Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » ALEC to be met with Chicago protests
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      About     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact Rich Miller
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
ALEC to be met with Chicago protests

Tuesday, Aug 6, 2013 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The American Legislative Exchange Council is meeting in Chicago this week to celebrate its 40th anniversary, and opposition groups are gearing up. From a Common Cause and Center for Media and Democracy press release…

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is running a secretive, multi-million dollar slush fund that finances lavish trips for state legislators and has misled the Internal Revenue Service about the fund’s activity, two government watchdog groups charged today.

Common Cause and the Center for Media and Democracy said the “scholarship fund” scheme also raises serious questions about ALEC’s compliance with state gift and disclosure laws, and the ethics of lawmakers who accept ALEC’s travel payments.

The watchdogs said that by funneling money through ALEC, that group’s corporate sponsors are able to take a federal tax deduction for the cost of wining, dining and housing lawmakers and their families at resorts and events like ALEC’s 40th anniversary meeting this week at Chicago’s posh Palmer House Hilton (August 7-9). Meanwhile, ALEC conceals the sources of the funds from the public and hides the amount of spending from the IRS by claiming that it only holds the funds in “trust,” while writing lawmakers’ checks to cover their trips.

Common Cause and CMD laid out details of the fund’s operation in an IRS tax whistleblower complaint and letter to the IRS Commissioner.

The groups have built their case based on documents obtained through open records requests, and are taking a number of actions this week to urge a crackdown on the ALEC

The IRS tax whistleblower complaint is here. The letter to the IRS Commissioner is here. An investigative report, Buying Influence, is here.

* A protest is planned for Thursday. From a Center for Media and Democracy press release…

According to ALEC, up to 2,000 state legislators and lobbyists are expected to be meeting behind closed doors inside the Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago. Although ALEC’s leaders have told the press its meetings are open to the public, reporters have been blocked from meetings where corporations and politicians vote as equals, bounced from other meetings, denied credentials, and even threatened with arrest.

In its latest move to shield its activities from pubic scrutiny, ALEC has begun stamping legislation and materials it gives to lawmakers as exempt from state open records laws. It has also resorted to using a drop box service in an attempt to evade legislators’ open records obligations. CMD is litigating this issue in Wisconsin in a suit against ALEC’s National Treasurer. Read more here.

Outside the ALEC conference, protests are planned for noon on August 8, led by the Chicago Federation of Labor.

* For background, this is from a December, 2012 Bloomberg report

ALEC this week released its 2013 state legislative priorities and proposed legislation to accomplish them, including ending traditional pensions for newly hired public employees, repealing requirements that utilities buy electricity from environmentally friendly sources, using taxpayer dollars for religious schools, and limiting lawsuits by consumers injured by faulty products.

There was a small protest at the Palmer House yesterday and a handful of people were arrested. The big event is Thursday. Fred Klonsky has video.


  1. - OneMan - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 9:48 am:

    Sorry the alternate Chicago video unit is going to chaperoning a middle school band trip to a waterpark…

  2. - x ace - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 9:52 am:


  3. - shore - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 9:53 am:

    these guys aren’t a pop up freakshow organization and this smacks of over sensitivity + makes the city look horrendous. They’ve been around a long long time and I’m pretty sure Rauschenberger worked for them after he lost a gov or senate bid moons ago.

  4. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 9:54 am:

    Shore, Rauschenberger was an NCSL official, not ALEC. Big dif. Very big dif.

  5. - OneMan - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 9:56 am:


    Lots of folks (I have some liberal pals who think these guys are all that is evil) have a beef with these guys, I think in part because of their agenda and in part because of their success…

    Suffice to say I think it will more than just the usual suspects protesting on Thursday.

  6. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 10:19 am:

    I wonder what kind of booths are going to be set up at the ALEC conference:

    –Transvaginal probe demonstrations

    –Free urine tests

    –The Flinstones as history

    –Rock the disenfranchisement

    –SNAP surf n’ turf cooking demonstrations

    Lots of possibilities.

  7. - Boog - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 10:23 am:

    CMD and Common Cause…now there are a couple of unbiased organizations…

  8. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 10:48 am:

    Word, don’t forget the panel on how to pass Stand Your Ground laws. It’s working well in Florida I hear.

  9. - walkinfool - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    They shop already drafted bills, customized for your state, to (mostly GOP) legislators, — more than any other organization or lobby I have seen. That is a disturbing intervention in the governmental process.

    It’s legal, effective, and is made to work by lazy legislators and staff. When language in a bill repeated some national GOP or Conservative radio talking points, we would ask “Is that an ALEC bill?” amid laughter.

  10. - Think. - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 11:52 am:

    Secretly shapes public policy in states where Republican legislators are in the majority.

    Model bills are created that promote the pro-business ideology of big corporations.

    Anti-public interest and anti-union views are implied in much of its model legislation.

    Retains a non-profit status, but furthers the profit-driven agenda of wealthy companies.

    Teaches conservative lawmakers how to sponsor, lobby, and vote for its policies.

    ALEC’s legislative members often introduce its model bills without changing the text.

    Legislation is modified to make sure that powerful corporate interests are satisfied.

    Extreme initiatives do not reflect the views of the majority of the citizens in the USA.

    Corporate greed will continue to grow, unless people work to boycott ALEC corporations.

    Americans must speak out and vote against any politician who promotes the initiatives of this SMART ALEC, known as the American Legislative Exchange Council.

  11. - b - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    Thanks for the post. People need to wake up. These guys are behind lots of suboptimal policies. Telecom dereg being one of them.

  12. - Old and In The Way - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 12:35 pm:

    Sadly the telecomm rewrite has been under the radar. ALEC has had a big influence in Illinois both in telecomm and utilities whether people realize it or not. It’s not just the GOP that is lazy and can be bought!

  13. - countryboy - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 1:00 pm:

    Is Dillard still the Illinois honcho for ALEC?

  14. - Adam Smith - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 2:18 pm:

    Extremists on both ends of the spectrum share their paranoia gene.

    I was active in ALEC in a previous corporate position. Businesses and business groups gathered to share information with ALEC staff and legislators. Yes, they have an agenda, just like the left-leaning groups that draft model legislation and bring their allies together to advocate for their agenda.

    It’s all part of this big messy thing we call democracy. It isn’t sinister, unless you disagree with the policies. But are our “progressive” friends trying to expose the ways that their allied organizations play the same games with money, influence and access? Not likely.

  15. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 2:48 pm:

    –It’s all part of this big messy thing we call democracy. It isn’t sinister, unless you disagree with the policies.–

    No, I’d say a lobbying group/phony tax-exempt that promotes a national agenda of perverting the law to disenfranchise legal voters is a wee bit sinister.

    Still trying to figure out how they rationalize a goal of mandatory transvaginal probes for those seeking abortion with their mission statement of “limited government.”

    Apparently, not limited to any intrusion.

  16. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Aug 6, 13 @ 3:46 pm:

    Adam, maybe at one time, but the bedroom-probing, pension-killing ALEC is not a straight-up shop any more. If you visit here often, you would know that AA would seldom be described as a lefty.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Belvidere UAW local sticking with Foster despite regional UAW's endorsement of Dem opponent Rashid
* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Despite reported shortage, state claims city has not requested diapers for migrant babies since October
* IVF debate takes a weird political turn
* ComEd Four sentencing will be delayed
* It’s just a bill
* Open thread
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live coverage
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...





Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

February 2024
January 2024
December 2023
November 2023
October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller