Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Did You Really Think Walker & Co. Wrote All Those New Laws?

The discussion surrounding ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) is hard. They don't seek the limelight like the Koch brothers do, if fact quite the opposite. When Madison Professor Bill Cronin wrote about their influence in Wisconsin, ALEC surrogates were quick to attempt to shut him up by requesting his emails through a FOIA request that painted him as a radical.

Their cozy relationship with Republicans across the country reads like a plot from James Bond...a secret-ish cabal of corporations who pay big bucks to belong - are matched up with Republican politicians who pay pennies to join by comparison.

Robin Vos is ALEC's Wisconsin State Chairman and Van Wanggaard is a new member.

So how does it all work? Well, ALEC writes model legislation that benefits the corporations and industries that make up their membership. It's a varied list: collective bargaining, school vouchers, health care, prisons, tort reform and voter ID. Sound familiar?

Say you are a legislator that would like to introduce a bill on voter ID. No need to research and write your own bill. If you are a Republican and an ALEC member - which go hand and hand - you can go to their website, login and download their model legislation and boom! You're done.

Can you see their pre-written legislation? No. You have to join and it will cost you thousands of dollars - VIP's join for $25,000 and get all-access privileges. If you're a legislator you get all-access for $100. Interesting huh?

ALEC is completely legal and their arrangement with Republicans is completely voluntary. The reason few people know about them is because legal or not the public is not comfortable having corporations write legislation for politicians - who's campaigns are funded by these very same corporations - controlling the democratic process. Mass uprisings are not good for the bottom line.

It seems the folks around the Root River need to get a little more assertive about asking these kind of questions to their local puppets, I mean politicians. You didn't really think they wrote all those laws by themselves did you?