Bill Moyers: United States of ALEC — A Viewers Guide

Moyers & CompanyA new episode of the Moyers and Company television program by the legendary broadcaster Bill Moyers aired on public television stations across the U.S. over the weekend. The program was packed with new material about ALEC's latest moves and relies heavily upon the research and reporting of CMD’s award-winning "ALEC Exposed" project. The program features interviews with CMD Executive Director Lisa Graves, Deputy Director Mary Bottari and Director of Research Nick Surgey. Madisonians John Nichols of the Nation, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan and University of Wisconsin professors Joel Rogers and Julie Underwood are also interviewed about the expansive ALEC agenda.

This viewers guide is intended to provide more information about some of the things mentioned in the program, to give links to a number of helpful resources and to offer some ideas about how you can take action.

1. Watch the film online here. Then share it (and this viewers' guide) with friends and family.

2. Follow the ALEC Exposed Project. Check out a wealth of information about ALEC, including links to reports, resources, actions and much more at CMD's award winning ALEC Exposed project website here.

3. Learn more about stories from the film. There was a lot of information in the program, but some things were only briefly mentioned that you might want to find out more about. Here are just a few:

  • CMD Files Open Records Suit Against ALEC Board Member, Sen. Leah Vukmir. ALEC has recently started stamping its materials with a claim that it is exempt from all state public record disclosures, and has been trying to evade disclosure through using online secure "dropboxes." In June 2013, CMD filed an open records lawsuit against ALEC board member and Wisconsin State Senator, Leah Vukmir. Read more.
  • ALEC Tours Tar Sands, Works with Industry Groups to Block Low-Carbon Fuel Standards. ALEC recently adopted a "model" bill from an oil-industry lobby group, that would limit the ability of states to negotiate regional "low-carbon fuel standards" (LCFS.) If agreed by states, LCFS could have a significant impact on the sale of fuels derived from Canadian tar sands in the United States, regardless of any decision the Obama administration makes over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Read more.
  • "ALEC Who?" ALEC Has an Identity Crisis. ALEC, is asking members to stop calling it "ALEC" because the name is now associated with a "distant, mysterious, Washington alphabet organization of unknown intentions." Read more.
  • ALEC Assembles "Most Wanted" List. At its recent spring conference, ALEC assembled a dossier of disfavored reporters and activists, kicked reporters - including Nick Surgey of CMD - who might write unfavorable stories out of the conference, and managed to boot a community forum critical of ALEC from its reserved room. Read more.

If you like what you read, then you can find hundreds more of our articles about ALEC here. Sign up to receive email updates (sign up at the top of this page), like us on Facebook, and follow us on twitter.

3. Find out if your state legislators are members of ALEC. For two years, CMD has been compiling a list of known ALEC leaders state-by-state, which you can find here, but we need your help to keep this up to date and to identify missing legislators who are part of the group. ALEC does not release membership lists, but all across the United States citizens are asking their legislators to come clean. Moyers and Company have created a tool to help you contact your legislator and ask them: "Are you a member of ALEC?" You can use this tool here to contact your representative.

4. Find out which corporations fund ALEC. CMD has been compiling a list of known ALEC corporate funders, and tracking their involvement here. At least 45 corporations and six non-profits have now quit ALEC, including big names like Amazon, Coca Cola and Walmart. Find the latest list of which corporations have left ALEC so far here.

5. Read more about the ALEC agenda. CMD's Executive Director Lisa Graves spoke in the film about more than 800 ALEC "model" bills that were provided to her by a whistleblower in 2011. You can find all these on the ALEC Exposed website here, plus check our factsheets about:

6. Support our future investigations. Our work to expose the ALEC agenda continues, as does new work on many other projects, so check back again soon and support our work by making a small donation today.


The author listed as "PRwatch Editors" is for reports attributable to CMD's editors or guest authors.