Thursday, January 9, 2014

Iowa Democrats to ALEC: Explain why you aren't unethical

The corporate dating service for state lawmakers known as ALEC has really, really infuriated Iowa Democrats.

For some reason (maybe because they wanted to seem 'bipartisan?), ALEC announced that all members of Iowa's legislature were members.

Even the Democrats.

Even the Democrats who never paid dues (which would be all of them).

House Democratic Leader Mark Smith sent a stinging letter to ALEC demanding all Democrats' names be removed from ALEC's membership list.

He also demanded to know who paid their membership dues, since the Democrats hadn't. He wrote:
If a corporation or other entity has paid dues to ALEC on behalf of Iowa state legislators, we believe such action likely constitutes a violation of Iowa ethics law.
The letter actually made three requests:
  • Remove the names of Iowa House Democrats from the ALEC membership list.
  • Identify who paid our membership dues.
  • Explain why payment of ALEC dues can be made on behalf of a legislator without the legislator’s knowledge or consent.
The DesMoines Register picked up the story, noting:
ALEC has been the target of a withering, months-long campaign by Democrats and liberal groups, who say it’s a sharply partisan organization that allows corporate interests to write legislation and wield undue influence in state legislatures.
Looks like 2014 is turning out to be just as bad for ALEC as 2013 was. Such a shame.