ALEC: A Secretive Organization That Bypasses Open Government and Your Rights

You may not have heard of ALEC, a shadowy conservative-backed organization that ghost writes laws that are routinely passed by legislators around the country, laws that affect almost every area of American life, often directly benefiting huge corporations. These activities take place behind closed doors, in secret. The result is almost a shadow government, into which most voters have no access, or knowledge.

ALEC stands for American Legislative Exchange Council, which consists of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives. They draft and share model state level legislation for distribution among state governments in the United States, usually without public oversight or input from voters. The people involved in ALEC are interested in furthering the agenda of large corporations with lots of money to spend. Consequently, state legislators around the country give ALEC much more deference then the voters who elected them into office.

Whether you realize it or not, ALEC has affected you, your rights, and the laws under which you live. The links below offer some eye-opening examples of how much our state legislators are held captive by this secretive group of lobbyists and legislators.

  • Legislators and corporate lobbyists meet in secret at Georgia resort In this blatant example of the secrecy involving ALEC, a reporter for an Atlanta news station stays at the same hotel as a secret meeting between ALEC and Georgia legislators, and is kicked out of the hotel when he starts asking too many questions. It is clear that legislators do not want their cooperation with ALEC to be disclosed to the public.
  • Exposing ALEC – The Atlantic has an expose about ALEC, and how they sell prepackaged conservative bills to legislators around the country, circumventing open government and participation by the public.
  • The Center for Media and Democracy has a lot of information about this secretive organization. Do yourself a favor and check it out. This is our democracy, or at least it is supposed to be.
  • Wikipedia has an entry about ALEC which gives you unbiased information about this organization.
  • National Public Radio, a neutral news organization, reports on how ALEC serves as a dating service for politicians and corporations
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