Friday, August 17, 2012

ALEC loses another member; this time, it's Entergy

Entergy is the latest corporation to dump ALEC, the front group that wines, dines and bribes writes helpful legislation for lawmakers. It is the second biggest operator of nuclear power plants in the U.S.

According to the Center for Media and Democracy, Entergy is the 33rd corporation and nonprofit groups have cut ties to ALEC. A campaign to expose ALEC (aka "the American Legislative Exchange Council") has inspired public revulsion over the group's agenda of union-busting, deregulation, voter suppression and privatization.

The revelation that Entergy dumped ALEC came about after 41 investors and advocates sent letters to 49 companies that are members of ALEC and asked them why they belonged. (Props to AFSCME and Walden Asset Management for doing the lifting on this.) Entergy sent a letter to Timothy Smith, a senior vice president at Walden, explaining that it is no longer a member of ALEC.

Meanwhile, all kinds of other dirt is surfacing about ALEC. In Ohio, a report about ALEC's influence on lawmakers was released today. According to Progress Ohio, seven of ALEC's sins include,
  • The Director of Scheduling for the Ohio House speaker was asked to rearrange the 2012 session dates around ALEC events. 
  • Senior staff from ALEC advised a legislator handling requests from the press that, "Actually, it would help ALEC out a lot on this issue if they said that they didn't use ALEC model legislation." 
  • Hundreds  of  Statehouse emails were sent  during work  hours  solely  to schedule  legislators  for  free dinners from lobbyists at ALEC events. The lobbyist battles to take certain lawmakers out to dinner are so intense that a legislative staffer resorted to lying. 
  • Despite ALEC's claims of non-partisanship, legislative staff circulated a membership recruitment letter to Republicans only. 
  • ALEC's co-chair was incredulous that a corporation received 3 tickets to an ALEC event at a baseball game for "a lousy $1,000."
Earlier this week in Michigan, Progress Michigan reported that ALEC wrote bills to suppress the vote and to help corporate bottom lines at the expense of middle-class families. The Detroit News reported,
Progress Michigan, a left-leaning political action group, said they've determined at least 20 bills echo legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council, including some that appear to have been cut and pasted from "model bills" provided by the group of state lawmakers, businesses and corporate lobbyists. 
The group said residents have a right to know who's writing the bills the Legislature passes. Progress Michigan cited recently passed bills that unions say weaken collective bargaining.
Chalk it up to another bad week for ALEC. (So sad.)