The Guardian published a set of coordinated fundraising proposals from State Policy Network (SPN) members today that confirm many of these groups’ intent to change state laws and policies, referring to “advancing model legislation” and “candidate briefings.” These activities “arguably cross the line into lobbying,” The Guardian notes. The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) highlighted these questionable political activities in its recent report, “EXPOSED: The State Policy Network: The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government,” as well as in a recent follow-up article.
The State Policy Network (SPN), a web of pressure groups in all 50 states that call themselves “think tanks” while dramatically influencing state law, is a powerful and stealthy ally of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) detailed in the recent report, “EXPOSED: The State Policy Network: The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government.”
In this new online resource, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD, the publisher of the award-winning ALECexposed.org investigation) documents the more than $83 million that right-wing billionaires and corporations are spending each year to fuel Tracie Sharp’s State Policy Network (SPN) and its 64 state “think tank” members.
Twelve new reports released today expose the State Policy Network (SPN), an $83 million web of right-wing “think tanks” in every state across the country. Although SPN’s member organizations claim to be nonpartisan and independent, an in-depth investigation reveals that SPN and its state affiliates are major drivers of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-backed corporate agenda in state houses nationwide, with deep ties to the Koch brothers and the national right-wing network of funders. The reports show how these groups masquerade as “think tanks,” and describe how some of them may be skirting tax laws while really orchestrating extensive lobbying and political operations to peddle their legislative agenda to state legislators, all while reporting little or no lobbying activities.
In October 2012, nine U.S. state legislators went on an industry paid trip to explore the Alberta tar sands. Publicly described as an “ALEC Academy,” documents obtained by CMD show the legislators were accompanied on a chartered flight by a gaggle of oil-industry lobbyists, were served lunch by Shell Oil, dinner by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, and that the expenses of the trip were paid for by TransCanada and other corporations and groups with a direct financial interest in the Alberta tar sands and the proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently adopted a “model” bill from an oil-industry lobby group, that would limit the ability of states to negotiate regional “low-carbon fuel standards” (LCFS), a mechanism designed to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. If agreed by states, LCFS could have a significant impact on the sale of fuels derived from Canadian tar sands in the United States, regardless of any decision the Obama administration makes over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
Just as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) tried to distance itself from its role pushing parts of the NRA’s gun agenda and making it more difficult for American citizens to vote, a controversial right-wing operation has announced that it will step in to help carry forward the “voter ID” agenda.