Skip to main content

Last week I found an article that started with this:

In a news release from Friday, June 29th, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, the founder of the Tanton Network’s State Legislators for Legal Immigration,
Being that this was the third time in less than a month that the universe had slapped me in the face with the Tanton Network’s State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) – I figured that meant – it's time to try to connect the dots between SLLI and ALEC.  This may be a little long – but I wanted to give you the information and sources that built the story – a story I think people need to know.

There appears to be a dirty little secret lurking in the halls and cocktail parties of the of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meetings  – overt racism.

ALEC is always touting their bipartisan membership – guess their association with these groups may cause people to think twice about that ALEC lie.

Here's a little history to get us started - snips from sources:

The John Tanton Network and the Anti-Immigrant Movement in America
One man is at the heart of the most influential network of anti-immigrant groups in the country.

This man, John H. Tanton, has created an empire of organizations populated by lobbyists, lawyers, legislators, and “experts” that have permeated the very depths of America’s social and political debate on immigration.

What appears to the public as myriad separate voices all advocating for one cause, i.e. severe immigration enforcement, is nothing more than a facade, a collection of craftily constructed front groups, faux-”coalitions,” and spin-offs that are collectively unified in their goal to overwhelm any reasonable debate on immigration with their branded worldview of bigotry.

This collective is known as the John Tanton Network.

John Tanton's Network.
The organized anti-immigration "movement" is almost entirely the handiwork of one man, Michigan activist John H. Tanton.

Here is a list of 13 groups in the loose-knit Tanton network, followed by acronyms if the groups use them, founding dates, and Tanton's role in the groups.

Those organizations designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center are marked with an asterisk (*).

In this list, "founded" means a group was founded or co-founded by John Tanton. "Funded" means that U.S. Inc., the funding conduit created and still headed by Tanton, has made grants to the group.

* American Immigration Control Foundation AICF, 1983, funded
* American Patrol/Voice of Citizens Together 1992, funded
* California Coalition for Immigration Reform CCIR, 1994, funded
   Californians for Population Stabilization 1996, funded
         (founded separately in 1986)
   Center for Immigration Studies CIS, 1985, founded and funded
* Federation for American Immigration Reform FAIR, 1979,
        founded and funded
   NumbersUSA 1996, founded and funded
   Population-Environment Balance 1973, joined board in 1980
   Pro English 1994, founded and funded
   ProjectUSA 1999, funded
* The Social Contract Press  1990, founded and funded

Introducing the State Legislators for Legal Immigration
State Legislators for Legal Immigration is a coalition of anti-immigrant state-elected officials. As a partner of the John Tanton Network, a web of controversial anti-immigrant organizations orchestrated by John Tanton, State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) was founded as a front group by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2007.

FAIR and John Tanton (a Petoskey, Michigan-based retired ophthalmologist) have a long history of working with and financially supporting far-right extremist groups and individuals with virulent anti-immigration agendas and ties to white nationalism. Despite its claims to represent the “mainstream” of the American anti-immigrant movement, FAIR’s history is far from benign.

In 1997, Tanton solicited and received $1.2 million from the white supremacist Pioneer Fund to build his anti-immigrant powerhouse, FAIR. The Pioneer Fund was founded to promote the pseudo-science called eugenics, which purports to show that African Americans are mentally inferior to whites because of their genetic makeup.

SLLI works hand-in-hand with the John Tanton Network to distort the issue of immigration and undermine America’s values of equality and liberty.

FAIR’s legal arm, Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), supplies “model” legislation for members of SLLI and has developed an “online model legislation clearing house” for state legislators. In a press statement, Pennsylvania state representative Daryl Metcalfe, the founder of SLLI, also acknowledged its "working partnership with the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI)."

Daryl Metcalfe – is an ALEC member.

And in 2011 Daryl Metcalfe– was a member of the now defunct Elections and Public Safety Task Force.  The task force that brought us Voter ID, Kill at Will and SB1070.  ALEC has said they disbanded this task force – but the next day the chair of this task force said they just moved the duties and “model” legislation to different task forces – an ALEC slight of hand.

And an additional snip from the article above:

Metcalfe encourages state legislators to intervene in immigration issues, although Constitutional scholars have, for many years, said that immigration enforcement falls exclusively within the domain of the federal government.
And what better place to be able to do this - than an ALEC meeting.

From Media Matters

The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) is the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, better known by its acronym FAIR, which was founded in 1979 by retired Michigan ophthalmologist John Tanton. As the litigation arm of the John Tanton Network, IRLI's primary purpose is to push legal causes that unfairly target immigrant communities. IRLI's purpose is to undermine legal precedent by writing model legislation for Tanton Network organizations, such as State Legislators for Legal Immigration and members of the House Immigration Reform Caucus (both organizations within the larger John Tanton Network).
For some absolutely amazing graphic representations of the John Tanton Network – I strongly recommend this article at MoJo

And Tanton is still at it –  

After a front page Sunday New York Times expose investigating John Tanton’s racist ties and statements appeared in April of this year, Tanton quietly disappeared from FAIR’s board. When this came to light, FAIR claimed that Tanton had decided to leave the board in February, but the organization neglected to mention this little fact to Jason DeParle, the author of the expose. Tanton’s affiliation with the group he founded didn’t stray for too long, though. A few months after his name disappeared from FAIR’s board, he appeared on FAIR’s advisory board where he remains at the time of writing.
And now - ta dah -  the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) really enters the story and takes wings of its own.  Here come the connections to Tanton's Network - SLLI, FAIR, and IRLI - and ALEC.
Arizona State Senator and founding member of the Tanton Network group State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) Russell Pearce was recalled in November of 2011. Pearce is credited as the architect of SB 1070, the divisive Arizona law that sanctions racial profiling.

State Legislators for Legal Immigration doesn't acknowledge Pearce as a co-founder on their webpage - must of gotten too controversial even for them.
Metcalfe is listed as "the founder".
In a news release from Friday, June 29th, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, the founder of the Tanton Network’s State Legislators for Legal Immigration,
In a 2010 article by Beau Hodai entitlted  "Corporate Con Game: How the private prison industry helped shape Arizona’s anti-immigrant law" he notes this:
Pearce is an executive member of ALEC’s Public Safety and Elections Task Force. The private-sector executive members of this task force include CCA, the American Bail Coalition (which is comprised of nine of the nation’s top bail bond insurer/bounty hunter associations), the National Beer Wholesalers Association, the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers Association, the National Pawn Brokers Association and Prison Fellowship Ministries. The private-sector chair of the Public Safety Task Force is the National Rifle Association (NRA).
As a reminder - the Elections and Public Safety Task Force is/was the ALEC task force that brought us Voter ID, Kill at Will and SB1070.

Hodai expands on this in June 2011 in an article entitled "Selling the Anti-Immigration Story: Media blitz gains attention--but little scrutiny--for nativist Federation" where he further connects the dots between Tanton's Network and ALEC.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform is the flagship of a three-tiered organization that includes the Federation Congressional Task Force (FCTF)—the 501(c)(4) lobbying branch—and the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), the legal arm.

In mid-2009, Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce called upon the two “brightest minds” known to him in the sphere of immigration reform: IRLI attorney Kris Kobach and IRLI general counsel Mike Hethmon. Pearce asked the two men to create what became Arizona’s controversial “Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” otherwise known as SB 1070,

In December 2009, more than a month prior to its introduction in the Arizona legislature, Pearce presented the bill as a piece of “model legislation” for dissemination through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC—see Extra!, 5/10; In These Times, 6/21/10). Versions of the bill soon appeared in legislatures nationwide, sparking one of the central debates of the 2010 midterm elections.

By the way – Kobach is employed by Romney now as an “informal advisor”.
Mike Hethmon ran for delegate in Maryland in 2008 and 2010 – one nut job that did not get elected.

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe of SLLI: “There are no innocent illegal aliens

In a news release from Friday, June 29th, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, the founder of the Tanton Network’s State Legislators for Legal Immigration, was quoted as having said:

“There are no innocent illegal aliens because their very first step across the border is a criminal violation of federal immigration law. After that they must break law after law in order to survive, including, but certainly not limited to, committing welfare fraud and stealing jobs from taxpaying Pennsylvania citizens. Since the federal government remains AWOL in fulfilling its constitutional obligation to defend the states against foreign invasion, Pennsylvania state lawmakers have no choice but to stand together to advance the National Security Begins at Home package [...which] will serve as a significant economic deterrent to Pennsylvania’s illegal alien invasion.”

Harsh words, indeed, but Metcalfe has long been a bigoted fire-brand of the anti-immigrant far-right, one who never seems to shy from controversy. From underhanded uses of taxpayer money to a sprawling bigotry that includes constant derision of gays, Muslims and Latinos, Metcalfe has repeatedly proven himself not as a representative of the Pennsylvania people, but a relentless ideologue advancing a contentious agenda.

In 2009 The Progressive States Network published a report by the Center for New Community that contained a list of SLLI state representatives.  When reviewing the 2009 SLLI state representatives list of “participating states” representatives – 67% of them were also ALEC members.

On the today's webpage of the State Legislators For Legal Immigration – you will find the current list of “Participating States” – 41 of 50 states are currently participating and that is a change from 2009 when only 36 of 50 states were participating.  

Each “participating” state has SLLI legislative representatives listed and of that list now 77% of “participating states” legislative members are ALEC members.

In two/three years SLLI gained 12 different  “publishable' state representatives from the “participating states” and guess what – the number of ALEC members also increased by 12!!!!!

Could lead one to believe that Daryl Metcalfe has found a handy dandy little recruiting spot – ALEC MEETINGS!

Another little interesting tidbit is this press lease from the SLLI webpage
Rep Flores Speaks At National Immigration Rally  7/25/2007

(Salem) State Representative Linda Flores (R-Clackamas) will address a rally and news conference 10 am Friday July 27th hosted by a national group called “State Legislators for Legal Immigration. “It is an honor to be asked to speak at this event, especially at such a symbolic and historic location, said Flores. The event will be held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the origin of the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. “Much of the debate over immigration deals with the “rule of law by which we govern in America. What better place to talk about this issue?

Representative Flores joined the national coalition this past spring after co-sponsoring over a dozen bills in the Oregon Legislature to reform immigration laws at the state level. 30 states have now joined this coalition spearheaded by Pennsylvania State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler County). “Despite numerous attempts to generate support for meaningful reform in Oregon legislative leadership simply wasn’t interested, explained Flores. “Instead, a handful of minor bills passed the House and only one significant new law was adopted by both chambers and signed by the Governor. (SB 578)

This happened at the same time that ALEC was having their annual meeting in Philadelphia.
Coincidence that SLLI and ALEC would be rallying at the same time?

Since we do not have a list of SLLI members from 2007 – we can only assume that Representative Flores (OR-ALEC) had more than a passing interest in both SLLI and ALEC.

So - - - - - - based on this little piece of information
WE need to make sure that the following people - who are SLLI-ers and ALEC-ers -  are never re-elected to a public office

Representative Greg Wren
Senator Cam Ward

Rep. Judy Burges,
Ex-Senator Russell Pearce

Rep. Jon Woods

Rep Kent Lambert
Representative B.J. Nikkel
Senator Mike Kopp
Senator Scott W. Renfroe

Rep. Vincent Candelora

Rep. Deborah Hudson

Rep. Ray Pilon
Representative Gayle Harrell

Representative JoAnn Wood

Senator Chris Lauzen

State Representative Eric Koch

Senator Ray Merrick

Delegate Don Dwyer
Delegate Neil C. Parrott, P.E.
Delegate Nic Kipke
Delegate Steve Schuh

Rep. Dave Agema

Representative Steve Drazkowski

Representative Becky Currie

Sen. Brian Nieves
State Rep. Sue Allen

Representative Cary Smith
Representative Wendy Warburton

Senator Charlie Janssen
Senator Tony Fulton

New Hampshire
Rep. Moe Villeneuve
Representative Jordan Ulery

New York
Senator Greg Ball

North Carolina
Rep. Dale R. Folwell

State Rep. Courtney Combs

Representative Kim Thatcher

Representative Daryl Metcalfe

South Carolina
Representative Michael Pitts

South Dakota
Representative Manny Steele

Rep. Joe Carr

Dan Flynn
Leo Berman

Delegate Dave Albo

Representative Matt Shea

West Virginia
Delegate Carol Miller
Delegate John Overington
Delegate Kelli Sobonya
Delegate Linda Sumner
Walter E. Duke

According to the Center for New Community
Members of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) do not operate independently. Each member of SLLI is working hand-in-hand with John Tanton’s (advocate of eugenics) network to misuse the issue of immigration to undermine progressive values.

And evidently there are ALEC legislators working hand-in-hand with Tanton's network.

Originally posted to MNDem999 on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 04:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project.

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

  •  I knew some of the names. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MNDem999, mollyd, Catte Nappe, antirove

    Barbara Coe is a nutbag (along with hate group CCIR which she heads) here in So. Cal--Huntington Beach (which has a long history of white nationalism).  Once I figured that out, it wasn't hard to make other leaps.

    I found this interesting:

    "On the issue of illegal immigration, Gov. Romney stands to the right," Kobach said. "He's the more conservative candidate and I would say head and shoulders above the others, because he has actually taken a very strong law enforcement-oriented anti-amnesty position."
    Romney, who has said he would handle immigration with a hard line if elected president, noted the endorsement on his website and said “I’m so proud to earn Kris’s support." --source
    I have always believed Romney is a racist and I continue to believe it. His association with Kobach, inconvenient as it is, seems to underline that proposition.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 04:27:37 PM PDT

  •  BTW... hope you repost this, if it doesn't get (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lorikeet, MNDem999, mollyd, antirove, bunsk

    enough eyes, on a non-holiday.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 04:28:24 PM PDT

    •  Thanks! Holiday posting are alway a chance (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cany, phonegery

      but I can only do this when I'm not at work - and available to write, post and be here to respond.

      Anyway - it will be out there in case anyone is ever wonders and does a web search to try and find the connection.

      Thank you for taking the time to read it and for suggesting I repost if needed.

      •  Maybe your title is discouraging readers? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Even though "bipartisan" is in quotes, it rather suggests a "both sides do it" message. I think we all know about ALEC, but many don't know/recognize SLLI (I didn't). don't know what I'd title it - maybe something like "ALEC's bigoted shadow partner - SLLI".

        from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

        by Catte Nappe on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 05:37:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Title: ALEC+SLLI = Laws modeling Bigotry & Racism (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I'm guessing there's quite a few other mushrooming groups are flourishing in the shadow of the ALEC tree.  

          Perhaps connecting to John Birch Society (Koch founded) and to other racist groups might be possible.

          Might be useful to cross-reference with the Southern Poverty Law Center's database and/or compare notes with their staff.  

          The odd position of the ACLU against reasonable immigration reforms might be worthy of review as well.  There seems to remain a significant constituency for bigotry and racism and it's got advocates inside many of our institutions, even ones we'd believe to be liberal havens.

          When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

          by antirove on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 07:16:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  reposted with MNDem999's permission (0+ / 0-)


  •  Thank you for the eye-opening information and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site