"Conservative Nonprofit Acts as a Stealth Business Lobbyist"

The American Legislative Exchange Council -- ALEC -- has for decades worked to fight protection of public health from environmental threats. Funded with corporate money, the group has won non-profit tax status from the federal government even as it lobbies for industrial interests on an industrial scale. Now, because it backed the gun law that kept Trayvon Martin's killer from arrest, some large corporations are cashing out from ALEC.

"Desperate for new revenue, Ohio lawmakers introduced legislation last year that would make it easier to recover money from businesses that defraud the state.

It was quickly flagged at the Washington headquarters of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a business-backed group that views such 'false claims' laws as encouraging frivolous lawsuits. ALEC’s membership includes not only corporations, but nearly 2,000 state legislators across the country — including dozens who would vote on the Ohio bill.

One of them, Bill Seitz, a prominent Republican state senator, wrote to a fellow senior lawmaker to relay ALEC’s concerns about 'the recent upsurge' in false-claims legislation nationwide. 'While this is understandable, as states are broke, the considered advice from our friends at ALEC was that such legislation is not well taken and should not be approved,' he said in a private memorandum."

Mike McIntire reports for the New York Times April 21, 2012.

SEE ALSO:

"ALEC Cuts Controversial Task Force" (Atlantic)

"Corporate America's Trojan Horse in the States" (Natural Resources Defense Council and Defenders of Wildlife 2002 Report)

"AlecWatch" (State Environmental Resource Center)

"ALEC Exposed: The Koch Connection" (Nation 8/1/11)

"ALEC Exposed: Environment, Energy, and Agriculture" (Center for Media and Democracy)

"Major Media Now Investigating ALEC" (The Moderate Voice)

Monday, April 23, 2012