What Is ALEC?

WIKIPEDIA

American Legislative Exchange Council

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a 501(c)(3) American organization, composed of politically conservative state legislators.[3][4] According to its website, ALEC “works to advance the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism at the state level through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public.”[5]

ALEC provides a forum for state legislators and private sector members to collaborate on model bills—draft legislation that members can customize for communities and introduce for debate in their own state legislatures.[6][7] Approximately 200 such bills become law each year.[8][9] ALEC has produced model bills on issues such as reducing corporate regulation and taxation, tightening voter identification rules, and promoting gun rights.[8][10][11] ALEC also serves as a networking tool among state legislators, allowing them to research conservative policies implemented in other states.[11]

Since 2011, ALEC’s political activities has received considerable scrutiny by both the media and liberal groups. The New York Times reported that special interests have “effectively turn[ed] ALEC’s lawmaker members into stealth lobbyists, providing them with talking points, signaling how they should vote and collaborating on bills affecting hundreds of issues like school vouchers and tobacco taxes.”[10] Bloomberg Businessweek stated, “Part of ALEC’s mission is to present industry-backed legislation as grass-roots work.”[8] The Guardian described ALEC as “a dating agency for Republican state legislators and big corporations, bringing them together to frame rightwing legislative agendas in the form of ‘model bills’.”[7] Several liberal groups, including Common Cause, have challenged its tax-exempt status.

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