American Legislative Exchange Council

Founded in the early 1970s to promote right-wing policies at the state level, the American Legislative Exchange Council's focus has shifted to favor the promotion of state legislation and regulation that benefits its corporate sponsors. A fact that should come as no surprise given its funding by right-wing foundations and corporate membership fees ranging from $5000 to $50,000. The council boasts a large clearinghouse of research, model bills, and legislative strategies to promote its agenda.

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
1129 20th Street NW - Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Website: www.alec.org

Founders: Paul Weyrich, Henry Hyde, Lou Barnett, and others
Executive Director: Ron Scheberle

Established: 1973
Financials: $7,803,119 (2007 budget)
Employees: 28

Board Members: South Carolina Representative Liston Barfield; Utah Senator Curt Bramble; North Carolina Representative Harold Brubaker; Indiana Senator Jim Buck; Texas Representative Tom Craddick; New Mexico Senator Kent Cravens; Mississippi Representative Jim Ellington; Louisiana Representative Noble Ellington; Indiana Representative Dave Frizzell; Mississippi Senator Billy Hewes III; Virginia Representative Bill Howell; New York Senator Owen Johnson; Arkansas Senator Michael Lamoureux; Tennessee Representative Steve McDaniel; Kansas Senator Ray Merrick; Connecticut Representative John Piscopo; Nevada Senator Bill Raggio; Nevada Senator Dean Rhoads; Georgia Senator Chip Rogers; Ohio Senator William Seitz; Tennessee Representative Curry Todd; Iowa Representative Linda Upmeyer; Kansas Senator Susan Wagle

Private Enterprise Board:
Sano Blocker, Energy Future Holdings; Don Bohn, Johnson & Johnson; Jeff Bond, PhRMA;Bill Carmichael, American Bail Coalition; Derek Crawford, Kraft Foods, Inc. John Del Giorno, GlaxoSmithKline;Matt Echols, Coca-Cola Company; Jim Epperson, Jr., AT&T Services, Inc.; Michael Hubert, Pfizer Inc; Teresa Jennings, Reed Elsevier, Inc.; Ken Lane, DIAGEO; Kelly Mader, Peabody Energy; Bernie McKay, Intuit, Inc.; Mike Morgan, Koch Industries, Inc.;Kevin Murphy, ExxonMobil Corp.; Sandra Oliver, Bayer Corporation; David Powers, Reynolds American Inc.;Maggie Sans, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; Russell Smoldon, Salt River Project; Toby Spangler, Altria Client Services, Inc.; Roland Spies, State Farm Insurance Co.; Pat Thomas, United Parcel Service; Jerry Watson, Chairman Emeritus
Membership: claims over 2,000 state legislators as members
Publications: ALEC Policy Forum: A Journal for State and National Policymakers, policy papers, Task Force reports (9), Leadership Briefing (newsletter), Inside ALEC (monthly publication)

Principal Issues

  • The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a right-wing public policy organization with strong ties to major corporations, trade associations and right-wing politicians.
  • ALEC's agenda includes rolling back civil rights, challenging government restrictions on polluters, infringing on workers’ rights, limiting government regulations of commerce, privatizing public services, and representing the interests of the corporations that make up its supporters.
  • ALEC's mission: "To promote the principles of federalism by developing and promoting policies…To enlist state legislators from all parties and members of the private sector who share ALEC's mission…To conduct a policy-making program that unites members of the public and private sector in a dynamic partnership to support research, policy development, and dissemination activities."
  • ALEC is supported by many right-wing foundations and organizations, including, but not limited to: National Rifle Association, Family Research Council, Heritage Foundation, Sarah Scaife Foundation, Milliken Foundation, DeVos Foundation, Bradley Foundation, and the Olin Foundation.ALEC has approximately three hundred corporate sponsors. Several well-known and closely-tied organizations include: [] American Nuclear Energy Council, American Petroleum Institute, Amoco, Chevron, Coors Brewing Company, Shell, Texaco, Union Pacific Railroad, Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, Phillip Morris, and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.
  • ALEC has proposed that many public services, such as schools, prisons, public transportation, and social and welfare services, be taken over by for-profit private businesses.
  • One of ALEC's central concerns is government regulations of businesses, especially ones that protect the environment and/or public health.

Activities

  • ALEC develops and creates "model" legislation and through its national political network lobbies to get it passed in state legislatures. In 2009, 826 model ALEC bills were introduced in state legislatures, 115 of which were eventually enacted into law.
  • ALEC has 9 "Task Forces" - Commerce & Economic Development Task Force; Criminal Justice Task Force; Energy, Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Task Force; Tax & Fiscal Policy Task Force; Trade & Transportation Task Force; Health & Human Services Task Force; Education Task Force; Telecommunications & Information Technology Task Force; and the Federalism Task Force.
  • ALEC works closely with the State Policy Network, a national network of right-wing groups and foundations that push their agenda on the local and state level.
  • ALEC has been a strong supporter of deregulation of various industries. For example, in the 1990's ALEC championed deregulation of the electricity industry by arguing that states had a monopoly over the "utility markets." During this time Kenneth Lay of Enron was an active, outspoken member who strongly supported deregulation.
  • ALEC has had some success in attempts to privatize education. It created the first private school voucher legislation that proposed giving public education funds to private schools, and is currently celebrating the 2005 passage of a school choice bill in Utah. ALEC strongly supports Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, and argues that market competition will force public schools to improve or be put out of business.
    ALEC applauds the decision to not sign the "economy-busting Kyoto Protocol," which it accurately describes as the "international treaty to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide."

Funding

  • In 2007 ALEC had $7,803,119 in revenue and $3,168,106 in assets. Businesses and foundations contributing to ALEC include Exxon Mobil, the Scaife family (Allegheny Foundation and the Scaife Family Foundation), the Coors family (Castle Rock Foundation), Charles Koch (Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation), the Bradley family (The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation) and the Olin family (John M. Olin Foundation).
  • Corporate membership fees range between $5,000 and $50,000 with additional annual fees to participate in certain task forces.

History

  • ALEC's early years conformed to Paul Weyrich's vision, focusing on standard right-wing causes such as opposing abortion and women's rights and supporting school prayer.
  • In the 1980s ALEC's focus changed due to increased corporate interest and donations.
  • ALEC was one of President Reagan's strongest supporters throughout the 1980s, for which it gained significant notoriety. Many of ALEC's key employees were offered jobs in the Reagan administration.
  • In the mid-1980s ALEC began its own political action committee, ALEC-PAC, which targeted key races to influence partisan control of state legislatures.

ALEC Quotes:

  • "Our members join for the purpose of having a seat at the table. That's just what we do, that's the service we offer. The organization is supported by money from the corporate sector, and, by paying to be members, corporations are allowed the opportunity to sit down at the table and discuss the issues that they have an interest in." -Dennis Bartlett, ALEC, 1997

Updated: May 2011

Filed Under

Organizations:

ALEC