The Fracking Lobby Groups and America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), Public Relations Arm of the Fracking Industry


America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) – the public relations arm of the oil and gas fracking industry – has released its 2012 Internal Revenue Services (IRS) 990 form, and it’s rich with eye-opening revelations, some of which we report here for the first time.

Incorporated as American Natural Gas Alliance, Inc., ANGA received $76.7 million from its dues-paying members for fiscal year 2012. Not strictly a lobbying force alone at the state-level and federal-level, ANGA has pumped millions of dollars into public relations and advertising efforts around the country and hundreds of thousands more into other influence-peddling avenues.

The Nation Magazine‘s Lee Fang revealed in a recent piece that ANGA gave $1 million in funding to “Truthland,” a pro-fracking film released to fend off Josh Fox’s “Gasland: Part II.”

On its website, “Truthland” says it is a project of both industry front group Energy in Depth and the trade association, Independent Petroleum Association of America. The “Truthland” website was originally registered in Chesapeake Energy’s office, Little Sis revealed.

Fang also revealed ANGA gave $25,000 to “ASGK Strategies, a political consulting firm founded by White House advisor David Axelrod,” as well as “$864,673 to Edventures Partners, an education curriculum company that has partnered with ANGA to produce classroom materials that promote the use of natural gas.”


David Axelrod; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In his piece, Fang also points out ANGA has given millions of dollars to Democratic Party-affiliated PR firms, perhaps unsurprising given its new CEO is Martin “Marty” Durbin, nephew of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the U.S. Senate’s Majority Whip.

“The 990 shows that ANGA paid the Glover Park Group over $2.9 million for ‘research/advertising’ and Dewey Square Group $738,957 for ‘grassroots communications.,’” wrote Fang. “Both firms are run by mostly former Clinton administration officials.” ANGA donated another $6,500 to Dewey Square for general operational support.

Donations to Media Outlets

ANGA also gave big to media outlets, a DeSmog review of the 990 reveals. It doled out $165,000 to The Texas Tribune, $100,000 to Bloomberg Businessweek, $50,000 to National Journal and another $25,000 to the Environmental Media Association, co-founded by Norman Lear, also the co-founder of the liberal group People for the American Way.

Departing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – owner and namesake of Bloomberg Businessweek – is also a major financial supporter of fracking, giving $6 million to the Environmental Defense Fund in August 2012 to promote “responsible regulation” in 14 states. He also gave money to EDF’s recently-published controversial fracking climate study.


Michael Bloomberg; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

ANGA also recently became a founding partner of MSNBC.com‘s newly launched website, on whose platform it will regularly publish “native advertisements,” sometimes also referred to as “branded content.”

Bipartisanship, Attacks on Renewables, Money to Green Group

One thing is crystal clear in ANGA’s 990 forms: they “buypartisan.” That is, they donate money to both sides of the political aisle, although the bulk of the dollars flows to the right.

ANGA donated $25,000 to the Democratic Attorneys General Association, while giving nine times as much to the Republican Governors Association to the tune of $225,000. It then tossed another $200,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee, throwing $25,000 more to Third Way, a think-tank of sorts of the corporate Blue Dog Democrats.

Not content with its vast market share of the U.S. utilities market, ANGA gave $100,000 to the “Care for Michigan Coalition,” an industry-funded nonprofit created to defeat Michigan’s Proposal 3 in the November 2012 elections. Proposal 3 would have mandated 25-percent of Michigan’s energy portfolio come from renewable energy sources by 2025, known by energy policy wonks as 25×25.

Other major Care for Michigan Coalition donors included Warren Buffett’s BNSF (whose trains carry vast amounts of frac sand and oil fracked from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale), DTE Energy, CMS Energy and the Michigan Manufacturers’ Association.

Warren Buffett and President Barack Obama; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

ANGA didn’t limit its patronage to sworn enemies of renewable energy, though. It also handed $30,000 to the Texas League of Conservation Voters.

Donations to “Other ALECs” 

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is by far the most powerful and famous corporate-funded nonprofit that companies and trade associations donate money to, receiving an equal voice and a vote on model legislation passed at its annual meetings. Yet, it’s not the only registered nonprofit incorporated to “educate” elected officials, serving as lobbying forum for corporations.

Enter the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which I categorized as one of the “Other ALECs” in an investigative series published for TruthOut. ANGA donated $50,000 to NCSL during fiscal year 2012, according to its 990 form, giving another $41,000 to the National Association of Counties and $10,000 to the National League of Cities.

Public Citizen explained in a November 2012 report that lobbyists are increasingly using seemingly innocent state-level and local-level trade associations for politicians’ annual meetings as lobbying venues.

“There is no doubt that corporate sponsors are getting what they pay for: the ears of decision makers whose decisions will have a direct impact on their bottom lines,” Public Citizen wrote in “Access for Sale: A Report on Corporate Funding of Associations of State and Local Government Officials.”

Not to be outdone, ANGA will be sworn in as a dues-paying member of ALEC at its States and Nation Policy Summit set to take place December 4-6 in Washington, DC, according to a memorandum sent out to its members on October 30, 2013.

“He Who Has the Gold Makes the Rules”

If ANGA’s latest 990 forms prove anything, it’s the “golden rule.” Just not the one you’re taught as a kid. That is, when it comes to money in politics, “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

Yet, another proverb also comes to mind: “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-fracking-lobby-groups-and-americas-natural-gas-alliance-anga-public-relations-arm-of-the-fracking-industry/5358870

How America’s National Security Apparatus in Partnership With Big Corporations, Cracked Down on Dissent


 

 

Counter-terror police officers collaborated with corporate entities to combat protests. Undercover police officers monitored and tracked the Occupy movement. A right-wing corporate-backed group hired a police officer to help protect a conference. These are some of the details revealed in a new report published [3] by the Center for Media and Democracy’s Beau Hodai, along with DBA Press. The revelations are based on government documents the group obtained.

The report, titled “Dissent or Terror: How the Nation’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street [4],” is an eye-opening look into how the U.S. counter-terror apparatus was used to track the Occupy movement in 2011 and 2012 and also help protect the business entities targeted by the movement. The report specifically looks at the activities of “fusion centers,” or law enforcement entities created after 9/11 that transform local police forces into counter-terror units in partnership with federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security. The fusion centers devoted a lot of time–to the point of “obsession,” the report notes–to monitoring the Occupy movement, particularly for any “threats” to public safety or health and to whether there were “extremists” involved in the movement.

The documents obtained for the report from government agencies reveal “a grim mosaic of ‘counter-terrorism’ agency operations and attitudes toward activists and other socially/politically-engaged citizens over the course of 2011 and 2012,” writes Hodai. He adds that these heavily-funded agencies indisputably view Occupy activists as “terrorist” threats. Additionally, Hodai writes that “this view of activists, and attendant activist monitoring/suppression, has been carried out on behalf of, and in cooperation with, some of the nation’s largest financial and corporate interests.”

Much of the report hones in on the Occupy Phoenix branch of the movement and Arizona counter-terrorism agents monitoring, tracking and cracking down on the protests.

For instance, when JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was planning on coming to Phoenix in October 2011, a “counter-terrorism” detective employed by the Phoenix Police Department’s Homeland Security Bureau exchanged information on potential protests with a JP Morgan Chase security manager. The detective, Jennifer O’Neill, received information on Dimon’s travel plans, and then shared information about Occupy Phoenix. O’Neill said that she and another officer had tracked the online activities of Occupy protesters to find out if they were planning to protest Dimon. No plans for protest were discovered by O’Neill, who also works with the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, otherwise known as the Arizona fusion center.

Another similar example of how corporate entities were helped by counter-terrorism units of police forces also occurred in October 2011. Then, businesses–including banks–received alerts authored by the Arizona fusion center about planned protest activities. Similar alerts to banks were given in the run-up to the November 5 day of action labeled “Bank Transfer Day,” which encouraged people to move their money from corporate banks to more local financial institutions. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also engaged in similar activity, according to the report. “The bureau had been in the business of alerting banks (and related entities) tothe planned protest activity of OWS groups as early as August of 2011.”

The extent of law enforcement-corporate cooperation has also been taken a step further by the practice of corporations or right-wing corporate backed groups hiring officers for pay to police protests.

In late November-early December 2011, the largest Occupy Phoenix action took place outside of a conference held by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate-funded group that brings together right-wing lobbyist groups and conservative politicians to push model legislation in state legislatures. The protest was marred by police violence, with officers deploying pepper spray and pepper ball projectiles on activists and arresting 5. While the police portrayed the action as the work of violent anarchists, Hodai writes that this narrative of events had little grounding in reality.

Hodai reveals that the “tactical response unit” of officers working at the action was under the direction of Phoenix Police Department Sgt. Eric Harkins. What makes this noteworthy is that Harkins was “actually off-duty, earning $35 per hour as a private security guard employed by ALEC.” ALEC also “hired 49 active duty and 9 retired PPD officers to act as private security during the conference.” ALEC also employed off-duty police officers from Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department during another ALEC summit in May 2012.

The Center for Media and Democracy report also provides details on how police officers tracked and went undercover to monitor the Occupy movement. The report focuses on an undercover police officer who went by the name of “Saul DeLara,” who presented himself as a homeless Mexican activist. “DeLara” went to Occupy meetings and then reported back on their contents to the police.

The revelations are confirmation that, as the Center for Media and Democracy noted in a press release,”the nation’s post-September 11, 2001 counter terrorism apparatus has been applied to politically engaged citizens exercising their Constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duke Energy doesn’t want you to vote ~ ALEC Exposed!


 

“The American Legislative Exchange Council has successfully promoted voter ID legislation that has the potential to disenfranchise up to 5 million voters — especially people of color, young people, and seniors. It also orchestrates extreme anti-environment legislation across the country that lets major polluters off the hook. I urge you to immediately and permanently stop funding ALEC.”

For years, the right wing has been trying to stop people of color, young people, and seniors from voting in order to help Republicans get elected — and now some of America’s biggest companies, like Duke Energy, are helping them do it.1

Duke has helped pass discriminatory voter ID legislation by funding a rightwing policy group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Voter ID bills linked to ALEC have already passed in seven states, and similar voter ID bills have been introduced in 27 other states.

That’s why we’re joining our friends at Color of Change and a growing coalition of civil rights and environmental organizations calling on Duke Energy to end its support of this rightwing organization.

Tell Duke Energy to stop funding ALEC and its attempt to disenfranchise millions of voters. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Supporters of discriminatory voter ID laws claim they want to reduce voter fraud (individuals voting illegally, or voting twice). But such fraud almost never actually occurs, and never in numbers large enough to affect the result of elections. What is clear is that voter ID laws prevent large numbers of eligible voters from casting a ballot, and could disenfranchise up to 5 million people.

The truth is that voter ID laws are discriminatory — African Americans, Latinos, seniors, students, and the poor are all less likely to have the photo IDs necessary to vote under these laws. For example, if you’ve recently moved because of foreclosure or some other economic circumstance, you’re more likely to have an address that is not your current residence on your driver’s license. If you don’t have a car, you’re less likely to have a driver’s license in the first place.

ALEC’s voter ID laws are undemocratic, unjust and part of a longstanding rightwing agenda to weaken the voting blocs that historically oppose Republican candidates. We have to expose the major companies like Duke Energy that are helping ALEC suppress the votes of millions of Americans before it’s too late.

Tell Duke Energy to stop funding ALEC and its attempt to disenfranchise millions of voters. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

In addition to Duke Energy’s role in funding ALEC’s voter suppression attempts, Duke is also a member of ALEC’s Environment, Energy and Agriculture Task Force, which shapes ALEC’s climate change denial and dirty energy agenda. Legislation drafted and supported by this task force undermines local environmental protections, thwarts efforts to address climate change and prevents major polluters from being held accountable.2

ALEC’s extreme anti-environment efforts, which Duke Energy plays a key role in shaping and supporting, directly contradict Duke’s frequently stated support for legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.3

In the past, Duke has been sensitive to public pressure calling out its hypocrisy on environmental issues. In 2009, after the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity was embroiled in a forgery scandal intended to mislead members of Congress about pending federal climate change legislation, Duke parted ways with the group, saying its activities were “not consistent with Duke Energy’s work to pass economy-wide and cost effective climate change legislation as soon as possible.”4

The same is now true of Duke’s support for the American Legislative Exchange Council.

We hope Duke Energy will simply do the right thing and stop supporting ALEC. If they don’t, we’ll be prepared to shine a spotlight on them and make sure the world understands what they’re involved in.

Click below to automatically sign the petition to Duke Energy:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6946688&p=duke_alec&id=45948-3460883-kdJ60sx&t=10

Thank you for standing up against voter suppression and environmental hypocrisy.

Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. ALEC Corporations, SourceWatch
2. Environment, Energy and Agriculture, ALEC Exposed
3. Climate Change, Duke Energy
4. Duke Energy Quits Controversial Coal Lobby Front Group, Huffington Post, 9/2/09

 

The Top Five Special Interest Groups Lobbying To Keep Marijuana Illegal


This is just one more example of how broken the criminal justice system has become and another indication that fascist principles have taken over rule of law. It’s no surprise to see ALEC ~ the American Legislative Exchange Council that your Republican/Tea Party elected officials have sworn “loyalty oaths” to ~ legislator’s are among the list of perpetrators attempting to subvert the will and best interests of the voters.
Question: What’s wrong with conservative voters, why are you blind to the obvious? These politicians aren’t serving your best interests and never have. Please tell me why you still vote Republican after all the evidence coming forward that they only care about continuing to enrich the corporate elite at the expensive of the tax payer, I really don’t understand and all ears…

Last year, over 850,000 people in America were arrested for marijuana-related crimes. Despite public opinion, the medical community, and human rightsexperts all moving in favor of relaxing marijuana prohibition laws, little has changed in terms of policy.

There have been many great books and articles detailing the history of the drug war. Part of America’s fixation with keeping the leafy green plant illegal is rooted in cultural and political clashes from the past.

However, we at Republic Report think it’s worth showing that there are entrenched interest groups that are spending large sums of money to keep our broken drug laws on the books:

1.) Police Unions: Police departments across the country have become dependent on federal drug war grants to finance their budget. In March, we published a story revealing that a police union lobbyist in California coordinated the effort to defeat Prop 19, a ballot measure in 2010 to legalize marijuana, while helping his police department clients collect tens of millions in federal marijuana-eradication grants. And it’s not just in California. Federal lobbying disclosures show that other police union lobbyists have pushed for stiffer penalties for marijuana-related crimes nationwide.

2.) Private Prisons Corporations: Private prison corporations make millions by incarcerating people who have been imprisoned for drug crimes, including marijuana. As Republic Report’s Matt Stoller noted last year, Corrections Corporation of America, one of the largest for-profit prison companies, revealed in a regulatory filing that continuing the drug war is part in parcel to their business strategy. Prison companies have spent millions bankrolling pro-drug war politicians and have used secretive front groups, like the American Legislative Exchange Council, to pass harsh sentencing requirements for drug crimes.

3.) Alcohol and Beer Companies: Fearing competition for the dollars Americans spend on leisure, alcohol and tobacco interests have lobbied to keep marijuana out of reach. For instance, the California Beer & Beverage Distributors contributed campaign contributions to a committee set up to prevent marijuana from being legalized and taxed.

4.) Pharmaceutical Corporations: Like the sin industries listed above, pharmaceutical interests would like to keep marijuana illegal so American don’t have the option of cheap medical alternatives to their products. Howard Wooldridge, a retired police officer who now lobbies the government to relax marijuana prohibition laws, told Republic Report that next to police unions, the “second biggest opponent on Capitol Hill is big PhRMA” because marijuana can replace “everything from Advil to Vicodin and other expensive pills.”

5.) Prison Guard Unions: Prison guard unions have a vested interest in keeping people behind bars just like for-profit prison companies. In 2008, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association spent a whopping $1 million to defeat a measure that would have “reduced sentences and parole times for nonviolent drug offenders while emphasizing drug treatment over prison.”

RELATED: Why Can’t You Smoke Pot? Because Lobbyists Are Getting Rich Off of the War on Drugs

Kochs, Lies, and Videotape


 

 This week as I premiered my new film, Koch Brothers Exposed — the result of a year-long investigation on how two billionaires are using their wealth to corrupt democracy — Koch Industries has launched an attack on the film and me. The Kochs intimidate, they menace; they have a letter from their lawyer borderline threatening the media if it reports what’s in the film — and they always try to change the subject so their behavior can stay in the shadows: not only are they unwilling to accept my offer of a debate or interview, they also refuse to testify about their interest in the Keystone XL pipeline and may have to be dragged kicking and screaming into revealing their secret contributions to groups doing election work. This time, the Kochs are using a technique I point out in the film: attacking to avoid dealing with the facts. They are dodging and distorting the truth to avoid confronting our findings on cancer, voting rights, civil rights, and more.

How? Let me count (some of) the ways:

1) Cancer. People are dying of cancer near the Kochs’ Georgia Pacific plant in Crossett, Arkansas, and the Kochs refuse to answer the relevant question: What are they going to do about it? On Penn Road in Crossett, right near the mill, residents powerfully show how nine out of 11 homes have suffered from cancer. A USA Today study said Crossett’s school district is in the top 1% in the nation for cancer. Meanwhile, the Kochs’ facility releases significant amounts of formaldehyde — a known carcinogen — and there’s no other chemical plant in town. The Kochs are among the country’s top 10 polluters and lobbied hard to keep formaldehyde from being labeled a carcinogen. For a company where one of the owners (David Koch) and the communications director (Melissa Cohlmia) are cancer survivors, this is tragic and infuriating. It reflects a warped sense of humanity where greed trumps all.

2) Voting rights. The Kochs have given over $1 million to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that’s trying to pass severe voter ID restrictions in states across the country. These bills disenfranchise the poor, the elderly, the young, people of color — in short, people who are likely to oppose a 1% agenda. The Kochs won’t explain why anyone should believe that ALEC’s pro-corporate, anti-99% agenda is somehow detached from its billionaire funders. Onerous voting restrictions are already impacting people’s ability to vote in the 2012 election.

3) Re-segregation. Americans for Prosperity (AFP), which is Koch-founded and Koch-financed (they refuse to say how much but we know it’s at least $5 million), pushed “reforms” in North Carolina that would destroy a school district’s model of racial integration and ensure students go to school mainly with people of their own race. We call out this “re-segregation” in Koch Brothers Exposed. The Kochs, of course, try to hide from their connection — hoping we ignore not only their involvement in the founding and financing of AFP, but also the fact that David Koch has served as chair of the group’s supposedly nonpolitical arm, the AFP Foundation. Their dissembling doesn’t pass the laugh test–particularly when they’ve refused to open the books to show where their funding is coming from.

4) Worker rights. The Kochs have been undermining labor rights, helping anti-union Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and supporting groups that want to boost employer power against employees. They also have pushed the interests of large corporations over Main Street. The Koch brothers try pathetically to attack me on that front, going back eight years to my film Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Priceand saying a locally-owned hardware store I profiled as an example of how Wal-Mart shuts down small businesses had actually closed before the retail giant opened. Um, as the store owners said in the film, the reason it closed early was problems involving financing and reduced appraisals in light of Wal-Mart’s impending arrival. This is yet another example of distorting the facts and is ultimately a distraction.

Why are the Kochs flailing so desperately in the face of our findings? Because they can’t give straightforward, convincing rebuttals to the claims we lodge against them in the film. My organization, Brave New Foundation, doesn’t have billions of dollars at its disposal to fight back, but this time time, the Kochs aren’t getting the last word. The smears and name-calling (I’m malicious, I’m a liar, blah blah blah) may not be pleasant but won’t stop the film from being shared by 25 groups partnering with us and thousands of people online.

The Koch brothers epitomize the corruption of democracy that’s going on in our country, with a handful of people at the top expanding their wealth on the backs of the 99%. Americans shouldn’t fall for their attempt to change the subject.

By Robert Greenwald | Sourced from AlterNet

Posted at March 31, 2012, 10:24 am

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/874960/kochs%2C_lies%2C_and_videotape/

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.

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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

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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?

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