FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 12, 2019
CONTACT: David Armiak, email@example.com, 608-229-6801
MADISON – The Center for Media and Democracy and Common Cause released a new report today detailing the profound influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Texas. The report comes as ALEC prepares to hold its Annual Meeting in Austin tomorrow, where legislators and corporate lobbyists will meet behind closed doors to adopt model legislation on a broad range of public policy issues.
"This report exposes the pervasive influence ALEC enjoys in the Lone Star State," said David Armiak, research director at the Center for Media and Democracy. "ALEC's corporate-backed agenda tramples on the rights of hard-working Texans and the environment in favor of global corporations and special interest groups."
ALEC claims "one-quarter of the country's state legislators" are members, but keeps their identity secret. The report identifies 58 Texas legislators have known ties to ALEC, or almost one third of the legislature.
CMD tracks legislator ties to ALEC and maintains an up-to-date list on alecexposed.org.
"ALEC's history of rigging the rules against everyday Texans on behalf of their corporate funders is not how democracy is supposed to work," said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas. "This report will help Texas voters understand who their legislature really works for and what special interests are behind some of the most harmful bills we've seen in recent years."
Here are some of the key findings from the report:
- ALEC has been influential on a wide range of legislation in Texas including:
- The "Critical Infrastructure Protection" law enacted this year to criminalize protest;
- Expansion of the state's preemption of local gun safety regulations;
- A 2019 attempt to preempt local paid sick-leave ordinances;
- Controversial "Stand your Ground" and Voter ID laws; and
- A law establishing a system of "high-risk insurance pools."
- BNSF Railway, Energy Future Holdings, McLane Company, and VISTRA Energy are some of the known Texas-based funders of ALEC.
- Both Common Cause and the Center for Media and Democracy have filed complaints with the IRS against ALEC for claiming 501(c)(3) charity status despite extensive lobbying for the benefit of its corporate backers.
- The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), a right-wing "think tank" and a member of ALEC's sister organization the State Policy Network, is ALEC's closest partner in the state. TPPF is a funder and member of ALEC, serving on several of ALEC's task forces.
"ALEC's corporate pay-to-play lobbying scheme serves to hide special interest influence so the public never knows who writes the laws that affect our daily lives and environment," said Arn Pearson, CMD's executive director. "We're working to shine a light into the dark corners of ALEC's policy making."