Big corporations looking to fast track anti-worker state laws to score huge corporate pay-offs should look no further than ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. After donating millions of

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Big corporations looking to fast track anti-worker state laws to score huge corporate pay-offs should look no further than ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.  After donating millions of Powered By Docstoc
					                            Corporations Cut Out the Middlemen
                                 and Write Their Own Laws
Big corporations looking to fast track anti-worker state laws to score huge corporate                        ALEC’s Greatest Hits
pay-offs should look no further than ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange
Council. After donating millions of dollars to ALEC, it seems corporate executives1                          Big Oil Enlists ALEC’s Help
can basically write their own legislation.                                                                   Since 2001, ExxonMobile has given ALEC
                                                                                                             $1.1 million in contributions, with a signifi-
                                                                                                             cant portion specifically earmarked to deal
ALEC’s legislative members introduce about 1,000 bills a year and get over 20
                                                                                                             with climate change issues. ALEC sent
percent of them passed into law.2 One of ALEC’s primary functions is the develop-
                                                                                                             legislators home with reports and model
ment of model legislation and reports that will later be used by state legislators to
                                                                                                             legislation that claimed ‘the science of
advance conservative principles. Highlights include providing “model” legislation
                                                                                                             climate change is unsettled’ and questioned
that would give corporations immunity from certain environmental laws and3 issuing
                                                                                                             the role of ‘human activities’ in climate
reports recommending that senior citizens should be forced to mortgage their
                                                                                                             change.13
homes to pay for medical bills.4
                                                                                                             Protecting Corporate Polluters
Additionally, as pointed out by one criminal justice advocacy organization, “[b]                             The ALEC environmental issues task force
y funding and participating in ALEC’s [task forces], private prison companies can                            approved model legislation to give corpo-
directly influence legislation related to sentencing; [as an example], harsh sentenc-                        rations immunity from prosecution under
ing laws sending more people to prison for longer.”.5                                                        environmental laws.14

ALEC claims to be non-partisan, but a look at their board and task force leaders                             Big Banks Profit on Senior Citizens
call that claim into question: 87 percent of board members and 97 percent of task                            In 2004, ALEC suggested that governments
force leaders are Republicans.6                                                                              mandate senior citizens mortgage their
                                                                                                             homes to pay for medical bills freeing up $2
Not only do corporations, non-profits, and public policy organizations make up 45                            trillion in home equity Americans worked
percent7 of ALEC’s membership but they provide most of the organization’s operating                          their lives for.15
budget. In 2008, corporate members and special interest donors were responsible                              Giving Corporations a Free Pass
for $5.6 Million of ALEC’s total $6.9 Million in revenue.8                                                   A 2010 report by the American Association
                                                                                                             of Justice revealed that Crown Cork & Seal
SB 1070 – ALEC’s Blockbuster Bill of the Year                                                                purchased a manufacturer of asbestos in
Arizona’s infamous SB 1070 has been a top news story for months. The bill                                    the 1960s – knowing the danger of asbestos
requires local law enforcement to stop anyone they suspect of being in the country                           and the potential claims that could result.
illegally. Progressive groups around the country have called this an invitation for                          Crown with ALEC’s help pushed legislation
harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship                              granting immunity in 13 states and limiting
status.                                                                                                      liability awards in 9 others.16

An early version of the bill was first submitted for review to ALEC’s Public Safety                          Keeping Prisons Full and Taxpayer
and Elections Task Force in December 2009, where both Arizona Senator Russell                                Dollars Rolling In
Pearce9 and Laurie Shanblum, a top executive at Corrections Corporation of Ameri-                            Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)
ca sit on the executive committee.10                                                                         wanted to make sure it’s prison beds stayed
                                                                                                             full so the company helped craft “three
As uncovered by the magazine In These Times, a ALEC’s spokesperson explained                                 strikes” and “minimum sentencing”. Keep-
that the “model legislation that emerged from Pearce’s ALEC task force in early                              ing prisoners in jail longer keeps profits
January is virtually identical to the bill introduced by Pearce in the Arizona Legis-                        rolling in.17
lature later that month.”11
                                                                                                             More Corporate Members 18
                                                                                                             BlueCross BlueShield
CCA stands to reap huge profits from the Arizona bill. Despite Arizona’s projected
                                                                                                             Phillip Morris International
$2 Billion budget shortfall, the Governor of State of Arizona has proposed a bud-
                                                                                                             Wal-Mart
get that sets aside $98 Million to pay for the likely additional detainees expected
                                                                                                             Time Warner Cable
to flood the system - $40 Million of that windfall is allotted to go to private prison
                                                                                                             AT&T
corporations.12
                                                                                                             State Farm
Similar legislation has been proposed in 22 states. As the largest private prison                            11. http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/6084/corpo-
                                                                                                             rate_con_game
corporation in the country and the leading recipient of federal immigration                                  12. http://www.arizonaeducationnetwork.com/2010/03/
detainee contracts from the federal government, taxpayers could end up handing                               house-senate-appropriations-committees-begin-work-on-
over billions of dollars to CCA and other private prison corporations.                                       seventh-special-session-bills/
                                                                                                             13. American Association for Justice, “ALEC: Ghostwrit-
1. http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/6084/corporate_con_game/                                              ing the Law for Corporate America,” May 2010
2. Atlanta Constitution-Journal, 7/17/09                                                                     14. Defenders of Wildlife & the Natural Resources De-
3. Defenders of Wildlife & the Natural Resources Defense Council, “Corporate America’s Trojan Horse in the   fense Council, “Corporate America’s Trojan Horse in the
                                                                                                             States: The Untold Story Behind the American Legislative
States: The Untold Story Behind the American Legislative Exchange Council,” Released 2/28/02                 Exchange Council,” Released 2/28/02
4. ABA Banking Journal, November 2004                                                                        15. ABA Banking Journal, November 2004
5. The Sentencing Project, “Prison Privatization and the Use of Incarceration,” September 2004               16. American Association for Justice, “ALEC: Ghostwrit-
6. American Legislative Exchange Council, “Board of Directors,” “ALEC State Chairmen”                        ing the Law for Corporate America,” May 2010
7. American Legislative Exchange Council, “2010 Advertising Guide,” accessed 7/6/10                          17. The Sentencing Project, “Prison Privatization and the
8. http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/6084/corporate_con_game                                               Use of Incarceration,” September 2004
9. http://www.alec.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Public_Sector_Executive_Committee2                            18. American Legislative Exchange Council, “2010 Adver-
                                                                                                             tising Guide,” accessed 7/6/10
10. http://www.alec.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Private_Sector_Executive_Committee2

				
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Description: Big corporations looking to fast track anti-worker state laws to score huge corporate pay-offs should look no further than ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. After donating millions of dollars to ALEC, it seems corporate executives can basically write their own legislation. Read the fact sheet to learn more.