Media Alert July 11, 2011
In These Times Exposes ALEC and the Kochs’ Publicopoly Scheme
CHICAGO (July 11, 2011) - In These Times today unveils a major new investigative report by Beau Hodai. “Publicopoly Exposed” reveals how the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Koch brothers and their corporate allies plan to neuter public employee unions and privatize government.
Through legislators’ own files, obtained by public records requests, Hodai confirms for the first time exactly how ALEC provides “model legislation” to lawmakers in states across the country, such as Florida State Representative Chris Dorworth (R-Lake Mary).
These model bills, written by ALEC’s corporate members, are then used as the basis for drafting bills that aim to strip public employee unions of their ability to support political candidates, or even to collect dues at all—and that aim ultimately to privatize most functions of government.
ALEC does all this, and funds politicians’ trips to meet corporate lobbyists at lavish retreats, despite having 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status—which strictly prohibits nonprofits like ALEC from taking part in the formation of legislation.
This irrefutable evidence of ALEC’s role in helping corporations shape legislation is an important story that deserves to be heard, especially given the involvement of the Koch brothers.
And it raises questions that need to be asked about why Rep. Dorworth’s office and Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon (R-Winter Park) don’t seem to know about—or want to admit—just how much ALEC has influenced the legislation Dorworth introduced.
Cannon’s Communications Director Katherine Betta claimed “Mr. Dorworth’s legislative offices did not receive any materials from ALEC relating to this bill or any ‘model legislation’ from other states.” ... But two weeks later Dorworth’s office delivered 87 pages of documents… detailing the evolution of what was to become HB 1021. Buried at the bottom of the stack was an 11-page bundle of neatly typed material, labeled “Paycheck Protection,” which consisted of three pieces of model legislation, with the words “Copyright, ALEC” at the end of each. ... Dorworth legislative assistant Carolyn Johnson claims that, although Dorworth is an ALEC member, neither she nor her boss have any idea how the ALEC model legislation found its way into Dorworth’s office.
Beau Hodai is a freelance journalist and publisher of D.B.A. Press, an online news publication and source materials archive that includes source material for this story, including ALEC model legislation. In 2010, Hodai exposed how the private prison industry helped shape Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, in another In These Times cover story, “Corporate Con Game”.
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