Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ALECs Existence Depends on Lack of Transparency

Well,. well,  well.
Been waiting to see how this one came out in the wash before reporting it to you - and needless to say it's a doozy.

In December the Guardian released documents from the ALEC August 2013 Board meeting and on page 29 of that leaked document was a listing showing how many members of each state legislature were ALEC members.  The document showed that 100% of legislators from Iowa and South Dakota were members.

Well - about South Dakota - I have a previous entry where one specific member of the South Dakota legislature stated that he was not a member - so either ALEC is lying or he is lying.
And the Madville Times questions ALECs claim of 100% membership for the South Dakota legislature.
You can make up your mind after reading this entry.

Iowa Dems weren't too happy about the publicity they were getting about being members of ALEC - per the ALEC documents.  So, they sent a letter to ALEC and released a press release, so there would be no doubt about their stance with the public.

In that press release they state:
“Last year, all 47 Democratic members of the Iowa House informed the Chief Clerk of the Iowa House that no dues or fees were to be paid to ALEC on our behalf and none of us have applied to ALEC for individual membership,” said Leader Smith.  “In light of recent ALEC documents made public, we are deeply troubled that ALEC is currently listing us as members without our permission.”
In addition they released a copy of the letter sent to ALEC headquarters that noted:
The recently disclosed agenda of the August 6, 2013 board meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) lists all Iowa state legislators as members. This is deeply troubling to me as a leader in the Iowa House of Representatives, especially since this information has been repeated many times in on-line blogs and news stories.
If you misrepresented the status of Iowa legislators and we are not all considered ALEC members, I ask you to set the record straight by issuing a public clarification and by providing me with a list of those Iowa legislators who are actual dues-paying members of ALEC.

Today another news article came out regarding ALEC's response to the letter from the Iowa Dems.
And this could get interesting - even yet.

In today's news article it states:

Late last week, ALEC Executive Director Ron Scheberle provided a letter to the Des Moines Register
KEY Issue - to the newspaper, manipulating the press.

Scheberle told Smith that the Iowa Legislative Services Agency – the Legislature’s nonpartisan administrative office – pays ALEC dues on behalf of the entire General Assembly,
Secretary of the Senate Mike Marshall on Tuesday said LSA hasn’t paid ALEC memberships in more than three years, and did so then only on behalf of 64 House members.
That undercuts Scheberle’s assertion that LSA pays dues for the entire Legislature and calls into question whether any Iowa lawmakers are currently dues-paying members.
Scheberle’s explanation does not appear to be accurate,

I'm always noting how ALEC intentionally deceives the public and the press.
ALEC thought it could get away with lying to the press again, but the press went back to the original source for answers.

Several items remain unresolved -
Will Marshall do his due diligence to verify beyond a reasonable doubt that Iowa is not funding ALEC by paying for all legislative members, regardless of whether the legislators wants to belong to ALEC or not?

In his original letter to ALEC - in addition to seeking verification that Iowa Dems were in fact, not members of ALEC, Smith requested:
by providing me with a list of those Iowa legislators who are actual dues-paying members of ALEC.
which Scheberle did not do, probably because
ALEC is convinced that 100% of the Iowa legislature are members.
Since we know that is not true, it will be interesting to see if Marshall requests the list of Iowa members, again.

I really hope that they do not let this situation die without full transparency - because lack of transparency is what the American Legislative Exchange Council depends on, to exist.

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