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Common Cause obtains ALEC Agenda Materials, Files Requests for Investigations in 29 States

Common Cause obtains ALEC Agenda Materials, Files Requests for Investigations in 29 States

NOTE: This is a guest blog post from Nick Surgey, a legal associate at Common Cause. This was originally posted on CommonBlog.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) convened today one of its three annual meetings, this one in Charlotte, NC, to discuss and vote on model legislation that it will then promote in all 50 states. Common Cause has obtained thousands of pages of documents, that show for the first time what’s really going on behind closed doors. These materials, including the agenda for today’s meetings,  feature the new bills that corporate lobbyists and state legislators will vote on as equals, including legislation that will roll back environmental protections and labor rights.

Common Cause is making all of these ALEC materials available online for journalists, activists and concerned citizens to examine and share, in order to shine a light on exactly what corporations and legislators are discussing as part of ALEC. This has already begun, and we have begun to see many stories emerging in recent days based on these materials. Crucially, these documents also show what’s on the agenda at today’s meetings in NC. So, for the first time we can see what new laws ALEC is going to promote in the coming years.

Materials from the current and previous ALEC meetings are posted on our website under the main policy topic heading. At the bottom of each category is the agenda for the meeting happening right now in North Carolina.

As these documents are further analyzed and discussed, I will update this post with those articles. To begin with, here is a informative article from Greenpeace on the above Energy, Environment, and Agriculture materials:

Greenpeace: What’s on ALEC’s polluter agenda tomorrow?

Exposing ALEC

There has been a growing uproar around ALEC recently, as increased scrutiny shines a light on their role promoting controversial legislation, including the “Stand your Ground” legislation that became a national issue after the tragic shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida. ALEC is also behind model legislation to roll back environmental protectionsdisenfranchise voterschallenge the Affordable Care Act and reduce corporate taxes.

On Sunday April 22, the New York Times ran a major expose about ALEC on its front page (ALEC, a Tax-Exempt Group, Mixes Legislators and Lobbyists’.) This story was based on thousands of pages of unreleased ALEC documents obtained by Common Cause and shared with the Times. The next day Common Cause, working with one of the US’s most renowned whistleblower law firms Philips & Cohen, filed a 4,000 page IRS Whistleblower complaint against ALEC. Since then, we have asked 29 state Attorneys General to investigate ALEC, including in New YorkNew JerseyKentucky and North Carolina, with more states to follow in the coming weeks.

The documents provided to the IRS clearly show ALEC has been improperly acting as a charity for almost 40 years, providing a tax exemption on corporate contributions, while at the same time telling the IRS that it doesn’t spend a dollar on influencing legislation. We are now also asking that state Attorneys General investigate whether ALEC has broken state tax laws, lobbying disclosure rules and gift regulations.

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Photo courtesy of Common Cause.

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5:34PM PDT on Jun 1, 2012

This is a secret cabal that meets behind closed doors and rules behind the scenes. It's time somebody exposed them.
Gee, Dan B, I think you left out "just plain nasty". Seriously, you could've added "womanizing"--they put women down, but sure do enjoy their trysts. Love your comments!

1:49AM PDT on May 19, 2012

The Koch Bros have been snorting/injecting too much coke, and can no longer function with a brain that has stopped working. That is to say, nothing works except that small part of their brain that likes MONEY AND RICH PEOPLE AND NOTHING ELSE AND NO ONE ELSE MATTERS. These are the kinds of people Romney and the teabaggers attract. OUST THEM ALL IN NOVEMBER. OBAMA 2012 WITH A DEMOCRAT MAJORITY IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE! AMEN!!!

3:49PM PDT on May 18, 2012

Thanks for the info.

3:40PM PDT on May 18, 2012

:Please list the states involved in the lawsuits. I want to know if Alabama is included, we have a major lumber industry here.

7:48AM PDT on May 18, 2012

I noticed no comments from the usual right wing wackos.

6:11AM PDT on May 18, 2012

I'm not surprised at all by this but I'm hoping that some of our elected officials will be and that it prompts them to act on this. ALEC should be TAXED to the nth degree!

5:46PM PDT on May 17, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

5:28PM PDT on May 17, 2012

The regressive Republican Party of No is obstructionist, mean-spirited, thuggish, religiously fanatical, scientifically ignorant, corrupt, hypocritical, untrustworthy, xenophobic, racist, sexist, homophobic, evolution and global warming denying, oily, anti-environment, anti-health, anti-consumer, anti-choice, anti-birth control, anti-education, anti-99%, union busting, Medicare mashing and Social Security slashing, fiscally irresponsible, misleading, authoritarian, selfish, greedy, out-of-touch, dishonest, lacking compassion, warmongering, and otherwise dangerous.

NEVER vote for Republicans.

3:33PM PDT on May 17, 2012

Isn't there laws about influencing congress?????
How about people taking bribes??
Or maybe representatives...getting fired for not representing their constituents???

3:26PM PDT on May 17, 2012

Maybe there will be no more 'smart-alecky'attitudes in politics when ALEC gets taken down

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