contractors trade association, better known as the ABC. The findings expose a pattern of data manipulation and an aggressive disinformation campaign, conducted by the ABC and on behalf of its affiliate organizations, designed to confuse elected officials, the public and the press into supporting policies that produce fewer jobs, lower wages, and minimal workforce training, which have had a detrimental effect on workers, their communities and the US construction industry as a whole.


Many of its agenda items are aligned with the American Legislative Exchange Council, also known as ALEC. The ABC's 2009 Chapter Legislative Guide contained 18 bills listed as "property of" ALEC, while the ABC's 2010 Legislative Handbook included 10 examples of copyrighted ALEC model legislation.

A review of the legislation in the ABC's 2010 Legislative Handbook sreveals that even though the legislative handbook is dated 2010 – the ALEC legislation is from 2003 – which means that someone was a member back in 2003 to get ALEC “model” legislation out of the secret ALEC vault in 2003.

And I can verify these facts:

1995 Sourcebook
Private Sector Members
Ms. Charlotte Herbert, Associated Builders and Contractors
  National Task Force on Health Care
  National Task Force on Energy Environment and Natural Resources
  NationaI Task Force on Transportation

1997 ALEC Annual Meeting
ALEC Private Sector Members
Associated Builders and Contractors

Then I also found this little snip from last year that was kind of interesting - in one of the earlier reports on ALEC activity.
Another director of Enterprise Florida is former Florida House Speaker Allan Bense (R-Panama City). Bense is the present chairman of FCoC, who derives a large portion of his annual income from a company he co-owns: GAC Contractors, Inc. As reported on his 2009 statement of financial interests (filed pursuant to his membership on the board of the quasi-public Enterprise Florida), Bense held nearly $5 million in GAC asssets, much of which was money earned from contracts to repair state and federal highways.

GAC is a prominent member of Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC), which through its legislative efforts seeks to encourage the free flow of public-sector cash to nonunion private companies. ABC bills itself as being the nonunion “construction industry’s voice within the legislative, executive and judicial branches” of government. The bundled “Paycheck Protection” package containing ERRA, LODA and PFRA in Dorworth’s office had originated in ABC’s 2010 “legislative handbook.”

In addition to his FCoC, GAC and ABC connections, Bense is chair of the Florida-based, Koch-funded, ALEC-member public policy foundation, the James Madison Institute (JMI). FCoC baord member Leonhardt serves on the JMI board with Bense.

BOTH Dorworth and Bense being ALEC members.

Oh and by the way:
ALEC ALUM John Boehner is the guest speaker at the July "ABC Legislative Conference".

Lot's of ALEC members wound up tighter than a rubber band around ABC in some way.

ABC  is so spread out across the United States it would take me at least a day to find an ABC name I can connect to ALEC now - I'm sure there is one out there.

So after two hours of additional research - I gave up and I go back to my original thought that started this three hour journey.

Once an ALEC member – always an ALEC member.

Moral of the Story:

I hope the
The Building and Construction Trades Department
with the support of the

Screws ABC’s A-S-S to the wall.

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