Several current and former Wisconsin legislators, including GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, have been members of ALEC or attended ALEC conferences over the past several years, according to the Center for Media and Democracy.
That’s a particularly interesting assessment given the role that outside consultants and money has played in Wisconsin’s transformation into a Republican laboratory. “There is tremendous frustration with the influence of out-of-state organizations and out-of-state money,” Lisa Graves, the executive director of the Madison-based Center for Media and Democracy, told Kaufman in a 2012 New York Times article about the state. The Kochs, in particular, have taken interest in the state’s Republican Party — particularly its assault on organized labor — and have poured millions of dollars into the state in recent years, aiding the conservative revolution. Unfortunately, after going for broke to re-elect Scott Walker in 2018, the party is now broke — one maxed-out credit card cost the party $600 a month in interest payments alone.
In a victory for transparency in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has agreed to reverse former Attorney General Brad Schimel’s restrictive policy automatically denying any open records request that generates more than 500 potentially responsive documents, and has turned over several thousand records to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) concerning Schimel’s legal war against the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
According to Ohio state records, The Coalition to Restore American Values is a 501c4 registered non-profit organization. But according to SourceWatch, the sole thing that The Coalition to Restore American Values has done is donate more than $400,000 in advertisements to support Scott Walker. The SourceWatch report also says that nearly all the company’s funding comes from Center to Protect Patient Rights, a Koch Brothers-funded “think tank” headed up by Sean Noble.
Approved by ALEC, Americans for Prosperity, Koch Industries, Peabody Energy, US Chamber of Commerce, and Exxon Mobil in 2018, the copycat bill is dubbed the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, and it seeks to conceal actions and curtail dissent against the oil and gas industry, according to The Center for Media and Democracy.
She also has served as a trustee of the International Life Sciences Institute, which, according to SourceWatch, “was first established in 1978 by Coca-Cola, Heinz, Kraft, General Foods and Procter & Gamble.”
The Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch project has noted that both the Buckeye Institute and Americans for Prosperity have ties to brothers Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries, who are known for supporting far-right policy positions.
Project Veritas, headed by self-described “guerilla journalist” James O’Keefe, is known for creating dubious videos in which they film political figures without their knowledge. The group then takes these videos, edits them in a heavily deceptive way, and uses them as “proof” to allege wrongdoings by those individuals they initially filmed, according to SourceWatch.org.
ALEC reports that it is the largest membership driven organization of legislators in the nation, and yet only two percent of its revenue comes from membership dues, according to The Center for Media and Democracy. The rest of the funding — as the organization works with a yearly deficit of approximately $1 million every year — is donated by captains of industry, Koch Companies, UPS, State Farm Insurance, the tobacco industry, the oil industry, the coal industry, big pharma, and big food-developers.
In February, the Center for Media and Democracy published a review of workplace discrimination and harassment lawsuits that found corporate members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has drafted template bills supporting fracking, “Are Leaders in Workplace Discrimination and Harassment.”