What is Coca-Cola doing behind closed doors with Koch Industries and other multinational corporations in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)?
British Conservative Party defense secretary Liam Fox is in the midst of scandal that has grown deeper as ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are revealed. Pressure has been growing on Fox in recent weeks after having been caught in a lie about unethical dealings with his friend and former flatmate, and more ethical problems arising from the operation of a recently-dissolved, ALEC-connected "charity" Fox founded.
On September 23, the House of Representatives passed the American Legislative Exchange Council-inspired "Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act" and forwarded it to the Senate.
On September 8, the Center for Media and Democracy reported on House Majority Leader and ALEC alumnus Eric Cantor pushing ALEC's federal agenda vis-a-vis the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On September 13, we reported on the heavy funding of ALEC alumni like Cantor and Speaker of the House John Boehner by corporate members of ALEC.
Late Sunday night, after a flurry of PR flack-directed prebuttals that had eyebrows arching and anticipation building, Bloomberg Markets Magazine released an epic exposé about Koch Industries' misdeeds during the last three decades.
Fifteen Bloomberg journalists from around the world contributed to the story.
What did they uncover?
A lobbyist for Koch Industries and energy interests serves with a lobbyist for Pfizer pharmaceuticals as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) corporate co-chairs in Wisconsin, according to documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy at this year's ALEC Annual Meeting. For some, their fundraising for "scholarships" to benefit ALEC legislative members raises issues of legislative ethics.
-- by Billy Manes
The Center for Media and Democracy is re-posting this article from Billy Manes at the Orlando Weekly as part of our efforts to expose the American Legislative Exchange Council. The original can be found here.
When Jeff Wright walked into the lobby of the New Orleans Marriott on Aug. 3, he wasn't sure what to expect. As the director of public policy advocacy for the Florida Education Association -- a prominent teachers' union that had been bearing the brunt of legislative attacks from Florida Republicans throughout the 2011 legislative session -- he wasn't there for your standard Mardi Gras-themed party. The American Legislative Exchange Council, a national nonprofit organization made up of elected officials and private interests who gather regularly to try to directly influence the substance of public policy, was holding its annual four-day meeting there, so any "partying" would probably be a little more conservative, and -- going by a recent glut of press coverage pointing out ALEC's clearinghouse mentality of privately linking big corporations with the state legislators willing to pursue their bottom-line agendas in the form of "model legislation" -- slightly more nefarious. Nevertheless, he wanted to see it for himself.
Wisconsin Republicans, without going on-the-record with a vote, have used a legislative trick to block an election board rule that would have shed light on the corporate interests laundering election spending through front groups. The move echoes the American Legislative Exchange Council agenda and will likely ensure a flood of secret ads and robo-calls for Wisconsin's 2012 elections.
The Sidney Hillman Foundation selected the Center for Media and Democracy and The Nation magazine for its prestigious "Sidney Award" this month. The award recognizes our investigative journalism exposing the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which the Foundation called "an obscure but powerful conservative group that brings state legislators and corporations together to write laws."
On Monday, September 12, Brad Hooker of the Center for Responsive Politics' Open Secrets blog posted an exposé of the money that the corporate members of ALEC's "Private Enterprise" Board (including AT&T, Exxon Mobil, Kraft, Coca-Cola and Koch Industries) spent to lobby Washington and fill the campaign chests of ALEC alumni in Congress (as well as other Congressmembers). ALEC alumnus John Boehner received the most from ALEC Board corporations, a total of "$368,200 from the people and political action committees associated with the companies on ALEC's private enterprise board during the 2010 election cycle." Second place goes to another ALEC alumnus, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who has been introducing ALEC's agenda to the House. He collected "$328,100 from people and PACs associated with 17 companies on the ALEC private enterprise board."