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View Diary: Florida Republican Submits Anti-Corporate Tax Bill Without Removing ALEC Mission Statement (108 comments)

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  •  Please give this diary a read ... (7+ / 0-)

    It describes a ruling by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics from 1995 that ruled that third parties may write legislation.  I think this was the very root of this ALEC-ish trend and you won't be surprised to see Mitch McConnell's fingerprints all over it.

    I was disappointed by my fellow Kossacks dismissal of the diary, but maybe folks will give it another look.  I still believe it is very very important bit of history.

    •  ALEC started long before 1995 and is state-focused (6+ / 0-)

      The US Senate rules aren't relevant in this discussion. Even the US Code that defines and regulates lobbying activities doesn't apply to states. The laws apply to lobbying the US government only.

      Each state has similar but not identical regulations concerning such activities. They vary by definitions of lobbying, ethics, conflicts, transparency, openness, etc.

      ALEC blatently skirts the lobbying laws. That much is obvious. They do this by declaring that they provide educational services and deny that their work is lobbying activity. Most states (and the US) define lobbying as a paid activity. So if you "volunteer", you're not lobbying. If you provide "examples" of legislation, you are "educating".

      The IRS has an exemption in the definition of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt "charitable" corporations that seems to have been written by ALEC for ALEC. This has been challenged several times to no avail.

      So the big corporations are allowed to get together and "educate" state legislators and spend unlimited amounts of tax-exempt money to do so. They charge a very small membership fee for each legislator, thus restricting attendance to actual elected officials. They insist on non-disclosure of their propaganda because it's all about learning and discussion. There is no actual work product; just examples.

      The examples have changed little since the 1980's, of course. It's all far right wing Heritage/Cato/AFP extreme legislation and the presentations are all about the same old crap we hear out of every right winger on the planet. One of the earliest themes was the "tax and spend liberal" idea. Everybody remembers that one. Now it's the "out of control government spending" and "destroying the Constitution" and the "total loss of family values". Private prisons, schools, development, commerce, etc.

      A newbie state legislator who has no experience and no staff and little pay needs to learn how to be a legislator somehow. The fake concept that ALEC uses is that of a professional association of state legislators. A club where you can share and learn among your peers and so-called experts. The experts are guys like Laffer and other nutcases. And newbie legislators eat this shit up.

      We end up getting bills introduced that nobody needs or wants and ALEC pressure the fools to pass this eqregious shit through their fear-mongering tactics.

      Mitch McConnell, I'm sure, is an invited keynote speaker to groups like this. They all do their part.

      But this has nothing to do with a 1995 US Senate committee opinion. It's much, much, larger than that.

      "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

      by GrumpyOldGeek on Wed Feb 01, 2012 at 10:32:39 PM PST

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    •  Okay, so I'll ask again. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Where is the boilerplate legislation written by liberals? How can we have thousands of anti-abortion bills introduced every year, and not see a single one that repeals wait periods, parental notifications and gag orders?

      We've played defense for so long we're willing to just defend the status quo, no matter how inadequate it is, just to keep them from making things worse.

      "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

      by Reepicheep on Thu Feb 02, 2012 at 07:36:55 AM PST

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