April 24, 2012
We already know the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was very instrumental in pushing the “Stand Your Ground” law which was introduced and passed in several states; including Florida where it was a key factor in the death of Trayvon Martin. But the gun law is just the tip of the iceberg relative to ALEC’s involvement with constructing bills for states to pass.
Budget shortfalls have caused every state in the union to start looking for ways to increase revenue. Ohio is no different. Lawmakers in that state introduced legislation last year that would make it easier to recover money from businesses that defraud the state. (Notice that the key word here is “defraud”.) However, many Ohio businesses weren’t too happy about this so they turned to ALEC for help.
ALEC virtually rewrote the Ohio law which was handed over to corporate lobbyist who in turn lobbied Ohio legislators. As a result, Ohio lawmakers rewrote the law. Lee Fang, reporter with the Republic Report, responded with “corporate lobbyists — not state lawmakers — have the final say in developing legislation.”
The article by Republic Report was based on an investigative report by Mike McIntire of the New York Times. McIntire quotes from one Ohio Republican lawmaker’s private memorandum: “While [the bill] is understandable, as states are broke, the considered advice from our friends at ALEC was that such legislation is not well taken and should not be approved”.
The New York Times article has much more to say on conservative nonprofits that act as “stealth business lobbyist”.