July 25, 2012 -- KSTU Television FOX 13, Salt Lake City, UT -- Max Roth reporting:
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization that has taken center stage in a national debate over the proper roles of government and business, is meeting in Salt Lake City to cheers from a number of Republican Utah lawmakers and protests from many national non-profits and local activists.
ALEC brings state lawmakers from around the country together with corporate sponsors and some conservative interest groups. They cite free market interests as their prime mission and they call themselves bi-partisan.
In recent years, however, ALEC has lost the majority of its Democratic members and in the past year a number of corporate sponsors have fled as well.
Lisa Graves, the executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy came to Utah to protest.
"They [ALEC] vote on model legislation behind closed doors without the press, without people like you or the public present and then those state legislators come out to their state house and introduce those bills cleansed from any fact that they were pre-voted on by corporate lobbyists," Graves said.