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The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) may be guilty of abusing its tax status, which has created even bigger problems.
According to reporting in Britain’s Guardian newspaper ALEC has lost 400 state legislative members and may have lost one third of its biggest funders, because it has promoted Florida’s “stand your ground law” as model legislation. That was the law, which George Zimmerman famously used in his defense for shooting an unarmed African-American teenager named Trayvon Martin.
According to The Guardian: “An influential US lobbying network of Republican politicians and big businesses is seeking to avert a looming funding crisis by appealing to major donors that have abandoned it over the past two years following criticism of its policy on gun laws.”
As reported in The Guardian, “ALEC has formed a sister organization called ‘the Jeffersonian Project’ amid concerns about POSSIBLE GOVERNMENT INQUIRIES INTO WHETHER ITS ACTIVITIES CONSTITUTE LOBBYING – WHICH WOULD THREATEN ITS TAX EXEMPT STATUS.”
ALEC’s attorney in a letter to its board “makes clear that MAJOR POTENTIAL DONORS ARE HOLDING BACK BECAUSE OF CONCERNS ABOUT ALEC’s TAX STATUS.”
ALEC has created and pushed state legislative initiatives to undermine and undercut voting rights, workers rights, healthcare, and other state laws.
ALEC exists to draft and promote, push and influence major right-wing state policy. Their priorities have been made clear with similar anti-democratic and anti-people copycat or legislative templates in as many as 19 states.
It has focused major energy these last two years on state legislation designed to weaken the voting power of traditionally Democratic and progressive constituencies including unions, our elders, people of color and students.
The Guardian reports that as many as 60 corporations have quit donating to ALEC including giant global corporations like Coca-Cola, WALMART, General Electric, and McDonald’s.
Clearly, ALEC is more concerned about potential lobbying and tax issues than many of its progressive critics have thought or have understood.