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ALEC Retreats From Social Issues

The following statement was issued by David Frizzell, Indiana State Representative and 2012 National Chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on April 17, 2012:

“Today we are redoubling our efforts on the economic front, a priority that has been the hallmark of our organization for decades. Fostering the exchange of pro-growth, solutions-oriented ideas is precisely why ALEC exists.

“To that end, our legislative board last week unanimously agreed to further our work on policies that will help spur innovation and competitiveness across the country.

“We are refocusing our commitment to free-market, limited government and pro-growth principles, and have made changes internally to reflect this renewed focus.

“We are eliminating the ALEC Public Safety and Elections task force that dealt with non-economic issues, and reinvesting these resources in the task forces that focus on the economy. The remaining budgetary and economic issues will be reassigned.

“While we recognize there are other critical, non-economic issues that are vitally important to millions of Americans, we believe we must concentrate on initiatives that spur competitiveness and innovation and put more Americans back to work.

“Our free-market, limited government, pro-growth policies are the reason ALEC enjoys the support of legislators on both sides of the aisle and in all 50 states. ALEC members are interested in solutions that put the American economy back on track. This is our mission, and it is what distinguishes us.”

So, what does all that gobbledygook mean? It means that the efforts of groups like Color of Change to get corporations to withdraw their support of ALEC has been successful. Among the supporters who have pulled out are PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, McDonald’s, Intuit, Wendy’s, Mars Inc. and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. ALEC has been exposed, first by the Center for Media and Democracy, as the source of many state legislative efforts to pass bills that limit voting rights (that was one of the early objectives of the group.) and of the “stand your ground” laws that have become so controversial in the past few weeks. Nothing works faster to convince a corporation to change its policies like threatening their bottom line, and food is a very easy target for boycotts.

The “economic issues” that ALEC is vowing to concentrate on include union busting, removing or reducing minimum wage laws, right-to-work laws, and just about anything that will benefit corporations and harm workers.

The effort to get companies to pull out support of ALEC was conducted with e-mail and social media campaigns and the lodging of consumer opinions. Now, the effort needs to concentrate on cutting off ALEC from our legislatures. We want laws that originate in our states and in the minds of our states’ citizens, not laws ready-made by outside interests. We need to get that message to the member of our state legislatures that belong to ALEC.

At the ALEC entry on Wikipedia, you will find a list of the state chairmen for each state. I was very disappointed to find that Vermont State Senator Kevin Mullin was on the list. He’s the only Republican I’ve voted for in years.

ALEC’s membership includes more than 2,000 state legislators. 85 members of Congress, 14 former or sitting governors and approximately 300 private sector members, from corporations and foundations. You can find the complete list at

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=ALEC_Politicians

ALEC also has a total of 19 international partners, including five members of foreign governments and 14 members of the European Union Parliament. That’s hysterically funny, really, since Republicans are so hot-and-bothered about “taking back our country.”

One small afterthought….when we post our stories to the site, we receive a list of other people who have covered this story.  On ALEC, all but two will be stories from Fox stations.  That says a lot about where ALEC is supported and how much it is still under the mainstream media’s radar.

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