It had been common practice for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to deny press credentials to the Center for Media and Democracy which, like the MacIver Institute, covers state politics, only from a more liberal view. CMD has unearthed several “scoops” in recent years, including the cozy relationship between Wisconsin conservative legislators and the infamous American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and how they conspired on legislation.
They also have funded the American Legislative Exchange Council, known by the acronym ALEC, a conservative group that drafts model legislation for states with the goals of cutting taxes, opposing gun restrictions, weakening labor unions, and repealing regulations on business. In addition, ALEC has drafted many laws criminalizing HIV exposure and, at least in its early years, strongly opposed LGBTQ equality. Recently it has teamed up with the anti-LGBTQ Alliance Defending Freedom to promote legislation that supposedly supports free speech on college campuses but would provide no protections for those who demonstrate against campus speakers, according to the Center for Media and Democracy.
The Institute disingenuously calls itself “impartial and unbiased” on its About web page, but also attributes to “free markets” all manner of progress. SourceWatch reveals that the Institute is founded by the Koch brothers, has a president who was formerly an executive with Enron and is tied to the Koch brothers’ infamous American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization that literally writes extreme Right bills for state legislatures.
A story published in Business Alabama, citing a report published earlier this week by PR Watch, said the company “announced a retreat from its commercial paper, particle board and wood products business … (while) renew(ing) its focus on bath tissue.”
“Leo is promising his allies that he’ll return the law to the pre-New Deal era, the robber baron era, and here he is managing to buy the cottage of one of the great robber barons,” says Lisa Graves, a former chief counsel on judicial nominations for the Senate Judiciary Committee and board president of the Center for Media and Democracy, a liberal-leaning government transparency watchdog group.
It is no surprise that Samantha Summers insists a $15 minimum wage hike is detrimental to the workers. The Employment Policies Institute is a very conservative organization, and one of several front groups created by Berman & Companies. Berman & Companies lobbies for restaurants, hotels, alcohol, and tobacco industries.
They own two domains, LivingWage.com and MinimumWage.com, which portray the idea of a living wage as some kind of insidious conspiracy, according to SourceWatch.org.
In the past, ALEC has paid for legislators to attend its conferences, the Investigative Center for Media and Democracy has reported. Legislators who serve as state chairmen for ALEC are expected to collaborate with corporations to raise “scholarship” funds to help pay for legislators to attend ALEC events.
ALEC has remained conspicuously silent about the dangerous and racist statements and ties of its legislative leaders and members Shea, King, Nearman, Stringer, and Keller.
The focus of Big Green environmental and conservation groups that emphasize biodiversity and protecting wildlife and natural habitats like oceans, rainforests, grasslands, and desert ecosystems is different, however. Who gets included as part of “Big Green” is not always consistent, but helpfully the nonprofit Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch identifies 10 lead organizations. These are: Defenders of Wildlife, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, the National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and World Wildlife Fund. (A more extensive list of the 25 largest environmental groups is available here.)
Extinction Rebellion’s protest against ALEC’s “Critical Infrastructure Protection Act” legislation comes as watchdog organizations Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and Common Cause released a new report this week comprehensively detailing ALEC’s influence in Texas. The report identified 58 Texas legislators with known ties to ALEC — the largest of any state’s delegation, representing almost a third of the Texas Legislature. In fact, the authors of both the House and Senate versions of the recent critical infrastructure bill both attended ALEC conferences in recent years.