What do you do when you simply cannot win an election? Clearly the solution is to form an organization that links notable conservative lawmakers and corporate power to tilt the odds in your favor, and the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC has been doing just that for years.
Spawned from a group of individuals who were frustrated that they could not get elected with their pro-business agenda, for decades ALEC has worked behind closed doors with corporations and legislators to draft “model” legislation. What makes this legislation so desirable for ALEC? It is legislation that is drafted for the sole purpose of favorably affecting the corporate bottom line at the expense of our democracy.
Until now it has been difficult to show the connection between ALEC and corporate takeover of democracy. Last week The Center for Media and Democracy uncovered 800 bills and resolutions that were voted on by ALEC members, showing how its unelected corporate members are given a direct voice on the creation of bills that affect the lives of American citizens every day. The agenda embedded in these bills is about tilting the system into favoring those with money and power. Through de-regulation of industry, voter suppression and setting up barriers to direct democracy ALEC legislation has greatly influenced the political landscape in many states.
Here in Wisconsin our democracy has been ravaged by noteworthy ALEC members like Governor Scott Walker & Senate Leader Jeff Fitzgerald, whose commitment is not to their constituents but to an extreme agenda focused on corporate interests. The legislation that has been produced since they have taken office closely mirrors the ALEC agenda. These two have used their power to spearhead efforts to pass bills that strip away union rights, scale back child labor laws, attack the regulation power of environmental agencies, suppress voter rights with strict identification requirements & deregulate the state’s telecommunications industry leaving it free of from accountability or oversight.
Now that ALEC’s true agenda has been exposed, it is crystal clear that when Governor Walker declared Wisconsin as being “Open for Business” he meant just that. Wisconsin’s legislature is being open up for the corporate sector to directly meddle in the daily lives of taxpaying citizens. By corrupting lawmakers and spoon-feeding them “model” legislation this group has shamefully found a way to stifle the voice of hard working people of this state.