Watchdogs Shed More Light on ALEC on Eve of Group’s DC Summit

by PRW Staff — November 27, 2012 – 1:43pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 27, 2012 CONTACT: Sara Jerving, Center for Media and Democracy, (608) 260-9713 Mary Boyle, Common Cause, (202) 736-5770

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) convenes its annual policy summit this Wednesday in Washington, DC. The three day meeting at the Grand Hyatt Washington hotel caps a year of intense controversy surrounding the organization’s political agenda and tax-exempt status. The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and Common Cause have obtained new documents and produced reports that shed more light on the inner workings of ALEC and offer you valuable resources as you prepare for coverage of the ALEC conference.

  1. ALEC continues to insist that it does no lobbying, even as it brings hundreds of legislators to DC to sit with corporate lobbyists and executives to craft legislation. ALEC’s most recent IRS Form 990, for 2011, indicates that while classified as a charity and enjoying the tax-exempt status that accompanies that designation, ALEC spent nearly $5 million on closed-to-the-public conferences with state legislators and “task forces” geared to advancing hundreds of corporate-drafted “model” bills. Other public records obtained by Common Cause show that PhRMA, the trade association representing drug manufacturers, contributed $264,500 to ALEC in 2011, more than twice as much as ALEC collected in dues from all of its nearly 2,000 legislator members that year.

  2. New open records requests shine light on ALEC’s lobbying agenda for 2013. More than 1,100 pages of new ALEC task force documents, obtained through state freedom of information requests, demonstrate how ALEC’s corporate members develop and drive its legislative agenda and work in tandem with legislators to secure passage of ALEC-backed bills. These agenda, draft legislation, meeting minutes and other materials strengthen Common Cause’s case that ALEC is a lobby masquerading as a charity. Common Cause is pressing a tax “whistleblower” complaint with the IRS seeking to revoke ALEC’s tax exemption.

  3. Drug companies, big tobacco, telecomm giants and other corporate interests will use a dubious “scholarship” scheme to quietly pay tr