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.
That’s press day here at the Chronicle, so I likely won’t make it down there, but I’m proud that this current Pride issue is the one that’ll be on the stands representing us there, because ALEC has a history of taking on gay rights as well. The Center for Media and Democracy recently documented how ALEC “is actively working with Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian Right litigation nonprofit that pursues an anti-LGBT agenda” and is identified as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. …
Charen neglected to mention that her think tank is funded by foundations created by big corporations, including big pharma, oil, Forbes and the Koch brothers, according to sourcewatch.org.
Laster works for the California Policy Center, a conservative think tank that’s an affiliate of the State Policy Network. According to a 2012 report from the Center for Media and Democracy, the State Policy Network is a main driver of legislation created by the pro-business American Legislative Exchange Counsel and has deep ties to Charles and David Koch, the energy billionaires who spend vast sums of money to promote conservative causes and candidates. The California Policy Center is dedicated to pushing education reform causes, with a focus on beating back the state’s teachers union. The group has been behind a number of lawsuits designed to hurt unions’ bottom lines.
ALEC describes itself as “America’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism.” That’s about one-half the story. The other half, as the Center for Media and Democracy has reported, is that ALEC is a legislative bill-mill where “global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights.”
In the face of widespread outrage, Trump’s friends from the Summit have gone out of their way to justify his actions.
Please join the Center for American Progress for a discussion on how corporations and special interest groups promote state policies that make corporations and wealthy donors richer, at the public’s expense. It will also examine how lawmakers backed by these groups further corrupt democratic processes to maintain power and keep harmful policies in place.
Lisa Graves, President, Board of the Center for Media and Democracy; Co-Founder, Documented Investigations
Rispone also started and chaired the Louisiana Federation for Children, a state chapter of the national American Federation for Children, defined by SourceWatch as “a conservative 501(c)(4) dark money group that promotes the school privatization agenda via the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and other avenues. The group was organized and is funded by the billionaire DeVos family, who are the heirs to the Amway fortune.” (Yes, that would be the same DeVos – current U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. And on ISC Constructors’ website, there’s a July 2017 article bragging about a meeting Rispone had with the Secretary, and the length of their work together.)
The group leading this charge for the billionaires is called Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG), which SourceWatch.org says, “is a right-wing political organization … that is campaigning for an Article V convention to amend the U.S. Constitution.”
SourceWatch notes that, “Through its ‘Convention of States’ project, CSG promotes an effort to amend the U.S. Constitution pursuant to Article V, which provides that thirty-four states (two-thirds) can trigger a convention to propose an amendment, which must then be ratified by 38 states (three-fourths).”
In Wisconsin the Badger Institute can be relied upon to release reports showing a hike in the minimum wage is a terrible idea. Formerly known as the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, the group has received at least $14.2 million in funding from the conservative Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation including $375,000 in 2018, as the liberal Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has reported.