Grover Norquist says raising taxes on the middle class isn’t a tax increase


Editorial Note: For my dear conservative readers who get rattled with me  when I use the word Republicon or point out that the lunatics have taken over the asylum at the GOP, this article is to help you understand why. The only oath party members should be taking is to the constitution,  to protect the rights of the voters. Even tho John Hunstmen is by far the most qualified to be president in the running for the GOP, he hasn’t got a chance because he won’t take the oath to Norquist.
 
Anyone aware of the cult of Norquist should know about ALEC,  this oath also includes FAITHFULLY abiding to all of ALEC ‘s reform  measures. Which basically dismantles local and state governments, selling off the public good to corporations for profitization.  Profitization you ask??
 
Its my new word for privatization.  If you think it’s a good idea to sell OUR public schools, police/fire depts, librarys , national parks, post offices, roads ETC to companies to turn them into profit making entities – you are completely brainwashed it you think that’s in your best interest.
 
Please everyone go to AlecExposed.com and PRWatch.org, it’s a lot of important information you need to know about how the Koch brothers, Grover Norquist and friends are threatening our democracy. Refusing to tax the rich while robbing the middle class of everything, our way of life and our liberty.  They started these illegal wars that are literally bankrupting the country, refusing to back off while playing the “terrorist card” – another lie they created. 
 
The Republicon aim is to make us as miserable and desperate as possible, then come election time after pointing their fingers at Obama for four years “Saying he did it to you” the obstructionist bastards think we’re stupid enough to believe it this time.
 
Robert Sobel's photo

Orlando Liberal Examiner

December 2, 2011

 If you’re talking about stereotypes throughout history, liberals and Democrats have always been labeled with words like “soft” and “weak” and Republicans have always been the party that was “strong” especially on issues of war and the economy. Over the last few years however, those labels have started to change. President Obama has ended the war in Iraq, drawn down in Afghanistan, killed Osama Bin Laden and was part of the effort that killed Gaddafi. In the meantime, the Republicans have been held back by a decision they’ve made. That decision that has held them back is named Grover Norquist.

Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform, created the Taxpayer Protection Pledge which was signed by 95% of Republicans in congress and all but one, Jon Huntsman, of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates. With Republicans locked into the pledge and scared of the backlash if they back off from it, conservatives don’t look as strong as the “strong” stereotype might make you think. Apparently not all tax increases are bad though. Recently, Grover Norquist told a group of Republicans that a tax increase on the middle class wasn’t really a tax increase. The national Journal’s Bill House sent a tweet reporting on the issue.
Advertisement
@HouseinSession- Norquist advises a room of House Republicans Thursday that a failure to extend the payroll tax cut should not be viewed as raising taxes.
President Obama is trying to extend the payroll tax cut that would put around $1,000 in the pockets of middle class Americans while paying for it with a small tax increase on people making more than a million dollars a year. Republicans are showing once again that they are the slave of Norquist and that tax increases are only bad if it’s happening to wealthy Americans.

Banking on Bondage: Mass Incarceration and Private Prisons


Investigate Money in State Politics

Money in state politics plays a pivotal role in shaping public policy in individual states and across the nation. We track political donations in all 50 states. Take a look.

Jump Into the Data!

Who represents me?

  • Banking on Bondage: Mass Incarceration and Private PrisonsIn this report, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) examines the history of prison privatization. The report concludes that private prison companies owe their continued and prosperous existence to skyrocketing immigration detention as well as the firm hold they have gained over elected and appointed officials through campaign contributions and lobbying. Figures for state-level contributions were taken from the Institute’s data

  • What's New Icon

  • Unholy Alliance: How the private prison industry is corrupting our democracy and promoting mass incarcerationUsing the most recent data on private prison lobbying and campaign contributions, Public Campaign and PICO National Network use this report to connect the dots between rising incarceration rates, increased detention of immigrants, growing private prison revenue, and increased spending on political campaigns and lobbying. The report contends that private prison lobbyists regularly buy influence with state and federal officials to change or preserve policies that increase the number of people behind bars. All information on state lobbying and campaign contributions is based on data provided by the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

  • Follow this link for everything you wanted to know about money in politics but were afraid to ask:
  • http://www.followthemoney.org/index.phtml

ALEC’s Corrosive, Corrupt influence on the GOP and the 2012 Presidential Election


 

Thanks goes to Pancho for submitting this excellent piece on ALEC,  the American Legislative Exchange Council which is one of the most dangerous organizations driving the right wing to destroy America. The GOP is literally selling everything they possibly can to turn a profit including the educational system, police and fire departments, library’s, parks, post offices. You name it, the reason they hate government is because they see something they can profit from!!! Wake the hell up Republicon’s and Teabaggers, your party is destroying everything that made America a wonderful country.

Granted many Democrats are just as bad, but at least the whole damn party hasn’t taken an oath  to Grover Norquist.  The only oath your representative should be taking is to serve YOUR best interest, not to protect the tax’s of corporations and the wealthy. There’s plenty of information about ALEC on the left under the Rise of Fascism in America category,  please educate yourself and wake up to the fact the Republicon party has accomplished nothing but huge deficits, wars and hate.  That’s their track record.

If you plan on voting Republican next year you’re insane, because Ron Paul won’t get the nomination. Which leaves nothing but a bunch of game show contestants who are nothing but corporate shills. The really sick thing is you’re so brainwashed to hate Obama you’ll vote against your best interests and the interests of the nation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mr. Hodai was considered to be a persona  non grata from the (Koch-funded ALEC) conference (management).”

Toronto Star
Olivia Ward
Dec. 18, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.—There’s something rotten in the air. A muggy,
oniony, chemical smell that wafts over the lines of uniformed riot
police, paddy wagons and metal barriers that are holding back a
straggle of protesters waving slapdash placards reading “Shut Down
ALEC.”

“Get back ma’am, for your own safety,” a courteous voice warns me.
“They’re gonna start pepper spraying.”

Pepper spray?

It’s a surreal touch at the lush, sprawling Westin Kierland Resort,
where the air is scented with fragrant flowering bushes and the
aromatic lotions of the spa.

But the protesters are at the gate, and inside, hundreds of state
legislators from all over the U.S., their wives and entourages are
meeting with corporate leaders for a three-day annual policy summit.
Or, to their banner-bearing foes, a cradle of “corporate profiteering
at the expense of our communities.”

“Today only,” blazons a sign hoisted by a silver-haired protester,
“Buy One Senator Get One Free!”

The target of this anger is the American Legislative Exchange Council,
or ALEC — a benign, user-friendly acronym that fits the friendly turf
of Scottsdale, where the grass is always greener and everything is for
your comfort and safety.

I’m here to learn more about this increasingly muscular organization,
formally an educational non-profit — and one that shuns the “L” word,
lobbyist. It puts state lawmakers together with representatives from
some of the country’s most powerful corporations to advance their
legislative agendas. And it’s the most influential organization the
majority of Americans have never heard of.

As the coming federal election sucks all the oxygen out of America’s
political room, it’s easy to ignore the power of the states, and the
changes that are quietly taking place across the country independent
of — and often hostile to — the federal government. But, for
understanding grassroots America, ALEC, here in God’s golf country, is
a good place to start.

In the words of its manifesto, “ALEC provides its public- and
private-sector members with a unique opportunity to work together to
develop policies and programs that effectively promote the
Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government,
federalism and individual liberty.”

And the success of its efforts is in little doubt.

By its own record, it has created an arsenal of about 800 “model”
bills, templates or blueprints for future laws. They are tabled about
1,000 times a year across the country; about one in five are passed.

Some 2,000 state legislators belong to the organization, the vast
majority of them Republican, in spite of its avowed non-partisan
membership. And with Republicans now controlling half of all state
governments, they pack an added punch.

To the protesters, and the growing number of media and
non-governmental organizations who study it closely, ALEC is a factory
for legislative bills that replicate across the 50 states, with the
aim of undercutting the public sector and the role of government and
promoting free-market policy at state level, where it often counts the
most.

ALEC-backed provisions have opposed climate change legislation and
environmental regulation, stoked the effort to privatize prisons and
schools, pushed for rollbacks of workers’ rights, for limited voting
rights and tax breaks for the wealthy. The results, critics say, line
the pockets of corporations — a charge ALEC and its defenders insist
is misrepresenting its operating style.

“The benefits of ALEC are that you don’t have to walk through 50
different legislatures,” says Jeff Reed, an Indiana “school choice”
advocate who campaigns for developing alternatives to the public
school system. “You can share ideas with everyone in the same room.
But the people in the room are not in lockstep.”

But ALEC’s very success in advancing its policies has sparked a
backlash in states such as Ohio and Wisconsin, where police and
firefighters joined protests against anti-union legislation.

Recall campaigns have been launched to end the terms of conservative
lawmakers in several states. And the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People petitioned the UN to protest restrictive
voting laws in 14 states, inspired, they say, by ALEC’s model
legislation.

“When a company needs a state bill passed,” writes the
far-from-radical Bloomberg Businessweek, “the American Legislative
Exchange Council can get it done.”

ALEC officials routinely deny it, insisting that in this “laboratory
of democracy” lawmakers, not corporations, have the final word on the
bills that emerge for approval: if companies have a hand on the
legislative tiller, it is not the upper hand.

The group’s 300-strong corporate members include some of the most
high-profile in America: among them AT&T, Wal-Mart, GlaxoSmithKline,
UPS, Pfizer, Bayer, Verizon, and Koch Industries — headed by the
Kansas-based billionaire brothers nicknamed “the Kochtopus” for their
wide-ranging financial and ideological influence.

Outside the wire, the protesters are growing weary, and police have
peeled off their sci-fi gas masks.

“We’ve arrested five,” mutters a close-cropped plainclothes man to his
phone, as I’m warned again not to venture beyond the barrier. Earlier,
an Arizona reporter narrowly escaped arrest for disobeying orders.

As the protesters begin to disperse, a stocky dark-skinned man stays
behind to harangue the police: “You and me, bro, we’re all part of the
99 per cent. ALEC is the 1 per cent. D’you get it, bro? Who are you
protecting here?” The front line cops glance at each other uneasily,
not moving.

“I was taking pictures and I stepped into a line between the police
and protesters,” Ezra Kaplan, a 23-year-old student activist, tells me
later. “The police moved in and I was trapped.”

Seventeen hours after he was thrown to the ground and arrested, Kaplan
says, he was released and his knapsack returned — “but not my camera,
which was worth $1,000.”

Like many of the protesters, he was drawn to this site by a conviction
that the political system is broken, and ALEC part of the wrecking
crew.

“You know that painting The Scream?” asks 51-year-old Diane D’Angelo,
another activist and protester. “That’s what it’s like for me most
days.

“I work, but I’m here for my friends who don’t have proper jobs or
health insurance. I know of some who have committed suicide in this
recession, but there’s no interest in people like them. Members of
ALEC seem to have forgotten what the Constitution means. They make
their own legislation.”

Inside the hotel’s vast conference wing all is calm and bright, in
spite of the numerous vigilant security guards. Here, in a parallel
universe of bonhomie, the men and women in suits who are liaising over
morning lattes are the 99 per cent, and the Occupiers, out of sight
and mind, the 1 per cent. It’s not the percentages, but the placement
that counts here.

Conference tables are strewn with soberly titled reports by right-wing
think tanks allied with ALEC: the Heritage Foundation, the Goldwater
Institute, the Franklin Center, the Tax Foundation and more.

They explain how poor states can become richer by cutting taxes, how
retiree health benefits can be reined in, how “school choice” can
create private alternatives to education. The evils of “Obamacare” are
laid out, along with articles inveighing against federal waste. An
anti-abortion group, Americans United for Life, hands out a model
legislation guide to “changing laws to protect human life, state by
state.”

“I heard there was some kind of protest out there,” says a portly man
with a jovial smile, who lines up alongside me to pick up ALEC
credentials, handily strung on an Arizona Association of Realtors
lanyard. “I guess those guys just don’t have anything better to do.
They’d be further ahead if they’d go out and get a job.”

The conversation ends abruptly as I’m handed my badge with the
radioactive label “Media.”

But in spite of reports of the group’s secrecy and antipathy to the
media, my application has been rapidly processed, and response to my
interview requests from its diligent young communications director,
Kaitlyn Buss, prompt and polite. And although some critics were
refused entry, a reporter from a Phoenix paper, who has written
sharply unflattering stories on ALEC, was admitted without question.

“There’s a big disconnect between what (the protesters) think happens
here and what’s outlined in our publications,” maintains Jonathan
Williams, one of ALEC’s senior strategists. “They think we’re a
secretive organization — but how do they know that? How do they know
we’re here?

“We have it on our website, very clearly, where our meetings are, what
our publications are. I write op-eds in the national press that are
open to everybody.”

Williams, an affable, articulate tax wizard who calls himself a
“centre-right kind of guy,” says ALEC’s agenda is much misunderstood.

Far from being a cheek-by-jowl elite of lawmakers and lobbyists —
“crusaders” who aim to shrink government to the size where they can
drown it in the bathtub — it creates “the best agenda for taxpayers at
large to create jobs and increase the overall standard of living
throughout the United States regardless of income group. At the end of
the day the best form of welfare is giving everybody a job.”

At a price.

The price includes doing away with the “ever-increasing federal
environmental and energy regulations” that are in ALEC’s crosshairs.
So are obtrusive unions, workers’ rights, and public pensions and
retiree benefits that are threatening states with “generational
theft.”

Taxing the rich is no solution to the economic dilemma, Williams
assures me. It’s a lose-lose to “demonize business.” Slap on the taxes
and “they’ll only move somewhere else” and take the jobs with them. In
a globalized world, nobody is safe. Competitiveness is the key.
Keeping jobs in America is vital — but China is just around the
corner.

Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan and the Constitution. As lunch is
served in the cavernous ballroom, homage is paid to ALEC’s holy
trinity by an enthusiastic audience that is predominantly white and
over 40. Darker-skinned people carry the trays, an echo of 1787.

“Our patron saint, Thomas Jefferson, said that ‘my reading of history
convinces me that most (bad) government results from too much
government,’” intones a host, to resounding applause. “How true that
is.”

The Founding Fathers are dear to ALEC because they speak of a simpler
time when the federal government didn’t get in the way of the states,
or taxation and regulation in the way of progress. A time when “these”
United States took precedence over “this” U.S. of today.

“We’d like to see a shift of power,” William Howell, the gentlemanly,
silver-haired speaker of the house in Virginia, explains to me later:
“It would restore the states’ powers that (the federal government) has
usurped.”

Howell is ALEC’s federalism expert and a prominent backer of a
constitutional amendment to repeal federal laws to which two-thirds of
states object. Federal health-care legislation, for instance, should
be barred because “if the federal government can require you to buy a
product (i.e. health insurance) it can do anything.”

Howell’s vision for America is “50 thriving states. A much more
limited federal and state government.” A vision devoutly wished by
many of the legislative and corporate members here.

That is the Constitutional way, says Howell, the sort of favourite
uncle you would invite to a family dinner. “The Constitution was
authored by Virginians and we take great pride in it. It’s flexible
enough for 300 million people as it was for 13 million.”

Born in 1973, to a group of conservative state lawmakers and policy
wonks, ALEC can’t claim the provenance of the Founding Fathers. But
after a modest beginning during President Richard Nixon’s term, and a
slow ascendancy, it became a resounding hit in recent years, backed by
corporate heft.

Now thousands of the elect and the elected head for its conferences,
the latter assisted by ALEC’s “scholarship” funds. Some join the nine
task forces and legislative boards that create template bills,
alongside similar bodies set up for their corporate counterparts. The
final vote, ALEC says, has no input from the corporations. (Critics,
unsurprisingly, say otherwise. “Through ALEC, behind closed doors,
corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire
that directly benefit their bottom line,” says the watchdog Center for
Media and Democracy.)

For Howell, and other lawmakers here, belonging to ALEC is a shortcut
to effective, winnable legislation.

“If I flew to Las Vegas I wouldn’t know anybody,” he explains. “We
have 50 laboratories to find out what they’ve all been doing. ALEC
provides a meeting point, and the distinguishing feature is they’re
very interested in liberty and the free market.”

The air of Scottsdale is free too, of pepper spray. I stroll back to
my room in the nearby Westin Kierland Villas complex, along the
manicured golf course and the limpid pond on which float a family of
ducks.

Overhead three helicopters hover. One breaks away and seems to shadow
my path. After the years I have spent in conflict zones helicopters
are not a good omen. I squint into the dazzling blue sky and wave. The
chopper wheels back and lazily retreats. Later, that night I fall into
a fitful sleep, pursued by a dark helicopter that always outflanks me.

There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear. . .

Back at the conference, a workshop on pension reform is winding up a
lengthy discussion of a proposed Public Pension Accounting
Responsibility Act. The act would force legislators to “tell the
truth” about state pensions, which ALEC supporters claim are
undermining (if not collapsing) state finances.

As the audience files out for a coffee break, I stay behind and wait
for the Fiscal Policy Reform Working Group to begin. It will drill
down on one the hottest issues in Washington, tax reform, and review a
model bill on opposing state bailouts by the federal government.

A friendly voice greets me: Kaitlyn Buss.

“I hope you’re enjoying the conference,” she says. “But I’m afraid
you’ll have to leave the room.”

“But I’ve just sat through another working group. Why is this one different?”

“Some are open, others aren’t. It’s just the rules.”

Night falls, and the tiny sports bar in the hotel basement is crowded.
A ruddy-faced man jumps to his feet, sweating, as touchdowns are
scored on the big screen. He volleys the results at a huddle of young
women who seem barely aware of the action.

Nor am I. I’m talking to a fellow hotel guest, Beau Hodai, a
journalist from the left-wing magazine In These Times who has written
probing articles on ALEC. Unlike me, he hasn’t enjoyed its
co-operation and credentials. His calls have gone unanswered, and he
has been turned back by the police and guards who firewall the
meeting.

The noise level in the bar rises and so do I. As I say goodnight, Beau
is summoned by hotel security and herded away toward the elevator by
uniformed police. Why? In Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbia, I was evicted
from my hotel by machine-gun-toting militias as the Kosovo war began.
But in America. . . ?

As I stand staring, two cops flank me: Do I know this man? Who is he?

Beau has disappeared now. Will anything I say be used against him? I
square my shoulders and think of my British mother: “How dare you ask
me such a question? Is this a morality charge? Are hotel guests of the
opposite sex forbidden to speak in a bar? Is this Iran or the land of
the free?”

We face off, not blinking. The questions continue. At last the
inquisitors give in. “Ma’am, you’re free to go.”

They are pointing me toward the lobby, and the front door. On cue, the
helpful young man at the bell desk calls the hotel shuttle to convey
me to the Villas.

At 11 p.m., some 45 minutes later, I call Beau’s number. He is now in
another hotel, his stay at the Westin Kierland terminated abruptly.

“They said they were throwing me out and that they would escort me to
the room to get my belongings,” he tells me. “I had to leave right
then and there — or be arrested.” Off-duty police, it appears, were
moonlighting as security for the conference, but no less determined to
do their duty as they saw it.

(Back in Toronto I reach the hotel’s managing director, Bruce Lang, by
phone and am told, “Mr. Hodai was considered to be a persona non grata
from the conference.” But he adds, “not by the hotel, not by the
police. . . He clearly presented a threat to the conference, based on
his history.”) That would be the threat of investigative journalism?

In the Phoenix airport I move through the tanned, jostling holiday
crowd toward the Air Canada gate.

What just happened here? I board the plane and settle back to watch
the Arizona landscape disappear. The dry, dusty beige and the achingly
lush green. The baronial resorts and the desert shacks. The conference
too has dispersed, and the hotel resumed the even tenor of its ways.
Business as usual. And I think of ALEC and the Constitution it
reveres.

The First Amendment.

“Congress shall make no law. . . abridging the freedom of speech, or
of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to
petition the Government for redress of grievances.”

The 99 per cent, and the 1 per cent. A nation divided under God.

Koch Brothers, ALEC and the Savage Assault on Democracy | Common Dreams


by John Nichols

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch finally got their way in 2011. After decades of funding the American Legislative Exchange Council, the collaboration between multinational corporations and conservative state legislators, the project began finally to yield the intended result.
For the first time in decades, the United States saw a steady dismantling of the laws, regulations, programs and practices put in place to make real the promise of American democracy.

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch finally got their way in 2011. After decades of funding the American Legislative Exchange Council, the collaboration between multinational corporations and conservative state legislators, the project began finally to yield the intended result. For the first time in decades, the United States saw a steady dismantling of the laws, regulations, programs and practices put in place to make real the promise of American democracy. That is why, on Saturday, civil rights groups and their allies will rally outside the New York headquarters of the Koch Brothers to begin a march for the renewal of voting rights in America.

For the Koch Brothers and their kind, less democracy is better. They fund campaigns, with millions of dollars in checks that have helped elect the likes of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Ohio Governor John Kasich. And ALEC has made it clear, through its ambitious “Public Safety and Elections Task Force,” that while it wants to dismantle any barriers corporate cash and billionaire bucks influencing elections, it wants very much to erect barriers to the primary tool that Americans who are not CEOs have to influence the politics and the government of the nation: voting.

That crude calculus, usually cloaked in bureaucracy and back-room dealmaking, came into full view in 2011.

Across the country, and to a greater extent than at any time since the last days of southern resistance to desegregation, voting rights were being systematically diminished rather than expanded.

ALEC has been organizing and promoting the assault, encouraging its legislative minions to enact rigid Voter ID laws and related attacks on voting rights in more than three dozen in states.

With their requirements that the millions of Americans who lack drivers licenses and other forms of official paperwork go out and purchase identification cards in order to cast ballots, the Voter ID push put in place new variations on an old evil: the poll tax.

“We are in the midst of the greatest coordinated legislative attack on voting rights since the dawn of Jim Crow,” says NAACP President Benjamin Jealous. “Voter ID laws are nothing but reincarnated poll taxes and literacy tests, and ex-felon voting bans serve the same purpose today as when they were created in the wake of the 15th Amendment guaranteeing ex-slaves the vote—suppressing voting numbers among people of color.”

Voter ID laws represent only the beginning of the assault on voter rights. In states across the country in 2011, conservative governors and legislators who had swept to power in the 2010 election moved to restrict access to the polls in other ways. They ended election-day registration programs in state such as Maine, ending a practice that had allowed new voters to come to the polls, fill out a simple form and cast a ballot. They restricted early-voting in states such as Ohio, making it dramatically harder for citizens to cast ballots in the run-up to an election. They scrapped weekend-voting in Ohio, where working men and women had been able to cast ballots on their days off. They placed new restrictions on voting by students at colleges and technical schools, even going so far in Wisconsin as to move the primary election date to when most students were on summer break. They reduced the number of polling places in some states, making it harder for voters who lack transportation to get to the polls. And after they established the Voter ID requirements in Wisconsin, and said that citizens had to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get the proper paperwork, they tried to reduce the number of DMV offices.

“For nearly a century, there were Jim Crow laws in place that discouraged people of color from voting, explains Wade Henderson, the president and CEO of The Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights. “Today, there are different laws, but the objective is the same—to prevent millions from exercising their right to vote.”

No one who is serious about voting and elections misses the point of the project.

The point is not just to make it harder to vote. The point is to make it harder for citizens to elect legislators, governors, members of Congress and presidents who will regulate and tax multinational corporations such as Koch Industries, while at the same time establishing programs that meet the needs of the great mass of Americans. “Now, just as before, they are seeking to block us from voting in order to make it easier to come after our other rights,” says Mike Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers. “Everything we care about is at stake, from the right to a quality education to the right to a fair wage.”

It is with all of this in mind that the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund and allied civil rights and civil liberties organizations, churches and unions have endorsed the  “Stand for Freedom” voting rights campaign, which will launch with a march Saturday from the offices of the Koch Brothers to the United Nations. At the United Nations, the groups will mark Human Rights Day by calling for an end to assaults on voting rights in the United States.

The choice of the Koch Brothers office as a starting point is not symbolic. It is practical. For decades, the Koch Brothers and their foundation have funded ALEC and other groups that are now driving the attack on voting rights in states across the country.

The people are pushing back. In November, Mainers voted by an overwhelming margin to restore election-day registration. In other states, voting rights has become a central political issue. And, now, that issue is being raised at the headquarters of the Koch Brothers — and the United Nations.

“From the beginning of our nation’s founding, Americans have understood that voting was fundamental to their pursuit of freedom and equal opportunity,” says Lillian Rodríguez López, President of the Hispanic Federation.  “Any attempt to undermine the right to vote, especially when that effort is directed at historically marginalized groups, must be treated as an attack on the very ideals that created our country: democracy and equality. And that is why we stand up for freedom and continue to fight for the right to vote for all Americans.”

Koch Brothers, ALEC and the Savage Assault on Democracy | Common Dreams.

ATTN Conservatives: People in Power – The Koch Brothers


Aloha to my Friends and Conservative readers!

 

Please take time to watch this very important short documentary on the radicalization of the Republican and Libertarian right wing. This should help people better understand the 30 year plan being implemented behind the scenes since Reagan took office and a plan that’s now coming to fruition. A small group of billionaires are all tied in with the same group that also owns mass media – our messenger – so that the right-wing conservatives have been controlling the message for so long that most Americans are like a frog in a boiling pot and haven’t been aware of the slow insidious shift to the far right end of the political spectrum.

 

Funny thing, while conservatives yell and scream about socialism and communism taking root under Obama,  why don’t they recognize the fascism that already has a stranglehold on our democracy from the right wing.  Ahhh maybe they haven’t been taught that fascism is when corporations have control of the reigns of power in government. This time it’s been bought and it’s exactly what’s been going on for 30 years with the Koch brothers cabal, as fascism has taken firm hold of the GOP and Republican right wing of American politics.

 

Honestly, the venomous hatred toward Obama isn’t unprecedented in the modern era American politics. They called Clinton a rapist, a murderer and all kinds of things.  Right now all of the hatred toward Obama is a product of Koch brothers money and their grab for power, it’s probably also fueled with racism too. Yes, Obama has been a disappointment in many respects but our democracy and the government that represents is broke. The right wing has promised to destroy him by destroying America, by preventing anything good from happening that would turn the economy in the right direction. Like a JOBS BILL!!! For Gods sake people need to wake up to the manipulation from the Republicons and the fact they haven’t done one good thing for this country in 30 years!! They play politics real good, but the right wing doesn’t have a clue how to govern while representing the best interests of the people, the party #1 in betraying the public trust. Hell each time they leave office they leave the country in a deficit, but democrats leave it in a surplus.

 

Factually speaking 100% of Republicans and about 40% of Democrats are completely sold out to corporate interests, all they care about is your vote and you as an individual can go to hell for all they’re concerned. Oh and if they can find a way to shake you or you’re dying grandmother down for money, they’ll stand in line for that.

 

Waking up means educating yourself with facts, this isn’t about anything personal or “us vs them”. We’re all going through are own paradigm shift right now, a process that’s re-orienting our point of perspective so that we may all move forward together in unity – as opposed to the division that was forced on us long ago.  It’s about understanding and taking the side of the truth whether we like it or not, because it’s the right thing to do.

 

Also take time to learn about ALEC how they’re selling your public service job to the highest bidder and have designed cookie cutter legislation, made state politicians sign oaths to abide by them – and if they don’t abide they will be primaried and voted out in the next election.  And you can even research out these personal threats from Grover Norquist to do so.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Al Jazeera English narrator: Money has always played a key role in American politics. But is it now distorting the democractic process? That is the charge made against Charles and David Koch. With a year to go until the presidential election, could the koch brother’s fortune put a radical right [winger] into the white house?


http://www.nationofchange.org/people-and-power-koch-brothers-1319908875

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Al Jazeera English narrator: Money has always played a key role in American politics. But is it now distorting the democractic process? That is the charge made against Charles and David Koch. With a year to go until the presidential election, could the koch brother’s fortune put a radical right [winger] into the white house?

As Herman Cain Surges, Corporate Media Ignore His Koch Connections


As promised, here’s more information on the Koch brothers influence on the GOP and how they will control the 2012 election through influence.

As the GOP campaign progresses, David Koch, and his brother, Charles — two of the richest men in America — will likely be felt in ways large and small.
October 14, 2011  |

Photo Credit: A.M. Stan
LIKE THIS ARTICLE ?
Join our mailing list:

Sign up to stay up to date on the latest headlines via email.

TAKE ACTION

With two major polls showing Atlanta businessman Herman Cain now moving ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to claim the top spot among the contenders for the GOP presidential nomination, media are beating a path to his door. Given Cain’s clear and strong connection to the billionaire newsmaker David Koch, you’d think that Cain’s longstanding ties to the Americans For Prosperity Foundation, which is chaired by Koch, and its sibling organization, simply known as Americans For Prosperity, would be a meaty topic for enterprising reporters. Apparently not.

Mainstream media outlets have also ignored the checkered past of Cain’s campaign manager, Mark Block, who was banned from participation in Wisconsin politics for three years, 2002-2005, because of campaign law violations.

Significant players on Cain’s campaign staff are draw from the ranks of Americans for Prosperity or related organizations, beginning with campaign manager Mark Block, who served for six years as director of AFP’s Wisconsin chapter. And Cain himself, before launching his presidential campaign, was a frequently featured speaker at events hosted by the Americans For Prosperity Foundation.

At AlterNet, we’ve been keeping tabs on Cain’s Koch connection for more than a year, detailing his ties to Americans For Prosperity, as well as to Prosperity 101, a Koch-linked “worker education” program presented to employees of participating companies in their workplaces, mostly in Wisconsin, during the 2010 mid-term elections that yielded victories for Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Ron Johnson, and a bevy of Tea Party candidates for Congress and the Wisconsin state legislature. We reported the involvement Mark Block in a voter-suppression scheme in Milwaukee, during his tenure as Americans For Prosperity’s Wisconsin director. And, in June,  we laid out the reasons why a Cain campaign makes good political sense for the interests of Koch and Americans for Prosperity. Here’s an excerpt:

When Cain’s presidential candidacy was launched, it’s likely that his AFP-linked backers never expected he would win the GOP presidential nomination, but that he would make an effective messenger for pushing the party further to the Koch positions. As it looks now, Cain could do even better than that, given the weak GOP presidential field. With each contest in primary season, contenders win delegates to the national convention, where the party platform is laid. Cain will likely do well in New Hampshire — he could even win the state,

Continued here:

http://www.2012theawakening.org/2011/10/as-herman-cain-surges-corporate-media.html

Koch Responds To Buffet: ‘My Business And Non-Profit Investments Are Much More Beneficial To Society’


By Lee Fang

America’s current tax system forces people making $50,000 a year to pay a higher rate than hedge fund managers making $2.4 million an hour. Warren Buffett penned an op-ed last week declaring that America’s super-rich have been “coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress.” Lamenting the numerous tax loopholes and special breaks afforded to billionaire investors, Buffett noted that in his entire career, even when capital gains rates were as high as 39.9 percent, he never saw anyone “shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain.”

Charles Koch, head of the massive petrochemical, manufacturing, and commodity speculating Koch Industries corporation, has responded to Warren’s call for shared sacrifice: “No Thanks.” In a statement to right-wing media, Koch states:

“Much of what the government spends money on does more harm than good; this is particularly true over the past several years with the massive uncontrolled increase in government spending. I believe my business and non-profit investments are much more beneficial to societal well-being than sending more money to Washington.”

Koch’s “non-profit investments” include the group founded by his brother David, “Americans for Prosperity” (formerly known as Citizens for a Sound Economy). As ThinkProgress first reported, AFP was one the first and most well-resourced drivers of the anti-Obama so-called “Tea Party” movement. Koch-funded Tea Party events have featured speakers comparing health reform to the Holocaust, and in some cases have sponsored rallies with leaders of the “birther” conspiracy theory.

Among the Koch brothers’ other non-profit investments include far-right conservative think tanks dedicated to cheerleading the war in Iraq, spreading anti-science propaganda, and smears claiming that the poor do not really suffer. Koch has given money to educational initiatives, but in exchange for control over academic freedom that simply furthered Koch’s political beliefs. These “investments” at best advance Koch’s political ideology and at worst misinform American voters. Either way, they are hardly a replacement for “government spend[ing]” on things like food assistance and basic medical service.

According to Forbes, the Koch brothers have seen their wealth rise $11 billion in recent years, making the Koch brother among the richest in the country by being worth around $22.5 billion each. Much of those profits, however, are due to soaring gas prices and the fact Koch Industries has avoided compensating the public for hundred million tons of carbon pollution the company produces each year. Other Koch companies also receive significant taxpayer subsidies, despite Koch’s supposed opposition to government spending. This company is among the country’s top sources of carcinogenic chemicals and air pollutants.

America has been good to Charles Koch, providing an environment where his family has made billions. But Koch doesn’t want to give back, especially through more taxation. His charitable foundation, which gives largely to right-wing organizations that support his politics and Koch Industries’ business interests, still only donates about $12 million a year — 0.05 percent of Koch’s net worth. If higher rates were imposed on the super-rich, would Koch retreat to the family’s fabulous mansions, like this one in the Hamptons, aboard its fleet of private jets in a John Galt-inspired temper tantrum? Or would they act like any respectable businessman, and continue to make a profit without complaining?

This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/koch-responds-buffet-my-business-and-non-profit-investments-are-much-more-beneficial-society-13139. All rights are reserved.

The Cancer ravaging US democracy is the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC


Some of the biggest losers in US history are in control of our government, that’s where much of the chaos and destruction has come from.  Our country and our way of life is under attack by a secret organization called the American Legislative Council, ALEC’s whose plans to privatize America are unfolding, along with a war against our civil rights. Here’s basic information and the FAQ’s on this sinister, shadowy organization where the nasty, vile cancer in our democracy resides.

PLEASE spend time learning the details and help get the word out so we can remove this cancer from our midst and get America going in the right direction again, fascist free!  We must turn off the TV and do the mental gymnastics needed to have a real understanding of what’s going on, they control the news media so you won’t get the information there.

Through ALEC, Global Corporations Are Scheming to Rewrite YOUR Rights and Boost THEIR Revenue

Business money

Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called “model bills” reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations. Through ALEC, corporations have “a VOICE and a VOTE” on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU?

ALEC FAQ’s

What is ALEC?

ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board. (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.) Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations. Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law. ALEC describes itself as a “unique,” “unparalleled” and “unmatched” organization. We agree. It is as if a state legislature had been reconstituted, yet corporations had pushed the people out the door.

Who funds ALEC?

More than 98% of ALEC’s revenues come from sources other than legislative dues, such as corporations, corporate trade groups, and corporate foundations. Each corporate member pays an annual fee of between $7,000 and $25,000 a year, and if a corporation participates in any of the nine task forces, additional fees apply, from $2,500 to $10,000 each year. ALEC also receives direct grants from corporations, such as $1.4 million from ExxonMobil from 1998-2009. It has also received grants from some of the biggest foundations funded by corporate CEOs in the country, such as: the Koch family Charles G. Koch Foundation, the Koch-managed Claude R. Lambe Foundation, the Scaife family Allegheny Foundation, the Coors family Castle Rock Foundation, to name a few. Less than 2% of ALEC’s funding comes from “Membership Dues” of $50 per year paid by state legislators, a steeply discounted price that may run afoul of state gift bans.

Is it nonpartisan as claimed?

ALEC describes itself as a non-partisan, non-profit organization. The facts show that it currently has one Democrat out of 104 legislators in leadership positions. ALEC members, speakers, alumni, and award winners are a “who’s who” of the extreme right. ALEC has given awards to: Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, George H.W. Bush, Charles and David Koch, Richard de Vos, Tommy Thompson, Gov. John Kasich, Gov. Rick Perry, Congressman Mark Foley (intern sex scandal), and Congressman Billy Tauzin. ALEC alumni include: Speaker of the House John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, Congressman Joe Wilson, (who called President Obama a “liar” during the State of the Union address), former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, former House Speaker Tom DeLay, Andrew Card, Donald Rumsfeld (1985 Chair of ALEC’s Business Policy Board), Governor Scott Walker, Governor Jan Brewer, and more. Featured speakers have included: Milton Friedman, Newt Gingrich, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, George Allen, Jessie Helms, Pete Coors, Governor Mitch Daniels and more.

Is it lobbying?

In most ordinary people’s view, handing bills to legislators so they can introduce them is the very definition of lobbying. ALEC says “no lobbying takes place.” The current chairman of ALEC’s corporate board is W. Preston Baldwin III, until recently a lobbyist and the Vice President of State Government Affairs at UST Inc., a tobacco firm now owned by Altria/Phillip Morris USA. Altria is advancing a very short, specific bill to change the way moist tobacco products (such as fruit flavored “snus”) are taxed– to make it cheaper and more attractive to young tobacco users according to health experts. In fact, 20 of the 24 corporate representatives on ALEC’s “Private Enterprise Board” are lobbyists representing major firms such as Koch Industries, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Wal-Mart and Johnson and Johnson.

ALEC makes old-fashioned lobbying obsolete. Once legislators return to their state with corporate-sponsored ALEC legislation in hand, the legislators themselves become “super-lobbyists” for ALEC’s corporate agenda, cutting out the middleman. Yet ALEC enjoys a 501(c)(3) classification, which allows it to keep its tax-exempt status while accepting grants from foundations, corporations, and other donors. In our view, the activities that corporate members engage in should be considered lobbying by the IRS, and the entity that facilitates that effort to influence state law, ALEC, should also be considered to be engaged predominantly in lobby-related activities, not simply “educational” activities. Re-classifying ALEC as primarily engaged in lobbying facilitation would mean that donations to it would not count as tax-deductible for businesses and foundations. Common Cause filed a complaint with the IRS on July 14, 2011, setting forth evidence supporting its complaint that ALEC is engaged in lobbying despite its claims to do no lobbying.

Is it legal?

ALEC’s operating model raises many ethical and legal concerns. Each state has a different set of ethics laws or rules. The presence of lobbyists alone may cause ethics problems for some state legislators. Wisconsin, for instance, generally requires legislators who go to events with registered lobbyists to pay on their own dime, yet in many states, legislators use public funds to attend ALEC meetings. According to one study, $3 million in public funds was spent to attend ALEC meetings in one year. Some legislators use their personal funds and are reimbursed by ALEC. Such “scholarships” may be disclosed if gifts are required to be reported. But should the legislators be allowed to accept this money when lobbyists are present at the meeting? Still other legislators use their campaign funds to go and are again reimbursed by ALEC; in some states, campaign funds are only allowed to be used to attend campaign events.

In short, many state ethics codes might consider the free vacation, steeply discounted membership fees, free day care or travel scholarships to be “gifts” that should be disallowed or disclosed.

More here:

ALEC Exposed

John Nichols simplifies the situation by explaining the history and corrupt influence of ALEC superbly! How beginning in 1973 the biggest losers in politics began taking over government from behind the scenes, these people couldn’t win elections so they took over the legislative process instead!

Here he is on Keith Olberman who also covers ALEC’s  sinister, shadowy history and characters with eloquence and passion. John talks about the corporate agenda behind ALEC and how it’s systematically taking down America, dismantling everything that’s made America a great place to live and work.

Lisa Graves- Lisa Graves is the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy, the publisher of PR Watch, SourceWatch, and BanksterUSA. She previously served as a senior advisor in all three branches of the federal government, as a leading strategist on civil liberties advocacy, and as an adjunct law professor at one of the top law schools in the country. Her former leadership posts include:

  • Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy/Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Justice (serving under both Attorneys General Janet Reno and John Ashcroft)
  • Chief Counsel for Nominations for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Senior Legislative Strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union (on national security and surveillance policies)
  • Deputy Director of the Center for National Security Studies
  • Deputy Chief of the Article III Judges Division of the U.S. Courts(including oversight of the Financial Disclosure Office for judicial ethics) http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/Lisa_Graves_Discusses_ALEC

Wendell Potter has served since May 2009 as the Center For Media and Democracy’s Senior Fellow on Health Care. After a 20-year career as a corporate public relations executive, last year he left his job as head of communications for one of the nation’s largest health insurers to try his hand at helping socially responsible organizations — including those advocating for meaningful health care reform — achieve their goals.

For an extended audio interview of Wendell discussing ALEC, see below.

To read Wendell’s ALEC article in The Nation, see below.

To see a full listing of ALEC Exposed Audio & Video, click here.

Mary Bottari Discusses ALEC’s Influence in Wisconsin on WTDY’s “Sly in the Morning”
Click here to listen to Mary Bottari discuss ALEC on “Counter Spin”.

Click here to listen to Mary Bottari discuss ALEC on Uprising Radio.

Click here to listen to Mary Bottari discuss the extent of ALEC’s influence on WSJM.

http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed_Audio_%26_Video

Beyond Dinner and a Movie: ALEC Actively Courts State Lawmakers


More ALEC exposed, and evidence that GOP representatives are wholly owned subsidiaries (employees) of transnational corporations and that Republicon & TeaParty members are not working on behalf of the best interests of the voters. Exposing the agenda to destroy America already moving ahead in states with a Republican majority the local governments are systematically being dismantled and handed over to corporate interests so they can make profits from work the government has always performed.
If you believe a corporation can school your kids, police your streets, put fires out, operate our libraries etc and do it cheaper and more effectively, you either live in a fantasy world0 or are uneducated. Fascism is taking over our democracy from the right-wing Republicans  and especially the new freaky TeaParty nut jobs who have absolutely no idea how to govern, they don’t understand the enormous complexity of American government or the responsibility we carry as the only superpower over other nations. And these freaks want to stop paying the bills,  either they’re crazy or controlled by their corporate masters who have something to gain by destroying America.
I often wonder how many people have even had a course in Government because people don’t seem to understand what fascism is, that it was the chosen form under Hitler’s Germany and Musselini’s Italy. I wonder how many people can define the differences between socialism, capitalism, communism and fascism, because anyone who sides with the GOP is supporting a fascist takeover of America and it’s already in control or Obama would have passed a health  care bill that would have rivaled anything in Europe. That’s what he wanted, but the right wing conservatives  along with a good number of Democrats owned by the insurance companies were in control of that decision. That’s fascism.
And all of this is happening because people don’t know about it, the news is dead. These same right wing corporations behind the agenda bought the ENTIRE global mass media so they can also control the message, and thereby control you.
This is a 30 year plan unfolding on a population with a 30 minute memory, hell people don’t even remember what President created all the debt and unemployment or who crashed the economy. The media is much to blame for this, but people also just sit back in their high chairs and get spoon fed their news from the TV or some right wing pundit shill.  All I’m asking people to do is educate themselves with facts instead of empty talking points that only incite emotion, do the mental gymnastics and research for knowledge instead of listening to someone getting paid millions of dollars a year to lie. Knowingly lie to you.
Remember, my education and professional background is in broadcasting so I know how these things operate and have watched the industry change as it became monopolized by less than a handful of people…what 3 companies own the global media and they are heavily invested in energy, oil.  All I’m trying to do is help people understand what’s going on and who’s doing what to who behind the scenes and people need to know who’s been controlling who.

The following report comes from a non-partisan site called Follow the Money,The Nation’s Most Complete Resource for Information on Money in State Politics.

http://www.followthemoney.org/press/ReportView.phtml?r=454

Report IconBeyond Dinner and a Movie: ALEC Actively Courts State Lawmakers
by Edwin Bender, July 20, 2011The Institute examined American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) member information recently posted at ALECexposed.org by the Center for Media and Democracy. Researchers cross-checked these names against our unique state-level donor database to see how much ALEC members contributed and received in state-level campaigns. Our compelling findings are listed in the report.

This publication was made possible by grants from:

Ford Foundation
Open Society Foundations
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Sunlight Foundation

Beyond Dinner and a Movie: ALEC Actively Courts State Lawmakers

Overview

For decades, some of this nation’s largest corporations have courted thousands of conservative lawmakers at annual conferences of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Along with the food, drink, and dancing, member attendance to the conference comes with access to hundreds of industry-drafted bills that their hosts would like to see passed by state legislatures and Congress.

And, like any good courtship, ALEC’s member corporations and associations were generous to their state-lawmaker partners when it came time to get serious about the relationship.

How serious?

An examination of campaign donations made by ALEC corporate members dating back to the 1990 election cycle shows that they contributed $12.2 million to state-level candidates who were ALEC members, with 98.4 percent of that money going to incumbent and winning candidates, many of whom could vote on proposed legislation. Additional analysis reveals that $11.9 million of the $12.2 million went to Republicans. Click here to download the database.

Over the seven (10 for some states) election cycles covered in a donor-data analysis by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, ALEC corporate members contributed $516.2 million to state-level politics: $202.1 million to state-level candidates, $228.3 million to high-dollar ballot-measure campaigns, and $85.8 million to state political party committees.

Half a billion dollars. A serious relationship. It seems ALEC is not afraid of commitment.

Companies with an interest in today’s high-stakes health-care debate are at the top of the list of ALEC members who gave generously to state political campaigns.

TABLE 1: Health-care Industry ALEC Members: Contributions to State Political Campaigns                                                
ALEC Member Amount Contributed to State Politics
PHRMA $76.4 million
Pfizer $21.2 million
GlaxoSmithKline $15.5 million
Johnson & Johnson $14.6 million
Merck & Co $14.5 million

ALEC members with a stake in environmental-regulation debates also donated generously.

TABLE 2: Oil Industry ALEC Members: Contributions to State Political Campaigns
ALEC Member Amount Donated to State Politics
Chevron Corp $52.2 million
ConocoPhillips $8.4 million
BP NorthAmerica $6.5 million
ExxonMobile $5.3 million
Koch Industries $2.5 million

Telecommunications policy? AT&T gave $39 million; Verizon, $13.2 million; Comcast, $8.6 million; Qwest Communications, $3.3 million; SprintNextel, $2.5 million.

The bottom line is, all sides of corporate America met willing partners at ALEC conferences, sat side by side with elected lawmakers to draft industry-friendly legislation, and helped those candidates win elections to ensure that their legislation had the best possible chance of passage.

The top recipients of donations from ALEC corporate members reads like a who’s who of state politics: ALEC “alumnus” Gov. Rick Perry of Texas received more than $2 million from 268 donations made by just 50 ALEC corporate members, far and away the most of any candidate in the decade of data analyzed.

Other top recipients include long-time Texas State Representative Tom Craddick, who accepted $878,110 from 198 donations made by 46 donors; Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels with $659,737 from 197 donations made by 51 donors; long-time California State Representative Mike Villines with $347,796 from 214 donations from 84 donors; and Illinois State Senator Kirk Dillard with $320,289 from 357 donations from 59 donors.

The Institute’s analysis of the $12.2 million in ALEC corporate-member donations to state-level candidates who are ALEC members reveals:

  1. Candidates in Texas received more than $3.8 million, or 31 percent of the total, well above the $922,761 received by candidates in California, the next-highest recipient state.
  2. State representatives received more than $4.5 in ALEC-member contributions and state senators more than $3.4 million, all from a total of just over 10,000 checks.
  3. Gubernatorial candidates received more than $4 million, from just 1,050 checks written by ALEC members.
  4. Incumbent candidates–those already elected once to public office and making decisions about public policy–received more than $10.8 million of the total, or 88 percent.
  5. Republicans received more than $11.9 million of the total (96.7 percent) that ALEC members gave in more than 12,000 donations. Democrats received $392,136 from 571 donations.

About ALEC

The American Legislative Exchange Council is a Washington, D.C.-based public-policy organization that supports conservative legislative candidates. ALEC was founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich, a major New Right figure who also helped start the Heritage Foundation. Of the more than 6,000 state legislators in the United States, ALEC claims that more than 2,000 are members, including scores who hold key legislative leadership positions. ALEC’s 2010 model-legislation scorecard shows 826 bills introduced and 115 enacted, a 14 percent success rate. In 1995-96, model legislation crafted by ALEC and introduced in state legislatures totaled 1,647 bills. Of these, 365 were enacted into law, a 22 percent success rate. All this legislation emerged from task forces that included representatives from the private sector. Business foots much of ALEC’s $7-million operating budget and directly shapes its political agenda, as well, through its participation in these policy groups.

About the Data

The Institute examined candidate and ALEC-member information made available at ALECexposed.org  by the Center for Media and Democracy in July 2011. After retrieving the candidate name and sponsoring organization information from the site, Institute programmers matched the candidate names against those who have run for state-level office in the past decade to determine who were or are ALEC members. The Institute then ran the ALEC corporate-member names against the Institute’s comprehensive state-level donor information to see how much those ALEC members donated to state-level political campaigns.

Institute researchers filtered the data to show which corporate members donated to ALEC members who were candidates for state office.

Because ALEC has kept its membership information shielded from the public for years, it is difficult to determine whether the leaked information on the ALEC Exposed site is complete, or if the candidates and corporations were members during the entire period covered by this analysis. Given that caveat, however, total numbers generated by the Institute for amounts given and received by ALEC members is likely conservative.

This report was posted on July 20, 2011 by Edwin Bender.
Let us know what you thought! Click here and give us some feedback.