Madison Ruppert, Contributor
As corporations and foundations like Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, Intuit, Pepsi, McDonald’s and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are distancing themselves from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), ALEC has chosen to play the victim.
To anyone familiar with ALEC’s work, their claims are wholly laughable and outright absurd.
Since ALEC has come under increasing scrutiny for their practices – which are, by definition, corporatist – and been the focus of more media coverage, they have reverted to simply playing the role of victim instead of addressing the many concerns of the American public.
ALEC distributed a press release in an attempt to maintain what little shreds of credibility they think they might have, which, among other things claims ALEC has found themselves “the focus of a well-funded, expertly coordinated intimidation campaign.”
Ah, nothing like a good old fashioned persecution complex, especially from a group with a massive roster of powerful corporations and the ability to dominate legislatures by bringing together lawmakers and corporations to draft legislation which is most beneficial to their interests.
Their statement (via Republic Report), which I find quite humorous, reads:
ALEC is an organization that supports pro-growth, pro-jobs policies and the vigorous exchange of ideas between the public and private sector to develop state based solutions. Today, we find ourselves the focus of a well-funded, expertly coordinated intimidation campaign.
Our members join ALEC because we connect state legislators with other state legislators and with job-creators in their states. They join because we support pro-business policies that promote innovation and spur local and national competitiveness. They’re ALEC members because they’re more interested in solutions than rhetoric.
At a time when job creation, real solutions and improved dialogue among political leaders is needed most, ALEC’s mission has never been more important. This is why we are redoubling our commitment to these essential priorities. We are not and will not be defined by ideological special interests who would like to eliminate discourse that leads to economic vitality, jobs and fiscal stability for the states.
If you’re like me, you were probably laughing and wiping tears from your eyes by the time you got to the end of the last paragraph.
What ALEC does, in reality, is stifle real solutions and dialogue amongst politicians by distancing the people and their so-called representatives while replacing the people with corporations who can easily push their interests.
Indeed, ALEC is resistant to being “defined by ideological special interests,” although in reality they are fighting the ideology of democracy, open societies and the right for the people to take an active role in their government, especially in the legislative process.
They support pro-big business policies which, in reality, do not “promote innovation and spur local and national competitiveness” but in fact kill innovation and stifle local and national job growth and competitiveness by eliminating the competition which defines the free market.
ALEC is one of the many entities which has so radically bastardized the entire concept of a free market that what most people understand to be a “free market” in no way resembles an actual free market, but instead a brutal Corporatocracy.
ALEC – like many others including much of the Republican party – hides behind claims of advocating for conservative ideals, small government, and a free market.
However, they do the exact opposite by pushing legislation behind the scenes which directly benefits their donors, thus making an end run around the free market and discouraging small government by eliminating competition and building spending into legislation which goes to their members.
Some examples of how they undermine the free market include telecommunications legislation at the state level which directly benefit their telecom members and hurt customers, and legislation which would prevent cities and counties from establishing minimum wages greater than the state and federal guidelines, just to mention a few.
These types of activities impinge on the local focus and small government values held by many conservatives and clearly violate the entire basis of the free market by making sure that certain corporations have an edge.
ALEC is far from conservative, in fact they have no true ideological basis other than the love of money above all and the expansion of corporate power, even if it violates the most basic tenets of democracy.
What I found to be the most absurd claim made by ALEC was that critics “would like to eliminate discourse,” as that is exactly what ALEC is doing and the opposite of what people like me are trying to do.
By creating “model” legislation behind closed doors only considering the input of their corporate donors and not the people who will ultimately be affected by the bill, they are eliminating the discourse which is supposed to be the hallmark of a democratic society.
Instead of allowing the people of the United States to have a voice, they have cut them out of the process entirely by linking state legislators directly to the corporations who can then work together to craft legislation outside of the public eye.
Furthermore, Republic Report makes a great point in writing, “when groups like Color of Change call on corporate donors to leave ALEC, they are not utilizing Big Government but rather their own right to free speech — and the right to use their own money as they see fit in a free market — to change America.”
Indeed, I believe that they are completely correct in pointing out that, “The campaign to hold ALEC responsible represents the best combination of free speech and the free market.”
But since in this case it isn’t working in ALEC’s favor, they abandon all of their support for the concepts of a free market and free speech, as well as minimal government involvement.
Remember, these are citizen groups banding together to push corporations to leave a shady group, not a government agency flexing control over the market.
Thankfully, since ALEC has been getting more publicity and coverage, many more people are becoming aware of the undue influence they exert and have begun to push back against the corporations which sponsor the group.
With many corporations realizing that they are better off staying away from being tied to ALEC and the negative publicity that inevitably will come with it, ALEC is quickly losing its lifeblood and hopefully if this trend continues they will have no choice but to disband.
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This article first appeared at End the Lie.