The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is perhaps the biggest and most successful corporate bill mill, handing lawmakers draft bills written by industry lobbyists. Many of these bills are then passed, pulling essentially verbatim from ALEC's example. Technically an educational charity, ALEC is a conduit for industry to influence legislators while skirting lobbying regulations. The group was recently in the news for demanding that people stop calling it a climate denial organization, even though the bills it produces all deny the threat of climate change to protect its industry backers.
A recent piece of investigative journalism out of WXIA-TV Atlanta exposed the tight-knit relationship between legislators and lobbyists, a relationship facilitated by ALEC using tax-deductible donations. In a six-minute piece, one reporter attempts to reveal what goes on behind ALEC's closed-door meetings. Though the written story accompanying the video gets the same facts across, it doesn't capture the "sleaze" in quite the same way, so it's strongly recommended that you watch the video.
If you simply refuse (or perhaps have a weak stomach) then here's the ending: ALEC's communications and PR VP, who should be happy to provide comment, refused to be interviewed. He then asked the reporter to leave. In response, the reporter said he's both credentialed and a guest of the hotel, and he proceeds to press the ALEC VP about how the gathering is a private meeting between elected officials and lobbyists, funded by lobbyists. The ALEC VP then had the reporter kicked out of the hotel by the four off-duty Sheriff's deputies.
Reporter: "I mean are we violating a law?"
One deputy to another: "Don't say nothing."
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