One-third of Wisconsin’s lawmakers are members of a controversial pro-business group that champions free-market policies and helps write state legislation, newly revealed documents show.

The internal records of the American Legislative Exchange Council, composed of lawmakers and high-powered business officials, were made public Tuesday by the Guardian newspaper of London and shed light on the group’s operations and its relationship with member lawmakers around the country.

Among the 53 pages of leaked documents from ALEC’s August meeting in Chicago is a state-by-state list that says 43 of Wisconsin’s 133 lawmakers are members of the group. The document doesn’t name the lawmakers.

One document details a proposed job description for state lawmakers who serve as state chairmen of ALEC. Although group officials and lawmakers say the description was rejected by ALEC members, it raises questions about the exact roles lawmakers play in the organization.

An ALEC spokeswoman didn’t respond Wednesday to detailed questions about the organization and its role in influencing legislation.

The staff of state Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, state chairman for ALEC, said he was unavailable for comment Wednesday. The Washington, D.C.-based ALEC claims 1,800 state lawmakers as members and a roughly $7 million annual budget.

The group also has support in Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Among the speakers at this week’s ALEC winter meeting in Washington, D.C., are U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh.

ALEC brings together interest groups and corporate officials and state lawmakers to pursue “free market, small government and federalism” legislation that in recent years has expanded to include self-defense, anti-immigration and voter ID laws.

In the 2011-12 session, ALEC model legislation was the basis for 32 bills or budget provisions, 21 of which were passed and two that were vetoed in Wisconsin, according to the Madison-based Center for Media and Democracy, which has been monitoring ALEC for two years and has filed several complaints and lawsuits against the group or lawmakers.

One lawsuit brought against Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, seeking ALEC-related records is in settlement negotiations, according to center officials. Vukmir was installed this week as ALEC’s second vice chairwoman.

CMD tied ALEC to laws in Wisconsin that among other things limit corporate liability for harm to consumers, require that residents present photo identification to vote and require a two-thirds majority of the Legislature to pass tax increases. Wisconsin’s voter ID law is currently tied up in the courts.

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, has filed a complaint with the IRS charging that the nonprofit ALEC is engaged in lobbying activity that violates its tax-exempt status. On Wednesday, Pocan, who joined ALEC while serving in the Wisconsin Legislature, described it as “nothing more than a corporate-funded dating group” in which lawmakers socialize and strategize with business interests to introduce model legislation to benefit their industries.

The records reveal that ALEC has set up a separate group called the Jeffersonian Project to avoid running afoul of state ethics laws and the IRS. One internal document written by ALEC attorney Alan P. Dye in June stated, “Though we do not believe that any activity carried on by ALEC is lobbying, the IRS could disagree.”

The Government Accountability Board has found that the group’s corporate sponsors could pay for lawmakers’ trips to ALEC meetings so long as officials can show that the costs incurred “were primarily for the benefit of the state” and that such financial assistance is either reported on the lawmaker’s annual financial disclosure form or as a campaign contribution.

The documents obtained by the Guardian also include a proposed loyalty pledge that ALEC spokeswoman Molly Fuhs said was rejected.

The proposal called for all state chairmen to sign a three-page agreement pledging, among other things, “I will act with care and loyalty and put the interests of the organization first.”

Curt David, an aide for state Rep. Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, who was ALEC’s Wisconsin state chairman in August, said in an email, “Rep. Kramer takes an oath of office every session. That’s his first priority.”

Said Fuhs: “The proposed state chair agreement was not adopted; no such agreement exists. ALEC would never suggest a state legislator hold its interest above those of their constituents.”

A Vukmir spokesman also said the proposal was rejected. In an email, Vukmir said the

corporate and legislative leadership of the organization felt it was “unnecessary.”

“Basically, the members didn’t like it,” Vukmir said.

But Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy said the proposal, although reportedly rejected, is important in understanding the role ALEC seeks to play in Wisconsin and beyond.

“I still think the pledge is significant in that it reflects the attitude that ALEC has towards what relationship state legislators are supposed to have with ALEC ... that the interests of ALEC are supposed to come first,” said Fischer, general counsel for the center.

State Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, attended ALEC’s August meeting to learn how the group works. She said ALEC “wines and dines” lawmakers, who worked directly with corporate officials to write pro-business bills for introduction in state legislatures across the country.

“We were treated as the foot soldiers of ALEC, and being told to be even more aggressive” in pushing its agenda, Taylor said. “They’re drafting these model bills that they want you to pass. I’m not sure how that’s not lobbying.”

Another part of the rejected pledge would have required ALEC state chairmen to report any open-records requests involving ALEC.

ALEC has stamped its documents as exempt from state and federal openness laws, urged lawmakers to use private emails and exchanged documents with elected officials though online drop boxes that delete them after 72 hours, according to a 2012 lawsuit filed by CMD and Common Cause in Wisconsin against five GOP lawmakers. The case ended when the five agreed to turn over ALEC-related records to the group.

In June, the two groups sued Vukmir after she rejected their request for ALEC-related records from her office. Vukmir has claimed legislative immunity from complying with the open-records law while the Legislature is in session. The two sides are currently negotiating a settlement, CMD’s executive director, Lisa Graves, said Wednesday.

I cover state government for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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(109) comments

kashka-kat
kashka-kat

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/03/alec-funding-crisis-big-donors-trayvon-martin

Here ya go - seems like a lot of people aren't buying what the Koch's & ALEC have to offer. Over 400 state legislators and 60 corporations have bailed out on them.

tomtom33
tomtom33

And why have they bailed? The caved to the demonization and threats of the left. Suppress any ideas that do not conform to your own.

witness2012
witness2012

Or, tt, they don't want to be part of an organization which advocates positions & policies that the majority of their customers don't agree with.

That's how the free marketplace works after all.

tomtom33
tomtom33

I ran my own business for 20 years. During that time I publicly expressed no political views. I had no desire to alienate half of my customers. No matter where you stand, half are for something and half are against it.

koala
koala

I say put the dogs AND RICO on them.

Thoughts
Thoughts

Is it the state of Wisconsin's idea to privatize schools or is ALEC's agenda? I had no idea how much influence ALEC had on our daily lives through policies they are pushing through our elected officials. Thank you for bringing ALEC to our attention.

https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/07/17

http://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/05/12099/scott-walker-gop-slip-alec-education-agenda-wisconsin-budget

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/20/wisconsin-voucher-expansion-scott-walker_n_3474968.html

witness2012
witness2012

Thoughts, that is the real issue. These laws aren't addressing problems that have arisen from the communities- they are imposed from an external national organization.

For example, one of ALEC's big issues is more restriction on voting, so we see all these new laws being passed to make it more difficult to vote when voter fraud has never been much of an issue in our state. But, it doesn't matter that the solution proposed to a problem we don't have creates more problems.

ALEC's goal is a uniform landscape- all those pesky local and state cultural differences get in the way of their agenda.

einstein
einstein

I find it humorous these super-rich STILL aren't happy and have to buy their politicians. More money more money more money......and I'm still not happy!! The Koch's need to enjoy life a bit. I actually feel kind of sorry for them. What a wasted life.

PatrickL
PatrickL

I think UWJeff and TomTom33 have been out of the state for the last three years or are in total denial. We have high ranking elected officials that are up to their ears in ALEC affiliation. This is not some pedestrian/charitable/benevolent organization that exists to help overworked legislators. They have a well funded conservative agenda. They pride themselves on having passed almost twenty percent of their total agenda on a national basis. How can anyone ignore the influence they wield. No group of outsiders, has ever in the history of the state, had such an impact on Wisconsin Government. It's just too bad more people are not aware of how ALEC has infiltrated the internal leadership structure of our state. Go to the ALEC website and read all about their initiatives.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

maybe people like the agenda better then the alternative...if you don't like it vote them out

tomtom33
tomtom33

There are all kinds of organizations with agendas. I have been to the ALEC website. Most of the ideas they present are quite good. If you don't like those ideas, don't vote for anyone who agrees with those ideas.

Thoughts
Thoughts

If being affiliated with ALEC is a good thing for the state of Wisconsin and the common person, why are so many members of ALEC Republicans? What's with all the secrecy? I thought the Republicans stood for transparency. It looks like ALEC owns our Republican Party in Wisconsin and has a lot more influence than one realizes.

List of members of the American Legislative Exchange Council http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_members_of_the_American_Legislative_Exchange_Council#Wisconsin

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

what secrecy?

witness2012
witness2012

PL, talk to Leah Vukmir about the secrecy of ALEC. She is claiming that she is not required to follow open records law while the legislature is in session, which she argues began when she was sworn in and will last until her term is up.

This novel and untenable interpretation of being "in session" is done to avoid disclosing documents released to her by ALEC. That secrecy.

warmmidwest
warmmidwest

How are the basics of membership in ALEC any different from a traditional union organization?

College Didn't Take
College Didn't Take

You are my kind of voter - ill informed and ...welll....not very bright. Vote for me, again.

Norwood44
Norwood44

Bingo

Norwood44
Norwood44

It would be interesting to examine the influential workings of WEAC and AFSCME. How is ALEC any different from them? Surely the unions have membership and political strategies that they have been employing for decades in a far better and more consistent fashion than ALEC. Could it be that the unions now have a competitive and funded organization that opposes their political goals? And if so, what is illegal about it? It is a differing political philosophy. What is any more undemocratic about it than heavily funded and organized public union organizations?

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

membership is optional

uwjeff
uwjeff

Forever amazed at the many who see the Devil incarnate in the words "Corporate" and "Profit" ......... as if those are somehow evil by definition. Get some open mindedness and get a clue to those who can't move beyond that world view of corporate profit equates to all is bad and wrong in the world...........it's really pretty pitiful if that's how you truly believe. Are all corporations good and beneficial? Of course not........just as not all politicians are good and beneficial ........you have some good and some bad........but here's the thing, for most corporations (apart from the crony capitalist ones that are in bed with the real big money channeled to them from our 'friends' in Congress and the White House) -- they actually have to compete out there in the cruel world for our money to buy their product and services to be successful and we (as individuals) actually get to choose (more often than not) what services and products we want to buy... or not -- and that's the big difference between 'big business' and 'big government' -- we have more freedom to decide what we want to buy from big businesses (or not)......and not so much freedom when it's 'big government' imposing itself upon us. I guess I don't understand why so many here don't see the greater danger to individual freedom posed the abuse of a bigger 'all powerful' government..........if we don't like the end product of an ALEC member.......we can simply not buy it and it won't succeed and/or have to change to stay competitive as ultimately it has to please the end consumer to be sustain it's success -- no such check on 'big government' when it creates a dependency upon government controlled favors and benefits. To each their own I suppose...........personally I'd rather risk the potential 'abuse' by big business than the real 'abuse' of big government

Andy Olsen
Andy Olsen

You have missed the point entirely. And it's pretty hard to miss!!

The issues here are that this secretive group undermines democracy by using elected representatives to represent these private interests -- NOT the citizens or voters.

Further they are violating lobbying and ethics laws by not reporting gifts or these lobbying activities and expenses.

spooky tooth
spooky tooth

Jeff,
No one has a problem with corporate profits, but when ALEC writes policies for their bought and paid for puppets that throw American workers under the bus they are evil. When ALEC hires Madison Ave advertisers to demonize teachers (people we grew up with) and writes policies for the bought and paid for puppets to end public education they are evil.
ALEC gave the people of the US a concentration of wealth not seen in over a hundred years, that makes them evil. ALEC's greed has no end, they own so many politicians and judges they are the government, and until this changes, working people have no chance.
Go ahead and repeat ALEC's mantra, "the US is turning into a socialist country" and you stupid turkeys believe it, even when the bottom 80% of Americans are sharing 7 cents out of every dollar.
ALEC should be investigated for Un-American Activities.

tomtom33
tomtom33

ALEC is a repository for model legislation. Model legislation has been widely used for decades. Any bill that is introduced in WI must first be drafted by the LRB regardless of the language proposed. The LRB version is then sent to committee where the language can be changed. Then it may or may not be sent to the Assembly or Senate where it can be changed again. Then it is sent to the other body and assigned to committee where it can again be changed. It may or may not be sent to the full body where it can be changed again. If the other body passes a bill that is not identical, it is sent to conference committee where the language is again changed.

Where the original language comes from is virtually irrelevant.

College Didn't Take
College Didn't Take

An ALEC bill was passed in Florida's legislature, presented on ALEC stationary with the ALEC letterhead. I like fascism - it smells like victory.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

college didn't take...do you think the legislators "write" legislation?

uwjeff
uwjeff

...... I guess I don't look for the worst in people or groups (though I get frustrated by some)..........others seem to go there first, and only see the worst. Fact is, there's no perfection........always some way in which both people and organizations can be better and improve -- try thinking of things in a more positive light and don't view something as automatically and totally bad/evil and you'll find that things aren't as quite as dark and bleak as you've been led or allowed yourself to become. It's easy to create a 'Bogeyman' and make them a target of your fears and negative passions but the reality it that ALEC is made up of people who live on streets and in neighborhoods - just like other people we grew up with - they have spouses - children - grandchildren.........friends and neighbors - i.e. they are people like we are too.....none of them perfect........but probably mostly good intentioned individuals who want a better world for their children and the future - just like I'm sure you do too.............so why all the 'hate' ??

witness2012
witness2012

So, Jeff, would your comment also apply to the importance of giving Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt and stopping all the hate directed at him?

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

"No one has a problem with corporate profits"....oh lord...can't stop laughing!!!!

witness2012
witness2012

uwjeff, what do you mean when you say that 'if you don't like the end product of an ALEC member, we can simply not buy it"?

Are you proposing that people don't obey laws that are passed for an ALEC agenda? Does the public have that "choice"?

PatrickL
PatrickL

ALEC is no friend of the average Wisconsin citizen. The majority of the bills passed during the Walker administration have ALEC ties. So instead of the bills coming from constituents, we are told by the Republicans that the only way we are going to stimulate job growth in the state is to make radical changes to state policies. But, if you take a look at the ALEC website, you will see that their agenda mirrors the legislation that was passed in the last three years. It is no coincidence that during that same time period Scott Fitzgerald and Robin Vos have been the Wisconsin ALEC chairpersons. Add in Leah Vukmir as a national officer and you have the perfect storm. Wisconsin has received kudos from the national leadership of ALEC for a job "Well done." They even have a national word/phrase bank -
tools, kick the can, deregulation, our children's future, union thugs. Don't they all sound familiar. It's kind of disgusting. to think these elected officials are being paid by the citizens of Wisconsin and instead of thinking for themselves, they are picking and choosing pre-written bills from a pre-established outside agenda. The ALEC National Agenda: Environmental Deregulation, Destroy Public Sector Unions, Limit/Eliminate Public Sector Employee Benefits, Control of Public School Curriculum, School Voucher Expansion, Voting Rights Restrictions, Control of Local Government Officials, Elimination of Green Energy Programs, Tax Breaks for Large Corporations. Doesn't it all sound familiar, right here in our once wonderful state.

morninmist
morninmist

Some day ALEC will be brought down by us citizens!--slow but sure.


Working America ‏@WorkingAmerica

We're standing up to ALEC today in DC. Watch the livestream at 11:30amEST here: http://bit.ly/1biXnP0 #ALECExposed

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

you should do everything you can to remove their government protections...like forcing people to join, forcing dues from paychecks....oh wait...totally not applicable.

Remove their tax exempt status...they will still exist.

witness2012
witness2012

Removing their tax exempt status is a start, PL.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

I am all in favor of that...want to bet they never make a taxable profit?

witness2012
witness2012

PL, (below), I'll take that bet. I would bet a significant amount of money on the fact that the activities of ALEC and the legislation that is passed by its foot soldiers in state legislatures garners a great deal of profit for the corporate members.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

well of course witness...all lobbying is done for the betterment of the company doing the lobbying. In most cases that means more profit...or course sometimes it means less taxable profit too, but now we are splitting hairs.

I assume you agree that ALEC would never post a profit....removing their tax exempt status would just require them to file a more complicated return.

blockhead
blockhead

Of interest in the Guardian report is the multi-faceted attack ALEC is planning on green energy programs, including laws to make homeowners who currently have solar panels feeding energy back into the grid lose their compensation and actually have to PAY energy companies for doing so!

motherlode
motherlode

We pay for legislators who do not represent us.

Their goal: to make Wisconsin generic, so they can force us to become a right to work state.

So far, they have succeeded.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

they represent a lot of people...that is why Walker got re-elected along with continuing control of the senate and assembly.

motherlode
motherlode

The legislators who belong to ALEC can be found at:
ALECexposed.org

Lynne4300
Lynne4300

Socialist Party Of America Publishes Member List: Includes 70 Democrat Congressmen And Congresswomen

http://sadhillnews.com/2011/08/19/socialist-party-of-america-publishes-member-list-includes-70-democrat-congressmen-and-congresswomen

witness2012
witness2012

lynne, if members of congress are registered members of the Democratic party, by definition, they are NOT members of the Socialist party.

There is only one socialist member of Congress and that is Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Crow Barr
Crow Barr

Lynne is deflecting from the fact that 100 percent of the Wisconsin Republican Congressional members belong to ALEC-QUEDA!

FantasiaWHT
FantasiaWHT

"But Brendan Fischer of the Center for Media and Democracy said the proposal, although reportedly rejected, is important in understanding the role ALEC seeks to play in Wisconsin and beyond."

Brendan, let me know when you start judging the current Wisconsin Legislature by the bills the Democrats propose that get rejected.

david_wolfgang
david_wolfgang

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PapaLorax
PapaLorax

yawn::::

so the "ALEC owned Wisconsin government rejected 1/3 of the ALEC related issues that came to the floor...interesting.

Pocan and other democrats are members of ALEC - ooohhhh - so secret.

I think the whole tax exempt stuff is the meat of the story...can't we just get rid of tax exempt already?

everclear
everclear

Pay attention! Pocan only joined to see what was going on with Republicans and ALEC. That fact has been in this newspaper, and with interviews with Pocan on television. Pocan carried NO ALEC legislation back to Wisconsin like Vos and Darling do.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

I realize that...my point was they let him join, so the claim of this ultra secret society is fairly baseless.

witness2012
witness2012

PL, they let Chris Taylor attend their meetings, too, but they refused to give her any of the documentation that they made available to more trusted members of ALEC like Leah Vukmir.

The real stuff happens away from general membership, but among the officers.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

I can join the Democratic part of wisconsin...are they giving me all internal communication?

witness2012
witness2012

PL, show up at a Democratic party county meeting and join one of the caucuses which debate and pass platforms and yes, you will get access to all documents and get to be part of the decision-making process.

You will have to pay dues and it is unlikely that you can claim deductions for a charitable organization, however.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

donations to ALEC are not deductible...they are a c(4) not a c(3) I would assume

fyrgy
fyrgy

Have you no shame or morals?

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

the whole system is a just a massive industry and fund raising and lobbying...the "yawn::" comment is that people seem to be surprised to find this out. Whether it is pro business, pro labor, specific interest groups, big interest groups, etc ,etc...it is everywhere and it is running the system.

What do you think unions do? They lobby fund raise lobby fund raise lobby...all the time...never stopping. That is why they get laws that protect their interests.

Is it shameful?I don't know...and really I don't care. It is what it is. The selective outrage that a group exists to push their interests to one party is just that...selective outrage.

Be mad at what ALEC pushes - that is fine...you don't like their model legislation? don't vote for people who like their model legislation. But don't be mad at what they are unless you are willing to condemn everyone who operates in a similar fashion.

witness2012
witness2012

PL, the point is that no other organization like ALEC exists- and no, the unions don't have meetings in which they wine and dine legislators, ask them to join their organization, and write templates of bills that they want the legislators to introduce.

There is no equivalent of ALEC on the left.

PapaLorax
PapaLorax

lobbying is all about pushing model legislation...that is what lobbying is for. ALEC gets the heat because they are particularly effective and they push legislation that drives the left nuts.

Have you ever been to a national convention for a party? How about for a union? Close enough to call them similar in my mind.

kashka-kat
kashka-kat

Edit: Instead of "pro-business" it's "pro-plutocratic oligarchic multinational monopolies and banksters." They are NOT interested in promoting the interests of the small business, the entrepreneur, the family farmer, or small time owner-operator.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/inner-workings-of-influential-pro-business-group-alec-revealed/article_f5168827-079c-5b33-b1df-89865be46c2a.html#ixzz2mbvdLnIS

uwjeff
uwjeff

so let me get this straight............. a small business owner should not allowed to grow and become a large business success -- because 'small' is good.... 'big' is evil. ??? Hmmmm............so what do you feel about 'small' government vs. 'big' government ??

Crow Barr
Crow Barr

jeffy, I think kas is saying even ALEC does not give a rip about small businesses, family farms, small owner-operators.

uwjeff
uwjeff

Crowie........... really.......do you think?........I mean really ever think :)

Funny.....one might 'think' that many of those in ALEC began as 'small businesses' and grew them to larger businesses - and actually have some affinity and empathy for them.........but again, that would require an open mind and some thought process being applied..........asking a lot for some....

kashka-kat
kashka-kat

Re:

"one might 'think' that many of those in ALEC began as 'small businesses' and grew them to larger businesses - and actually have some affinity and empathy for them........."

Yes one might think that, but since the prime directive for the corporate is to make money for its shareholders, that pretty much trumps all other considerations.... and if it means quashing the competing businesses and new innovations that threaten one's exclusive monopolistic stranglehold - then so be it!

I would not use the word "evil" as that is a religious concept.... I would just say that checks and balances need to be in place. If you see someone is intent on dismantling checks and balances then you have to ask why - who benefits and how exactly do they benefit. Most often it's about money/profit.

kashka-kat
kashka-kat

No, Jeff, its not a question big vs. little, it's more like - is this a functioning democratic-republic with equal representation for all or is the power skewed in favor of the interests of multinational conglomerates?

Didn't you get the part about Teddy Roosevelt and trustbusting in your ALEC-approved high school history text book?

kashka-kat
kashka-kat

Instead of "small government" it's shrinking "government" in one area(regulating corporate abuses) and growing it elsewhere (prisons, crony capitalism, etc.). Instead of "free market," its actually a contrived controlled market that's skewed in favor of monopolistic multinationals

Interesting how they take these buzz words and get people to think they mean something other than what they really mean. Back in the day infusion of big money into government was called criminal corruption and graft and was prosecuted as such - now it's just business as usual.

kashka-kat
kashka-kat

Edit:

Instead of "pro-business" it's "pro-plutocratic oligarchic multinational monopolies and banksters."

They're not at ALL interested in promoting the interests of the small business, the entrepreneur, the family farmer, or small time owner-operator.

gman
gman

1978 -2012 CEO pay up 725% worker pay up 5.6 thank you ALEC
to p corporations and the rich pay no taxes and Paul Ryan budget refuses to talk about loop holes but claims closing them could create millions of new jobs Thank you ALEC
Scott walker pushes the mining and shortens the time for ok with the lemming legislature only to find out now it might be leeching toxins Thnak you ALEC
Steve Vos and republicans push School Choice against the will of the people thank you ALEC
New stand your ground and carry laws thank you ALEC
Huge tax breaks to corporations not for jobs but just for the promise of jobs that never come to fruition thank you ALEC
Going after Unions Thank you ALEC
Getting rid of government road building given to private firm costing tax payers more thank you ALEC
Making sure that all their works must be leaked rather than sunshined thank you ALEC

uwjeff
uwjeff

..........I'd be much more concerned about IRS and NSA abuse and the Federal Government taking over my Healthcare (if what we've seen so far is any indication) ..... none of that is ALEC............that's your career politicians at work - you know the ones who know how to organized but couldn't balance a budget or run any sort of efficient and productive organization (like a business) if their lives depended upon it........it's always on someone else's dime that they mess things up

everclear
everclear

You have car insurance because its a law to protect the rest of us from your actions. In todays paper UW spent 62 million for people without insurance and St Mary's 12 million last year. So you don't want to spend money for insurance, fine but you should be refused to be treated for free, and not be a freeloader

hankdog
hankdog

uwjeff:

I agree, career politicians are at fault for all our problems. Let's start by getting rid of Sennsennbrenner (a big backer of NSA) and Petri. Then go after the gerrymandered districts that allow politicians to stay in power for so long without any meaningful competition.

tomtom33
tomtom33

How about term limits?

Millerbrew
Millerbrew

Mr. Obama returned to his favorite theme of rising income inequality on Wednesday, which he called "the defining challenge of our time." He ought to know since few Presidents have done more to increase inequality than he has. Median household income has fallen since the economic recovery began, while the rich who own capital assets have done very well thanks to the Federal Reserve's focus on reflating stock and home prices. Mr. Obama is the Chief Economist of Nottingham posing as Robin Hood.

davea
davea

Can't defend change the subject! Talking points - "Obama did it"!!!!!!!!!

tomtom33
tomtom33

There is no requirement to defend anything.

uwjeff
uwjeff

Hmmmmm.........so who should 'We the People' be really more concerned about -- a group of Pro-Business folks who champion the private sector ......... OR a group of powerful government insiders made up of largely academia and career politicians - the ones that have brought us NSA and IRS abuse and great working Healthcare web sites -- just to name a few of their latest triumphs ??!! ... LOL

graefental
graefental

You mean... a group of Pro-Business cryptofascists raping our democracy for their own fun n' profit?

kashka-kat
kashka-kat

UW Jeff- master of the false dichotomy! Spoze it would never occur to you that the two polarities you set up there are largely composed of people who are - often enough - one and the same!

How about the polarities of haves and have nots. Maybe "we the people" should be REALLY more concerned about...... striking fast food workers.

thewise1
thewise1

Wow $520k donation to liberal organization. Really!!!! How many millions have been donated by the Koch's alone, last count I saw was over 100 million since Obama's first election. But that source stated that they weren't positive and that it was probably a lot higher but because of the laws their donations are protected from disclosure because of the laws that ALEC wrote!!!!

Lynne4300
Lynne4300

Who donated it, specifically for the purpose of targeting conservatives? Open the records.

tomtom33
tomtom33

Who spent more Obama or McCain, Obama or Romney?

Observer5
Observer5

Closed meetings, loyalty pledges, secret documents, marching orders, refusal to address the media - what's not to like about ALEC?

Lynne4300
Lynne4300

Sounds more like the WH.

everclear
everclear

Actually Lynne, it sounds a lot like WMC, after all with their money they bought the Wis Supreme Court

Retired PE
Retired PE

So, let me see if I understand this. A newspaper based in London, England, finds out more about this shady organization than does an American news source? O.K. If I want to find out about the behind-the-scenes working of our own political structure, I need to turn to a foreign news source!? My favorite line is from the pledge “I will act with care and loyalty and put the interests of the organization first.” So much for our elected politicians putting the voters FIRST! Aye! Carumba! And, wasn't this IRS investigation into this group's "non-profit" status the very thing that everyone got all hot about when the IRS was investigating these types of shady organizations claiming non-profit status? I say to the IRS, keep investigating because these organizations, such as ALEC, are anything but "non-profit" organizations.

gman
gman

And do you think that even now knowing whst we know that the wisconsin state journal will do ny ANY due diligence for all we know they are members of both ALEC and manufacture and commerce and we will never know. I still want to know how a whole different computer system can be set up and yet we know so little about it. And tell me one average citizen of WI that ot through to the Governor like the Koch brother fake phone did.

uwjeff
uwjeff

...........OMG......had it come to this........people actually promoting the IRS to investigate more ??!? You have no clue what government abuse of power is all about do you??? It's why a crazy bunch of radical colonists revolted back in 1776

witness2012
witness2012

uwjeff, if ALEC is breaking the law by claiming to be a charitable organization so it can receive tax exempt status when it is not, the IRS is the appropriate agency to investigate that. I pay my taxes- why should a well-funded organization not do the same?

everclear
everclear

If you want to get information on what Walker is up to there is some very good reporting in the weekly Shepard Express out of Milwaukee. After all the folks over there had their fill of Walker before he arrived in Madison. The Shepard comes out in newspaper form and is on line.

FantasiaWHT
FantasiaWHT

Did you not read the part where that proposal was rejected? You're trying to judge a group based on what they decided NOT to do.

Lynne4300
Lynne4300

The public would like some answers on how this war on conservatives is being funded.

Liberal ‘media’ group gets $520k dark money donation for war on right

http://watchdog.org/118639/dark-money-wisconsin/

thewise1
thewise1

This organization is not a charity and should be taxed as political lobby organization just like many more organizations similar in nature. The real calamity for our democracy and the media in general is that they have been around for 20 years and only a handful of stories have been written about them. Further more main stream media (CNN, Fox News, MSNBC) have done little investigation into their workings. So much for the left wing liberal media theory!!!!!

everclear
everclear

90% of all media is owned by conservatives. This paper is owned by Lee industries based in Iowa, and they own media is something like 43 states. So don't expect any big investigations into the workings of ALEC, that would be shooting themselves in the foot.

Ego Vigilabo Vigilum
Ego Vigilabo Vigilum

everclear;

"90% of all media is owned by conservatives." Citation, please.

And not from the "Grey Lady," who despite having been in a critical care unit for the better part of the last quarter century, still has the chops to keep OP-ED in the 'A' section/front page and its myriad required retractions buried deep.

To its credit (of which it has precious little) MSNBC has fired two serial hate spewers, Baldwin and Bashir. This I suspect was due more to their laughably abysmal ratings across the board than any effort to do the right thing.

The evil genius conservative media was at its dastardly best when it forced NBC to alter and selectively edit the George Zimmerman 911 tape. They even made it seem like something a Liberal-leaning network would have done.

Talk about a brilliant smokescreen!

GOOD DOG HAPPY MAN
GOOD DOG HAPPY MAN


@Ego Vigilabo Vigilum,

Dr. Walter Williams has written a recent editorial you'd enjoy, entitled, "Obama is no Jackie Robinson". Dr. Williams, a black man, says that the first Black American to breach any racial barrier should be of exceptional character, like Jackie Robinson, as it sets the tone for future success of any minority group.

Obama has failed to meet that basic entry-level requirement. Dr. Williams says that the NYT would probably classify Obama as a "white black man", like when they labelled George Zimmerman a "White Hispanic".

But anyone denying liberal bias in the MSM should have their tin-foil hat relined with new foil, as they must be 'fairly unbalanced' from the mind control rays. Just witness how they shamelessly cheerlead for the Chosen One. Even a cursory look shows the MSM backing liberal ideology overwhelmingly.

While we could argue about the appropriateness of tax-exempt status for political advocacy groups, the evil and nefarious American Legislative Exchange Council serves a higher purpose. Like the CT. Its very existence keeps the lockstep liberal's fires stoked in constant "boogeyman mode".

And admittedly, the bizarre spittle-flecked rantings of these Koch-fueled conspiracy theorists are amusing to hear and fun to watch, ..... what are those whacka-doodle Leftys going to come up with next?!!

Not having to reinvent the wheel each time, modeling legislation and then tailoring this legislation for each state's individual needs has proven to be an effective and useful tool in expediently passing laws and avoiding unnecesary delays, as it has already undergone numerous judicial constitutional reviews.

I like ALEC and still bring my complimentary red, white and blue book bag they gave me to school board meetings just to torque off the true-believers.

But, please, don't even joke about any conservative conspiracies and our "evil genius". Lefty owns that kool-aide concession, lock, stock and barrel.

They're the self-annointed smart ones, doncha' know?!!

GOOD DOG, HAPPY MAN

College Didn't Take
College Didn't Take

Love your new screen name Gotch. What happened? Step over the line?

JUST US
JUST US

Great idea...........let's vote out of office all those 43 members.....that's the best way to eliminate ALEC. I hope no one out there thought that it was merely coincidence that the states under Republican control were all passing the same legislation over the past 3 years. ALEC serves as the brains behind this legislation NOT THE INDIVIDUAL LEGISLATORS WHO SPONSOR THE BILLS. Most of these 43 can't put two words together on paper.

davea
davea

SO TRUE

witness2012
witness2012

I don't know that we can stop ALEC from existing, but we can certainly question its tax status as a charitable organization which only lobbies 20% of the time.

I assume all citizens, regardless of ideology, would think breaking the law to push a corporate agenda should be wrong.

And, I think any legislator who belongs to ALEC should be removed in the next election in deference to legislators who choose legislation that emerges from the concerns of their constituents.

tomtom33
tomtom33

You want Pocan out?

Beingbucky
Beingbucky

Eclectic could you please explain the connection between free markets , gun legislation, and voter ID laws? Have you really thought this through , or do you just want somebody else to do that for you? If so, then you are right, ALEC is a winner.

davea
davea

You're asking Eclectic to think? HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-(gasp)-HA-HA-HA-HA- - - - - - - - -

Monitor
Monitor

Joe McCarthy would be proud of ALEC. Too bad we have 43 others as well. It is in the best interest of all middle class Americans to reject these tactics and vote out those 43 members from Wisconsin. ALEC is a serious attack for our middle class to succeed in the future of the United States of America.

ssmith
ssmith

smart. efficient. follow the proven game plan. I like Alec. Good name.

RC
RC

…...and the trains run on time.

RC
RC

Trickle down true believers, can't believe dinosaurs like that still exist. Shows our legislators can't think for themselves, they just follow the herd. Pretty sad……….

bookman21
bookman21

The legislators are following the money. ALEC corporate sponsors follow through with big time campaign donations.

eclectic
eclectic

It seems that ALEC is full of good ideas supporting free markets.

So often the liberal left, rather than promoting its own good ideas, attempts to demonize those who disagree with them. It would be far more productive if they created and explained positive alternative ideas.

geo_
geo_

Free Market, right!. These bozos will never want to give up their taxpayer funded subsidies

B-Man
B-Man

Reading this article was three minutes I'll never get back

MultiVortex
MultiVortex

Sorry to hear real journalism exposing our crumbling democracy is such a bore for you.

davea
davea

You mean you hate reading facts?

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