Over the years ALEC has steadfastly denied having any influence or involvement in writing or proposing legislation at the federal level. They "proudly" proclaim their effectiveness at the state level through their legislative membership. They've continued these denials of interfering at the federal level since ALEC Exposed with their 800+ Model Legislation became public through a joint Center for Media and Democracy and Nation Magazine project in July.
This diary is going to expose the cabal's lies concerning denial of influence or involvement in the U.S. Congress on federal legislation. This will show ALEC bringing their pro-corporate agenda directly into both the Senate and House, proposing bills they acknowledge authoring and admit are their "initiatives". I am only using one of these "Model Bills" to show how they accomplish making "their" laws the law of the land throughout the United States. I will show the methodology used, the tactics employed to avoid objection or true discussion of the "Bill" and the procedure(s) they employ to guarantee passage of their anti-citizen, pro-corporate agenda.
This story is about one piece of legislation that became U.S. law in 1992 and was later amended in 2006. Both the original Congressional Bill and the subsequent amendment were written by corporate members of ALEC. They were adopted as "Model Legislation" by the full ALEC membership and circulated to each state by their conservative legislative members.
Using what was previously a seldom used provision - usually reserved for cases when the President issues an important legislative request to Congress - ALEC's Congressional Alumni worked their magic through a House rule and deception to advance legislation important to several of their key corporate members. In 2006 the House Speaker was Dennis Hastert, a long time ALEC member and in 2006 a powerful ALEC Alumni. In a published ALEC document just prior to the events I'm disclosing below, Hastert was quoted thus:
"The members of ALEC are true pioneers in advancing common-sense, conservative ideas. For 30 years many of these ideas have transcended from state capitols to Washington."Through research I've found many of the companies you'll find below - along with most of ALEC's other corporate members who currently sit on their Private Enterprise Board or have in the past, are known to have funded Dennis Hastert while he was serving in the House - http://www.democraticunderground.com/... and specifically in 2006 (including Koch Industries) when the below occurred. So what transpired in 2006 was well planned, corrupt and quite possibly hugely profitable to those lawmakers who took part.
A critical thing to keep in mind as you read this blog, is that they are doing the same thing at the state level right now - and it makes all of us wonder how many times over the years they have done this, and which of our laws were created in this manner....Read on below and find out how Hastert and a fellow ALEC Alumni, Phil Gingrey worked out this legislative scam...
This is about the "Animal Enterprise Protection Act" which become law in 1992 as; Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA) of 1992, 18 U.S.C. § 43 (2000) (enacted Aug. 26, 1992) and was later re-introduced in October 2005 and titled the "Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act" (AETA). My focus here is on the latter piece of legislation.
In brief both of these bills provided protection from animal rights activists to medical, research, farming and businesses involved in the use of animals in their work or for profiting. It defined what was acceptable and what was criminal and set penalties for violation. This would allow for arrest and prosecution of those demonstrating, protesting or in any way interfering with activities involving animals - especially where financial damages were involved - loss of sales, hindered research, etc.
As with most other ALEC model legislation, the named bills hide the true intent of the legislation. Right to work, we've come to know really means the right to work for less. It is the same with these Animal "Protection" Acts. Neither of the laws written and disseminated by ALEC have anything whatsoever to do with the rights of animals - only the rights of those exploiting the animals for profit.
Following the events of 9/11 and a heightened awareness of "Terrorism" expressed by President Bush, ALEC proposed their Animal Rights and Ecological Terrorism Act model legislation in 2003 (later shortened to Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act). It was adopted as model legislation by the membership and was intended to be used to further target animal advocates as "terrorists" and increase the penalties already in place through the 1992 law. From 2003 to late 2006 ALEC brought all of their arsenal to bear upon passage of this legislation; Heartland Institute; CATO Institute; and FBI and DOJ "specialists" to issue statements that the existing AEPA was insufficient to deter animal rights activism.
Employees of the UK Corporation and ALEC key member, GlaxoSmithKline testified about being scared of "ecoterrorism" protesters. FBI agents testified that better and stronger tools were necessary to protect businesses and researchers using animals for medical testing, ranching or raising minks and other animals for their skins or other parts for profit.
John E. Lewis, Deputy Assistant Director, Counterterrorism Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, in May of 2004, claiming the need for stronger legislation to protect against secondary and tertiary targeting of animal enterprises. Heartland Institute posted several links to ALEC's pursuit of this new legislation and proudly proclaims: ALEC Offers Legislation to Fight Domestic Terror by Animal and Eco-Extremist Groups. "Let's Call a Terrorist a 'Terrorist'," quoting ALEC. Heartland also provides links to testimony from the FBI Director on the legislative supporting ALEC's legislation:
"June 6, 2002: FBI: Statement for the Record of Robert S. Mueller, III, Director, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation on "A New FBI Focus" before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary."Most or all of these links have been scrubbed as of today - including those links to official FBI and DOJ documents and reports on this testimony. If you see the link comes from the Way Back Archive that's because the links in original documents have been scrubbed. (Funny - the cabal is so proud one day and trumpeting their successes and the next they are busy covering their tracks when the corrupt tactics and practices used to achieve that success is exposed).
As in most other cases ALEC went all out when pushing for pro-corporate legislation. In this case they used ALEC Alumni, James Inhofe and Democrat, Diane Feinstein (CA) to introduce this legislation in the U.S. Senate.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works described the legislation as being created with the help of the the FBI and DOJ:
"Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, has introduced legislation that will enhance the effectiveness of the U.S. Department of Justice’s response to recent trends in the animal rights terrorist movement. S. 1926, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, was drafted with technical assistance from counter-terror experts at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
On the House side it was introduced by Conservative Representatives Tom Petri (R-WI) and James Sensenbrenner (R WI) sponsored by Representative Bobby Scott (D VA). Petri at the time was given a 78% rating by the CATO Institute:
Wisconsin Republican Rep. Tom Petri -- a lawmaker who hopes to make the USA-PATRIOT Act permanent and the very person who introduced the House version of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act...At the same time, Petri's rating from the CATO Institute was 78%, indicating a zest for free trade agreements; and in November 2003, Petri voted 'yes' to hasten approval of -- ahem -- forest thinning projects. Petri receives consistently high marks from the NRA and from immigration restrictionists.As all of us are aware, the NRA is a longtime member and benefactor of ALEC. In December 2006 Scott was awarded with "Recognition" by the Animal Enterprise Protection Coalition for sponsoring this legislation.
In support of this federal legislation, more of ALEC's members joined forces to assist Inhofe and Petri push this terrible legislation through Congress. All told seven additional ALEC Alumni serving in the house signed onto AETA as co-sponsors (scroll down on the left). The driving force behind the AETA was the Animal Enterprise Protection Coalition (AEPC) founded by the National Association of Biomedical Researchers (NABR). This AEPC was created specifically to support ALEC's legislation. Who belonged to this AEPC organization?
Key members of AEPC were Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Roche, Wyeth and other pharmaceutical and biomedical research companies also belonging to NABR. A full listing of companies belonging to or supporting NABR are not available without membership...however here is what they say on their website:
"Once you join NABR you will be in good company. Every major pharmaceutical company, 80% of medical schools, almost every U.S. veterinary medical school, and nearly every U.S. research university are NABR members.And what kind of services do you get once you join NABR?
"NABR advocates on behalf of its members at all levels of the federal government: Congress, the USDA, NIH, FDA, CDC and the White House. NABR communicates the essential role of animals in research by encouraging supportive legislation, providing comments on pending proposals, presenting testimony at Congressional hearings, and serving as an information source for Congressional staff and constituents."
Definitely another influential group in DC with members such as GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Roche - who also just happen to be ALEC members (and PhRMA member companies as well): http://www.sourcewatch.org/... and most listed here as well: http://www.alec.org/.... Can't find Roche listed? Look here and find Hoffman La Roche or read this DK Diary and scroll down to companies known to have been ALEC members: http://www.dailykos.com/....
Those are the "Players" involved with this one single piece of ALEC written legislation and the Alumni and enablers who brought this piece of shit into our Congress. As expected, this legislation sought to diminish our rights to protest and demonstrate under the 1st Amendment. So there was a lot of resistance to this proposed law. Many lawmakers had voiced objections to the provisions of this legislation and in response, Petri and Scott issued a "Fact sheet" to the Congressional members in an attempt to convince them that all the "myths" being spread about the AETA legislation were just that, myths. Even with this there was strong opposition to it in the House. Petri and Sensenbrenner were unable to garner the votes necessary to ensure passage while Inhofe was able to get the Republican led Senate to pass it unanimously...so what to do?
They decided to use our legislative "rules" process to sneak it through the House. This is how it was accomplished. Rules allowing for "Fast tracking" or "suspending" a Bill was used by Sensenbrenner. In laymen terms that means Sensenbrenner was certifying there was no real opposition to the bill, having bipartisan support. The rules normally governing the presentation, discussion and voting on legislation is suspended once fast tracking is applied. It allows for less discussion on the merits of the legislation, no amending or amendments thereto and an immediate vote following the conclusion of the discussion period. It also allows for the passage upon a favorable vote of a two thirds majority of those members present at the time of the vote.
Because of Sen. Feinstein's support in the Senate, AETA was placed on a fast track with the agreement of both parties and scheduled with little notice for a vote on September 30, 2006, less than 3 weeks after it was introduced. There was no debate. It is not clear in the 3 weeks this bill was pending in the Senate that many Senators even read it. It passed the Senate unanimously under the rules of suspension.
Congress was in recess from September 30 through Nov. 8 for the midterm elections. There was an effort by national animal welfare and some civil rights groups during the recess to rally opposition to this bill.
When the House returned on Nov. 9, 2006, here is what happened: Late on Friday, Nov. 10, Rep. Sensenbrenner had AETA placed on the suspension calendar which basically means a vote would be taken without debate on the following Monday, November 13. Over the weekend animal welfare and civil rights groups learned of the maneuver and began mobilizing their supporters. House members opposing the legislation made arrangements to attend the session to present their views and opposition to the bill.
On Monday, November 13 it was announced matters on the suspension calendar would be taken up that evening at 6:30 p.m. Instead, at around 3:00 in the afternoon, Representative Phil Gingrey approached the House Clerk with a message from Speak Hastert. The note announced that Hastert had authorized Gingrey to serve as Speaker Pro Tempe and the House came to order under Gingrey's authority as temporary Speaker. Rep. Sensenbrenner maneuvered all of the "fast tracked" legislation scheduled for 6:30 PM to be heard in the middle of the day, including the AETA bill.
Representative and Speaker Hastert an ALEC Alumni assisted Representative Phil Gingrey, an ALEC Alumni to circumvent the house schedule. Further Gingrey then served as the enabler to Sensenbrenner who arranged for 4 of the bill's supporters to be present. At the time of the vote there were only those representatives present. During the session, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) walked in and discovered they were discussing the AETA legislation. He attempted to persuade Sensenbrenner and Petri to wait until the scheduled time for discussion, but they refused. Kucinich stayed and spoke against the bill. Three representatives including Rep. Sensenbrenner spoke in favor of AETA. As soon as the discussion time was up Gingrey called for a voice vote and AETA passed in the House of Representatives on a voice vote by the 6 representatives present (5 for and 1 against). No other representatives voted on the bill. So in this way, 5 of the total 435 House members managed to pass this legislation through out and out deception. For a video on this hearing, discussion and vote (including Kucinich's strong speech in opposition) watch it here: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/... the discussion begins at 46:10 of the video. To add insult to injury, the Congressional Record reports that the bill passed by a margin of 5:1 but no record was kept of the names of those who voted in favor of the legislation!
This is a description of what actually transpired in the House chamber that afternoon given by Dr. Alex Hershaft (FARM's President/Founder), and co-founder of the Equal Justice Alliance:
"Today (11/13/06), a dozen of us from Equal Justice Alliance, FARM, League of Humane Voters, and Compassion Over Killing spent five hours visiting Congressional offices and urging them to vote against AETA, which had been scheduled over the weekend for a sudden vote at 6:30 pm. We were carrying suporting statements from the National Lawyers Guild, the New York City Bar Association, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. At each office, we were told that the mail and calls were running overwhelmingly in our favor.
Around 3pm, one of the legislative aides said that the bill was just being debated on the House floor. He gave me a pass, and I rushed to the Capitol across the street. I was astonished to see only about six House members present. House Judiciary Chairman Sensenbrenner spoke in favor of AETA, quoting Jerry Vlasak's and other's past extreme statements. Dennis Kucinich joined in abhorring violence, but noted that the bill infringed on civil liberties of people conducting civil disobedience or undercover investigations. Sensenbrenner invoked lack of opposition from the ACLU. Then the chair called for a voice vote, and Kucinich cast the only no vote. It was all over in 15 minutes.
After the vote, I rode the elevator with Sensenbrenner and chief AETA sponsor Petri. I told them I was there to lobby against their bill. Sensenbrenner replied "don't blame me; I was just managing the bill for this guy," pointing to Petri, who smiled sheepishly. The whole thing was absolutely surreal.
We played the game by their rules, we generated an overwhelming outpouring of opposition to the bill on short notice, and they kicked us in the face through underhanded maneuvers. Then they wonder why people lose faith in the system and take the law into their own hands. Today, Congress brought shame on itself by turning animal activists into "terrorists."
On November 27th, President Bush signed AETA into law.
Today AETA is the law of the land of the United States regarding "terrorism" involving animal activism. Not only is it illegal to protest the exploitation of animals by showing up and personally opposing such exploitation, but merely having a website that reports and makes animal activism articles available to supporters, is an illegal "terrorist" act under the law. Prior to the passage of AETA, the previous version AEPA was used to prosecute activists and their web based organization without their ever participating directly in any act of "terrorism" themselves.
"The SHAC 7 are 6 animal rights activists and the organization Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA (SHAC USA) who were convicted on March 2, 2006, under the controversial Federal Animal Enterprise Protection Act. The Act punishes anyone who "physically disrupts" an animal enterprise. The charges stem from these activists' alleged participation in an international campaign to close the notorious product testing lab Huntingdon Life Sciences.For a detailed analysis of this case and the subsequent appeals, read Will Potter's piece on SHAC 7 here: http://www.greenisthenewred.com/....
Specifically, these activists are alleged to have operated a website that reported on and expressed ideological support for protest activity against Huntingdon and its business affiliates. For this they are charged with "terrorism" and face an aggregate of 23 years in Federal Prison.
The SHAC 7 case is the latest in an onslaught of attacks against domestic dissidents under the guise of fighting terrorism. Animal rights is a "fringe" issue and the government is banking on the broader social justice movement to turn a blind eye to those focusing on the “less important” issue of animals and expressing “extremist” views. But make no mistake - these activists are the canaries in the mine. This case is intended to pave the way for further silencing of activists involved in all issues. It is imperative that the broader social justice movement stand behind these activists in our communal defense of free speech, press, and association. Support the SHAC 7 and support your right to free expression!
The last SHAC 7 defendant was released from prison to a halfway house on August 4 of this year: http://breakallchains.blogspot.com/....
What happened above to allow an ALEC initiative to pass through our Congress so easily has possibly - probably - happened in the past and will be again attempted in the future. We should all be vigilant to stop this kind of corrupt manipulation in the future. This is made worse when you do an internet search on "Fast Tracked" legislation plus your state. I did that this morning and found three current pieces of legislation currently being fast tracked through the state assembly: Vote Center legislation, two gun laws and earlier this year fast tracking of right to work legislation by Republicans is what led to our Democratic state Rep's leaving Indiana and taking up sanctuary in Illinois to prevent passage. Similarly in Oregon Republicans just fast tracked a bill through the state legislature that provides that energy and water companies can seek and receive permits designed to make it easier for energy speculators to apply for and receive permits for pipeline construction on private land—without prior permission from landowners. Republicans were unsuccessful in 2009-10 but succeeded this year (wonder if this has anything to do with the Koch's Tar Sands initiative?)
On the federal level another piece of shit legislation written by ALEC and supported by all Conservatives and Republicans alike is a bill that would strip fundamental powers of the EPA to regulate water toxins (H.R. 2018). It was passed by the Republican controlled House in July. If you want to know how your legislator voted, here is the vote report: http://www.govtrack.us/....
Please take the time to search the web for Republican fast tracking of ALEC written or supported legislation in your state and get into the fray. This is another way in which we can help put an end to the Cabal's existence. Continue to Boycott the companies belonging to ALEC either as members or sponsors. Every dollar that is denied to them is a dollar less they have to advance their corrupt agenda against us.
This video provides information on AETA as well as providing some of those arrested under this law and prosecuted:
For a full reading of the introduction of ALEC's legislation, including the testimony of the DOJ and GlaxoSmithKline representatives see here:http://commdocs.house.gov/...
For an analysis of AETA and list with links of states where this legislation has been introduced see: http://www.serconline.org/....
For Senate tracking of this legislation, see: http://olpa.od.nih.gov/...