June 05, 2015 5 Commentson
Last week, reporters with NBC's Atlanta affiliate station crashed the Spring Task Force Summit of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC, an organization that works with state legislators, think tanks, and policy experts to advocate for limited regulation and reduced taxation, is a favorite target of left-leaning media outlets and reporters. The report published by 11 Alive, Atlanta's NBC affiliate, paints ALEC as a group of nefarious money-mongers who buy their way through state legislatures to accumulate power. 11 Alive also suggests ALEC was involved in a "secret back room meeting"... a secret back room meeting to educate part-time legislators.
What is ALEC? "It's really a corporate bill mill," said Sen. Nan Orrock, an Atlanta Democrat who has served in both houses of the Georgia General Assembly for years. "They're cranking out legislation, putting it into the hands of legislators who go back and file it." Orrock would know. She was once a member of ALEC. "The corporations that are there have equal standing with the legislators," Sen. Orrock said. "You mean they can vote?" we asked. "They absolutely can vote, and truth be told, they write the bills," she answered, referring to the lobbyists. There really are back rooms where corporate lobbyists have direct access to lawmakers completely out of sight, with no transparency or public filings. They're also wined and dined after hours at these events with nothing recorded on ethics reports. We know because we saw one of these back rooms with our own eyes, and were kicked out with the aid of off-duty police officers on orders from ALEC staff.Orrock won awards from the Progressive States Network. It's also not uncommon for think tanks and policy shops to have sample legislation posted on their websites for state house use. But facts and things.