The exodus of major corporations from the corporate front group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has made headlines nationwide as the group’s agenda has been increasingly scrutinized by the general public.
But as these corporations have fled ALEC, there has also been one other little-noticed exodus from the group: that of legislators. SourceWatch and Keystone Progress have been tracking the defections of lawmakers. Here are 28 who have left so far:
- Sen. Nan Orrock (D-GA): “As a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council for several years, having joined ALEC with the primary goal of better understanding the corporate-dominated organization, I know first-hand that ALEC is not the innocuous organization it claims to be.” [4/17/12]We applaud these legislators for leaving the corporate front group, which has been responsible for pushing destructive special interest legislation, from climate change denial in schools, to anti-union and anti-consumer bills, to the controversial Voter ID and Stand Your Ground laws.
- Sen. Greg Cromer (R-LA): “‘It has been brought to my attention that there have been meetings and/or activities with ALEC staff members within the state of Louisiana that I have not been privy to,’ Cromer wrote in his resignation letter that went out as an email to key lawmakers and staffers.” [4/17/12]
- Sen. Mike Colona (D-MO): “‘Their agenda is radical and wrong for Missouri. I was a member and saw firsthand the sort of extreme legislation they push on state legislators around the country,’ Cromer said in a statement to the organization “Progress Missouri.” [4/12/12]
- Pennsylvania Reps. Kate Harper (R), Sandra Major (R), Mark Mustio (R), Harry Readshaw (D), and Sen. John Pippy (R) [4/26/12]
- Sen. George Muñoz (D-NM) [4/20/12]
- Rep. Ted Vick (D-SC): “Recent revelations concerning ALEC’s funding sources from radical elements have proven to be the final straw for me. ALEC has become too partisan and too extreme.” [4/24/12]
- Nebraska Senators Danielle Conrad (D), Tony Fulton (R), Health Mello (D), and Jeremy Norquist (D) [4/26/12]
- Texas Democratic Party Reps. Alma Allen, Armando Martinez, Dawnna Dukes, Hubert Vo, Harold Dutton, Chente, Quintanilla, Eddie Rodriguez, José Menéndez, Ruth Jones McClendon, Eric Johnson, Tracy King, Ryan Guillen [4/2012]
- Rep. Jennifer Selig (D-UT) [4/9/12]
- Rep. Kevin Van De Wege (D-WA): “My membership status is increasingly becoming a divisive issue this year, and I prefer to put my time and energy into efforts that unite our district rather than divide it.” [4/11/12]
The good government group Common Cause is alleging that ALEC is running what amounts to a tax scam for some of America's largest and most well-known companies. In a whistleblower complaint filed with the IRS, Common Cause charges that ALEC's lobbying for "model" legislation is designed to boost the profits of its corporate members and is thus a violation of its tax-exempt status.
Common Cause's tax filing focuses on ALEC's undermining of basic democratic practices: ALEC practices stealth advocacy; it writes bills for legislators, refines that legislation through task forces where its business members wield veto power, then quietly shepherds the finished "model" bills to passage. Their mission accomplished, ALEC’s business members reward the group with massive contributions – nearly $400 million from 2000-10, according to Common Cause. Help Common Cause expand its work on ALEC and contact the IRS on your own using this form which the Service set up for the public to register suspicions of organizations not complying with the tax laws. After you've weighed in, share this post with family, Facebook friends, Twitter followers and your local media outfits.
This report from Accounting Today explains the legal basis for Common Cause's complaint to the IRS.