Sunday, April 22, 2012

ALEC Can Of Worms Available For WI Opening

It's taken the tragedy of Travon Martin's "Stand Your Ground" killing to finally push the right-wing policy shop ALEC into the news - - this Sunday New York Times front=page story about the "stealth," non-profit/taxpayer-subsidized group will force more media into action - - so how long will it take Wisconsin's GOP/ALEC water-carriers to break up with their best friend?

Here's an example from  now-State Sen. Leah Vukmir, (R-Wauwatosa) in 2009:

Vukmir honored as "Legislator of the Year" by peers at national gathering
(Atlanta, Ga.) — Wisconsin State Rep. Leah Vukmir was honored as “Legislator of the Year” by her peers at the 36th Annual Meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Atlanta on Friday, July 17. This award goes to state legislators who are ALEC members in good standing and have distinguished themselves by advancing, introducing and/or enacting policies based on the fundamental Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty...

Rep. Vukmir worked tirelessly to stop a government-run health care proposal in Wisconsin in 2007. She is a stellar legislator who introduces many ALEC HHS model bills each session.

“Thanks to ALEC, I have enjoyed the privilege of working with some of the finest legislators and policy experts in the country. To have been chosen for this distinction is an honor for which I will always be grateful and proud,” said Vukmir.
And the way Wisconsin conservative policy-makers have received money from ALEC is ripe for investigative reporting:

* One Wisconsin Now published the list of Wisconsin legislative members with taxpayer-paid memberships.

* ALEC's role in conservative networking with Wisconsin manifestations extends to the mining issue.

*  Here's another about ALEC "model" school choice legislation, starring former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, barred from running for office after a misdemeanor conviction in the caucus scandal:
“[Task Force members] know school choice works, and so we are comfortable requiring even greater accountability for school choice programs,” said Scott Jensen, national consultant for state projects at the Alliance for School Choice in Washington, DC.

“We chose to proactively offer responsible and effective school choice accountability legislation because so many of our opponents use ‘accountability’ as their excuse for trying to strangle these programs with excessive and unworkable regulations,” added Jensen, who introduced the two bills within ALEC.
* ALEC was said to have had a hand in the rotten redistricting process:
MADISON – Today, the Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch exposed the American Legislative Exchange Council’s secret connection to Wisconsin’s redistricting plan. According to the organization, an open records request uncovered a January 20, 2011 email from ALEC inviting Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader and last session’s ALEC State Chairman Scott Fitzgerald to an ALEC conference call about potential legal issues with redistricting.
*  Lisa Kaiser at The Shepherd has given Milwaukee readers an excellent introduction.

* And we all owe a debt to UW Professor Bill Cronon, whose expose of ALEC, among others put him right in the Right's legal and media cross hairs.

Stay tuned.


Jake formerly of the LP said...

The Dems need to make ALEC an issue. I'm surprised at the number of people who still don't know what it is, but you can bet a flurry of ads will make a whole lot more aware of this corporate takeover of legislation.

And the average bystander knows that a small group is pulling the strings behind the scenes, but they often can't put their finger on it. Exposing ALEC would be a great way to focus that disgust on one group...and the GOP puppet politicans they command.

mikeutzinger said...

We can thank Professor William Cronon for pointing us to ALEC in his blog in March 15, 2011. The link is here
This post led to the Republican Party asking for all of Professor Cronon's University e-mails.

James Rowen said...

@mikejeutzinger: Yes, it was an important part of the process, and was duly noted:

Anonymous said...

I remember when they were asking for his emails. He ended up leaving Wisconsin, didn't he?

James Rowen said...

@Anon: I don't think so.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

I think I saw Rowen on the streets of Madison a couple of weeks back. he's stayed here, as far as I know (like the pro he is).

The attempted smear job from the GOP was the dead giveaway that ALEC was a major shot-caller for WisGOP. Might not be a bad time to remind people of the GOP's disgraceful act in these next 6 weeks.