Skip to main content

It seems to be in the news quite a bit lately, this fella named "Alec". For a long time, I was just sitting out on the porch down here, along the mighty Duck River, wonderin' what all the dust-up over some guy named Alec was about.

Then (imagine my surprise!), I learned that it wasn't just a male name, but a whole gaggle of folks who called themselves ALEC. Then I learned that this is a corporation, a 501(C)3 that says it is not a lobbying group, but rather a tax-protected nexus between private and public corporations, and legislators from all across the nation who equally vote on "Model Bills" to be shipped out to State Legislatures for implementation, like "Stand Your Ground" Bills, and Voter ID Bills, and the like.

Suddenly, I got this belchy feelin' in the pit of my gut, ya know? Follow me just below the squiggledoodlethingey fold, and I'll tell ya what I've learned since then.

Well, I been doing me some lookin' into this whole American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) business.

The idea behind the group is that it would marry up both public and private businesses and corporations with legislators across the country to see if they could somehow craft "Model Legislation" that would speak to their "Federalist, Limited Government" nature.

Frankly, I don't find that to be such a problem. But I do find it a bit unsettling. You see, these ALEC people don't go, like all good citizens to, to the offices of their legislators to talk about creating legislation that represents their political ideology, dontcha know. No Siree. That alone put me into a bit of an intestinal twist, because I didn't know that corporations HAD political ideology. (The things ya learn!)

What ALEC does, friends, is that it corrals legislators from all over the country into one room, along with corporate leaders and other "Special Interests" who might be friendly toward some or other particular "Model Legislation", and they talk about it. Committees (27 of them) are rounded up, made up of corporate leaders and legislators who serve as Co-Chairs of these committees. They lead, equally, these committees in creating the legislation THEY want. They also get votes.

Now, as a fer instance.

One such committee was filled with people from the NRA, and Wal-Mart, two of the most powerful membership orALECzations of ALEC. This conservative group seemed to think it might be a good (and wildly profitable, in the case of Wal-Mart, anyway) to make some of that legislation where anybody could carry a gun, in public. The "Model Legislation" they created is what is now referred to, in 38 States, as the "Stand Your Ground" Model. To sell weapons, the legislation allows open carry for the purpose of defending yourself if somebody comes callin' ta have a disagreement with you. It is actually an expansion of the "Castle" Doctrine, long-settled law in most states, which says a man has a right to defend his Castle from interlopers without the threat of prosecution, should some shenanigans follow. Let's use this as one example. There are many. Why, them special "Task Forces" are even meaning to pass legislation against the Federal Trade Commission! Last time I checked, that was a FEDERAL AGENCY! Now, down here along the "Duck", I know me plenty of honest, hard-working folks who don't know the difference between the NRA (National Rifle Association) and the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts). And, they'd be PDQ quick to admit it to ya, too. No shame in that. Unless, of course, you got some kind of fancy corporation trying to kill 'em, or re-shape them into the Agency THEY want. Well, then neighbor, that gets jaws ta jackin', and people talking about things best left not talked about. They take it, ya see, personal.

Now, with the passage of this "Model Legislation", Wal-Mart, the NRA, and the legislators all got equal votes on what the Model would be, say, and do. I thought about that long and hard. Ya see, neighbor, I just don't remember voting either the NRA OR Wal-Mart into office. Why should THEY have a vote, much less an equal vote, on ANYTHING in a Legislature? Why, to me that seems kinda like just giving both of these companies and interests a seat at the State House themselves. It's like lobbyists getting a vote on the very legislation they crafted, for their own purposes. At least that is what I thought. I have learned that it's actually more ugly than that.

The "Model Bills" are being presented, unchanged (and in some cases, with the ALEC impramateur still in place!) as legislation created by the elected legislators of the people. Last time I checked, it was "We, the people..." who were the "Electors", and our legislators are "The Elected".

They were elected by their electors to serve the will of the electors, or "We, the people...". So how did fancy, big money companies like Wal-Mart get not only a a vote, but a bigger vote than mine, fer goodness' sake? Why should the NRA, who says out loud and in public that they are in favor of the rights of all citizens to bear and carry arms, get to create law that says precisely that? And, what legislators are going along with this subrogation of democracy? What do they get out of it?

Now, ALEC says it is not a lobbying organization.

Isn't what I've just described above lobbying in it's most extreme form? I admit to being a simple-minded man, neighbor, but it shore sounds like lobbyin' of the very largest kind to me.

I mean, this makes settlin' for brown bags filled with dollars or your favorite adult entertainin' beverage (The Recipe) just for votin' a few times come 'Lection Day purely embarrassin'!

And, even more importantly than that, isn't the entire democratic process being sold here? I mean, is there no relation between the passage of the "Stand Your Ground" laws across the nation so rapidly in the last year, and the fact that NOW Wal-Mart is the world's largest retailer of guns, long guns in particular, AND ammunition? Do I see a connection here?

Yes, I do.

And, I don't like it. No, Sir. Not one bit.

This outfit is, as it proudly proclaims, a "unique" organization, indeed. Corporate money funds them. Corporate members serve as Directors on their Board (Charles and David Koch, for instance). The ultra-conservative organization brings together corporate interests, and boatloads of corporate money and Special Interest lobbyists with more than 800 legislators from across the political spectrum, at every level, to create "Model Legislation" to serve THEIR interests and profit margins. And, they do it in private, too. They also do it with no presence (or input) from the Electors they have sworn to serve. Now, that just wrankles my hide, neighbor!

Democracy is being purchased, and the electors are having no part in the process. We, the people have no say--at all. That's how Voter Suppression Laws (another ALEC favorite, especially down here in the South) are being so suddenly (and successfully) passed. The elected have their marching orders, and the money in their funds to make the trip. When the "Model Legislation" is passed, the legislators get pats on the back in a large and varied number of ways. I guess that's why my very own Congressman, Dr. Scott DeJarlais gets campaign contributions from folks like Charles and David Koch.

But, I didn't get a voice. I don't get a vote. This law, or that law does NOT serve the interests I stand for. It doesn't matter. And, it also doesn't matter whether or not I believe that a woman should, or should not have the right to choose how she deals with her own medical care, her own medical insurance, or her own equality, or her own body. Not to ALEC. And not to anyone who would belly up to these varmints, neither.

The only reasonable conclusion this ole hillbilly can come to is that it doesn't matter to my legislature, or my legislators, either. And, I'll be up front with all of you. That just bothers the hell out of me.

So, as I have been raised to do, at the end of the talkin', comes the question:

"So, what are YOU (me) going to do about it?"

I'm going to holler and dust up such a fuss that this sale of democracy to the most important bidder will at least be seen for what it is. That's what I'm going to do about it. What are YOU going to do about it?

Today, for instance, I learned that no less than four of my State (Tennessee) Legislators are listed as members of ALEC. The shocik? These four are DEMOCRATS!

I'm going to call them out, and make them admit that they are proud members of this duplicitous, nefarious, democracy-bustin' bunch of yayhoos, that's what I'm going to do about it. Today.

I've sent each of them a personal letter, telling them that I'm going to call them out, in public, on "Progressive Politics: Tennessee Style" radio show that started here at Kos, on Sunday, April 29th, 2012, along with the more than 20 Republican Legislators of my State who are fees-paying, flag-waving members of the American Legislative Exchange Council. I'm going to ask them to call in and explain why they feel belonging to this bunch of lilly-livered thugs is in their best interest, and in the best interests of my State.

That's what I'm going to do about it. As unimpressive as I am sure it will be, I gotta tell ya true. Back, where I come from, we have a name for this.

We call it Hillbilly Hell-Raisin'.

As it happens, I learned at the foot of the master. I'm really good at it. It was not a huge, eye-poppin' deal for me until I learned, today, that MY State Representative, a DEMOCRAT no less, is alleged to be a member of this organization.

My sitting Representative, a female Republican, has written me that she is not, nor has ever been a member of ALEC. I take her at her word. Of my Congresskritter? Crickets.

And, you see, that's the problem with ALEC. For more than forty years! Crickets! Crickets are grand fer fishin', friends and neighbors.

They do NOT, however, get a vote. And, they sure as HELL don't get a vote that is more important, or more significant, or more worthy than MINE!

That's the problem with ALEC.

5:00 PM PT: Added PPTS tag for our listeners' pleasure.

Originally posted to An American Citizen on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:57 PM PDT.

Also republished by Southern Action, Nashville KosKats, Three Star Kossacks, American Legislative Transparency Project, and Daily Kos Phazebook Progressive Social Networking Group.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  The Problem With ALEC (16+ / 0-)

    Crickets. I ain't one. Are you? I'm calling out every ALEC member in my State and federal delegaions to remove themselves from ALEC--IMMEDIATELY. Will YOU?

    " Lead would float in a pool of Michelle Bachmann."
    Economic
    Left/Right: -7.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

    by Bud Fields on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:47:09 PM PDT

  •  Not Lobbying to Me. They Are a Legislature. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZenTrainer, Larsstephens, Bob Sloan, kurt

    It's the uniting of corporate and government power. Mussolini said that was the definition of "Fascism."

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 05:04:41 PM PDT

  •  I really love this diary (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JTinDC, ZenTrainer, smiley7, MNDem999, lilsky

    The commentary is beautiful. And it's also scary to think just how long these guys have been in business, and just how much money flows into their coffers. When you're making billions, you can screw the middle class left right and center, and never worry about it.

    •  Thanks for the kind words. But (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZenTrainer, smiley7, MNDem999, lilsky

      don't miss the point. It is, finally, up to US to delete this scourge upon democracy. I don't see any one person as being capable of doing this alone. But if every citizen does just one thing, ALEC can become as relevant as the DoDo. I look forward to that.

      I also look forward to calling into legal question every single bill offered by any legislator who is a member of ALEC. That, I can do.

      I'll bet the Corporatists and the Plutocrats would worry about that. Ya think?

      " Lead would float in a pool of Michelle Bachmann."
      Economic
      Left/Right: -7.75
      Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

      by Bud Fields on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:16:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice diary, Bud, but yer kinda preachin' to the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello, ZenTrainer

    choir. You have a take and style tho that seems like it would play well with Indies, moderates, and just maybe a few conservatives who haven't yet sold the last piece of their souls to the devil. I urge you to repost this to venues where those eyes will see it.

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 05:52:11 PM PDT

    •  Thank you for the kind words. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smiley7, MNDem999, JTinDC

      It is being shared across my network. I hope you will share it across yours, as well. :) As to "the choir":

      Sometimes, we just don't know of any one thing we can actually do about the things we see as being against our values as citizens. I can't do it all, but i can do something. The point here is that there is something I can do. I will do that. Hopefully, someone, somewhere will come to the same conclusion, which makes the sermon worth standing in the pulpit.

      Also, I must admit that the occasional "Amen!" can do loads o good. Not merely to the preacher, but to the congregation as well. :)

      " Lead would float in a pool of Michelle Bachmann."
      Economic
      Left/Right: -7.75
      Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

      by Bud Fields on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:18:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The beauty of preaching to the choir is that's (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smiley7, Bud Fields, JTinDC

      how you get them to sing.

      Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

      by ZenTrainer on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:20:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Totally, totally OT but THANK YOU (0+ / 0-)

    so much Bud for all the work you did getting Tricia, Jim's widow, the help she needed.

    Big Thanks!

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

    by ZenTrainer on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:22:08 PM PDT

    •  Thanks, Zen. For both comments. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZenTrainer

      That really IS how the choir learns to sing, isn't it?
      I'm hoping Tricia is doing okay. It's been more than a while, and last I heard wasn't great. I keep them in my best wishes and prayers! :)

      It has been my honor to represent KOS...anywhere.

      " Lead would float in a pool of Michelle Bachmann."
      Economic
      Left/Right: -7.75
      Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

      by Bud Fields on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:27:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  April 29th is an "anniversary" in the continuing (0+ / 0-)

    battle against ALEC and their cabal.  April 29th, 2011 was the first ever anti-ALEC Protest and March held in Cincinnati.  The event was suggested right here on DK by those of us who had been trying to expose them...and ultimately put together by DK members who organized the entire shebang in under 30 days.  That is where the ALEC model bills and other documents were delivered to the protesters by a whistle blower.

    Center for Media and Democracy is doing a story about all the DK work and research that we put into the ALEC story prior to it going viral.  Should be published this Thursday.

    "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled" http://piecp-violations.com/

    by Bob Sloan on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 06:29:39 AM PDT

    •  Excellent News, Bob. (0+ / 0-)

      Our show on Sunday, April 29th, is dedicated to ALEC. We will have as our special guests the Executive Director and Research Director of "Progressive-Texas" who will update us on the shenanigans ALEC is currently using to avoid accountability, what Texas has created as a bold move to "out" every member of their state legislator who are members, and give us a game plan for doing the same in every state in the Union. It has a lot of promise, and I hope many Kossacks will listen in, call in, and join us in our live chat room during this episode.

      It 's going to be a really good show. That it happens to be on Sunday, April 29th is not entirely a coincidence, but rather serendipity, I think. I can't wait! :)

      " Lead would float in a pool of Michelle Bachmann."
      Economic
      Left/Right: -7.75
      Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

      by Bud Fields on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 08:56:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the heads up, Bob (0+ / 0-)

    We'll be doing a special Episode of our radio show on the 29th, focusing on ALEC with two special guests from Texas who have come up with a really powerful way to approach ALEC locally. It ought to be "enlightening". :)

    " Lead would float in a pool of Michelle Bachmann."
    Economic
    Left/Right: -7.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

    by Bud Fields on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 10:34:03 AM PDT

  •  Support the National Popular Vote Bill (0+ / 0-)

    "So, what are YOU (me) going to do about it?"

    On September 7, 2007, ALEC’s National Board Members gave final approval to a resolution, passed by its members, in support of the current Electoral College system used to elect the President of the United States.
    http://www.alec.org/...

    ALEC’s First Vice Chairman, State Sen. Steve Faris (AR), introduced the resolution after his state came close to passing a bill that would have awarded the state’s Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote instead of the winner of the state’s popular vote. He said “I am proud ALEC has endorsed this resolution and is committed to oppose all national popular vote legislation."

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states that now are just 'spectators' and ignored after the primaries.

    When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls.

    In 2011, 83% of Tennessee voters polled agreed that "The presidential candidate who gets the most votes always should be the winner."
    Every political demographic group across the state favors changing to a system driven by the popular vote, the poll showed.
         When Republicans were asked, "How should the President be elected, by who gets the most votes in all 50 states or by the current winner-takes-all system?" 73% of them favored the popular vote.
         Of all Democrats asked the same question, 78% favored the popular vote system.
         When respondents who agree with Tea Party values were asked, 72% of them preferred the popular vote.

    Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    Despite ALEC's opposition and influence, the bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    NationalPopularVote

    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via nationalpopularvoteinc

  •  We're going after ALEC member CCA (0+ / 0-)

    the big private prison co.  Buncha religious types an' rads are visiting detainees in Lumpkin, GA and quickly building community w/ other sectors around this god damn atrocity.  Putting pressure on Southern Co., too.

    I preach the church without Christ, where the lame don't walk, the blind don't see and what's dead stays that way! Hazel Motes in "Wise Blood"

    by chalatenango on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 10:35:01 AM PDT

    •  CCA will be a topic all its own on PPTS (0+ / 0-)

      Amazingly, some kind of what someone calls "Model Legislation" has been created to, get this, sell all state prisons and correction facilities to CCA. The caveat is that the states must promise to keep the facilities at full capacity for a minimum of 20 years.

      A Tennessee corporation with the Tennessee Correction System as it's first customer. Yep. Tennessee Stupid. Stay tuned.

      " Lead would float in a pool of Michelle Bachmann."
      Economic
      Left/Right: -7.75
      Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

      by Bud Fields on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 08:59:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site