Caught on-camera: ALEC’s off-duty sheriff’s deputies getting TV reporters thrown out of their own hotel for “taking pictures in the hotel”, after ALEC’s marketing droid denied any lobbying going on, nevermind the lobbyist and legislator in a bar spelling out how it works: ALEC gives “scholarships” to legislators who then meet in closed rooms with corporate reps (including all the companies involved in the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline) who have equal votes on draft bills for legislators to get passed as law in many states. Bills promoting fracking, pipelines, LNG export, and against solar power, renewable portfolio standards, not to mention for private prisons and privatized education and against municipal broadband and country-of-origin labelling, plus many other corporate give-aways subsidized by the taxpayers and the environment. It’s time for the IRS to revoke ALEC’s 501(c)(3) status. And for the Georgia legislature to apply the state’s sunshine laws to itself.
Brendan Keefe and Michael King, WXIA-TV, 22 May 2015, Legislators and corporate lobbyists meet in secret at Georgia resort,
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WXIA) — The Georgia Legislature has a message for voters: don’t ask us about our meetings with corporate lobbyists behind closed doors.
The 11Alive Investigators tracked lawmakers to a resort hotel in Savannah last week, where we observed state legislators and lobbyists mingling in the hotel bar the night before they gathered in private rooms to decide what new laws would best serve the corporations.
The meetings were part of the Spring Task Force Summit of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.
There’s lots more in the report, such as:
A letter House Speaker David Ralston signed in 2013 on ALEC letterhead, obtained by thinkprogress.org, asked “members of the business community” to help fund these trips. “Your support of the scholarship fund is critical, enabling Georgia legislators to join and attend the annual (ALEC) meetings. Please note that 100 percent of the raised funds are tax-deductible and are for ALEC expenses directly related to education efforts for legislators.”
Speaker Ralston’s office responded to our request by saying “welcome to Georgia,” but did not answer any of our questions.
He’s not the only one. Here’s a list of known Georgia ALEC politicians.
ALEC is not just a lobbying organization: it’s a shadow national congress in which corporations get equal votes with elected legislators.
Here are some specific examples of the corporate boondoggles ALEC’s shadow congress shops to many states at the same time: to prohibit disclosure of fracking chemicals, to make state PSCs subsidize pipelines, a Resolution in Support of the Keystone XL Pipeline, a Resolution In Support of Expanded Liquefied Natural Gas Exports, a bill to revoke renewable energy portfolio standards, a solar generation tax, bills against water quality and air quality, for mandated private prison beds, against municipal broadband, the ALEC Model Living Wage Mandate Preemption Act, a bill whitewashing overuse of antibiotics on livestock in corporate farms, a bill defining photographing such practices as “ecological terrorism”, and far more. If your corporation has money to spend on “scholarships” to get legislators to ALEC meetings, you can probably get some model legislation approved that will get shopped to many state legislatures, and likely made into law.
ALEC members include all of the companies involved in all three components of the Southeast Market Pipelines Project: Sabal Trail (FPL, Spectra, and Duke), Hillabe Expansion Project (Williams Co.), and Florida Southeast Connection (FPL).
- Duke Energy Corp. (merged with Progress Energy, another ALEC member), State corporate co-chair of Indiana and South Carolina Member of ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force – The ALEC Exposed coalition, including Greenpeace, is asking Duke Energy to cut ties to ALEC.
- Florida Gas Transmission Co.
- Florida Power Corp.
- Spectra Energy (natural gas infrastructure company), “Trustee” level sponsor of 2011 ALEC Annual Conference ($5,000 in 2010)
- The Williams Companies (natural gas company), State corporate co-chair of Oklahoma
But remember: “Don’t say nothing.”
Or maybe we should say: revoke ALEC’s 501(c)(3) status and stop electing ALEC legislators.