Your help sought for a smaller American corporation that has a very real ethical dilemma that involves the Koch Brothers' American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
I have a friend. We'll call him Willy. Willy works for a manufacturing company that isn't the size of a General Motors or a Google, but they still have more than 70 million customers in a dozen countries. He's the point guy for the company who tries to get the corporation's business done with the federal and local governments.
A very few of his customers develop legal problems using the company's products. Not a manufacturing issue, but some secondary use issues where lawyers are pushing on people's freedom to use the products without much merit, with the help of some poorly written laws.
None of this affects the company. Their products have no legal troubles at all. Totally golden. He does worry that lawyers looking to find new places to mine for litigious loot might target more of their clients, which might, long-term, kill his sales.
To score a win for his customers, and prevent a possible drop off in sales down road, he can go and try and get these laws changed.
It should be a no-brainer, because the whole problem triggers both liberals and staunch conservatives' buttons, albeit from different approaches, in much the same way.
He talks about his problem with colleagues in the industry. One day he gets a call from ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. For a hefty fee, they can fix the problem.
ALEC, for those who don't know them, is the Koch-funded Grover Norquist brainchild McLegislation shop. Forget buying influence like the K Street lobbyists do. ALEC writes up legislation, and hands it over to the low-IQ, high dogma Tea Party morons who follow orders well.
No hand-to-hand schmoozing, arm-twisting, wining and/or dining. Drop a brick of cash, and the Teahadi legions run with your Big MacBill into 20 or 30 states.
The company is pretty a-political. Willy is a life-long Dem himself. He doesn't live under a turnip truck, so he knows about ALEC's history peddling the darker, anti-minority, anti-woman legislation of the Kochs et al. You know, the Stand Your Ground, Voter "ID"/Nullification, and "magic wand" anti-abortion intrusions that limit women's access to health care and reproductive choice.
Willy even "gets" the broader implications about the damage that ALEC does to democracy.
Republicans like to talk a lot about upholding "original intent" but this whole legislative/democracy thing that stymies them from carrying out their 19th century agenda is inconvenient.
You see, the whole point of having elected officials is that they're supposed to be responsive to their constituents. Even though K Street has bought and paid for elected officials on both sides of the aisle, and may have even provided "assistance" in the form of policy briefs to an official's staff to draft a bill, ALEC takes the process one step further, removing the actual legislation writing and providing a "canned" bill that requires little, if any modification in any state where it is entered into the system.
Willy rationalizes it this way: Our company doesn't buy into the whole ALEC deal, but if we do this one bit of legislation with them, they have the power to quick fix the problem that does a lot of net good even if ALEC's other legislative activities discriminate against minorities, and rob women of the right to make decisions about their own bodies to satisfy a couple of kooky Kochs and their Dead Billionaire's Club pals.
The problem is that Willy's company's money fronts more of the gridlock and canned bills that are rapidly turning this country into a corporatocracy where the sheeple have no real voice. His company's money, and the big money of a handful of other major corporate players and über-rich folk baldfaced own the United States of America. Representative democracy without the representation, unless you have a fat enough wallet to buy votes in state houses or on Capitol Hill.
There is also the whole Trojan Horse thing. If ALEC goes white knight and does business on issues that companies with centrist, liberal, or apolitical leanings, does it just mask the rest of their agenda, or has Grover's moron-feeder at least developed a more balanced political approach, as they're selling to reputation-sensitive corporates who worry that minorities and women might stop buying from them if they are found to be doing business.
Willy says that ALEC is the only game in town to beat back legislation that progressives would find unsatisfactory.
So I put it to you, dear KOSers. Does doing with business with ALEC for a "good" cause outweigh ALEC's affect on constitutional democracy and the "bad" bills that target select groups in society? Your comments and/or poll answers will be shared with "Willy"...