Links to Information About Lobbying and the Congressional/Corporate Relationship
In an attempt to shine some light on ALEC and our new form of “democracy,” Schoolhouse Rock has been updated with ALEC Rock, its evil green (as in money, not the environment) cousin.
ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) is a one-stop shop for corporations looking to identify friendly state legislators and work with them to get special-interest legislation introduced. It’s win-win for corporations, their lobbyists, and right-wing legislators. But the big losers are citizens whose rights and interests are sold off to the highest bidder.
Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations. Through ALEC, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU?
This week, as the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) convened its annual States & Nation Policy Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, labor, civil rights, and activist groups took advantage of the opportunity to highlight ALEC’s role in advancing conservative legislation on everything from voter ID to SB 1070 copycat bills.
So I was not shocked when I found out that Joan Gardner, executive director of state services for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s Office of Policy and Representation, had been keeping something important from us. As a leading member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force, she’d been helping write legislation designed to ensure that any healthcare reform implemented at the state level would benefit insurance companies far more than their policyholders. She was also leading an effort to recruit more dues-paying members to ALEC.
Arizona has one of the highest concentrations of ALEC legislators of any state in the United States – at least 50 of the 90 legislators now serving are ALEC members. Major corporations including Coca-Cola, Kraft, ExxonMobil and GlaxoSmithKline are key players in Arizona politics, and members of ALEC’s “Private Enterprise Board.” Over the past 10 years, the 22 companies represented on the Private Enterprise Board have spent $16 million in Arizona state political campaigns.
This flow of money and staffers towards Washington’s lobbying firms has led to concerns that corporations and other organizations are able to buy influence and acquire privileged access to serving politicians. Furthermore, ex-staffers gain private benefits in such transactions, and this may have a negative impact on their incentives before leaving Congress.
Part 1, Lobbying; Part 2 Corporate Citizens. Link to part 2 from Part 1. Another view of congresspeople’s role in using lobbyists.
Jack Abramoff 60 Minutes Interview, video
I'm Just a Bill Parody
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