Charlie Pierce said it, I believe it, that settles it:
Nobody has any excuse any longer. Reporters — local and national — no longer have any excuse to treat ALEC and its work product as anything more than corporate-funded propaganda designed to exist outside the imperatives of democratic self-government. Voters — local and national — no longer have any excuse that they were somehow fooled by their representatives, who were acting out of loyalty to some distant boardroom and not to the people who elected them. Democratic parties — local and national — no longer have any excuse to keep fro crushing this organization in whatever new guise it chooses to camouflage itself and its agenda. That last part — the “draft agreement” by which state legislators agree to be big old ‘ho’s for the people who run ALEC — should be politically suicidal. It’s long past time to ACORN these bastards in the public mind.
What caused Charlie to say this? A little bit of a blockbuster from The Guardian:
An influential US lobbying network of Republican politicians and big businesses is seeking to avert a looming funding crisis by appealing to major donors that have abandoned it over the past two years following criticism of its policy on gun laws.
The Guardian has learned that the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), which shapes and promotes legislation at state level across the US, has identified more than 40 lapsed corporate members it wants to attract back into the fold under a scheme referred to in its documents as the “Prodigal Son Project”.
The target firms include commercial giants such as Amazon, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Kraft, McDonald’s and Walmart, all of which cut ties with the group following the furore over the killing of the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida in February 2012.
The Guardian learned all of this by getting hold of some internal ALEC documents that were prepared for its 2013 annual board meeting, held in August in Chicago. Among the revelations:
The documents seen by the Guardian show that Alec is hoping to avoid legal, tax and ethical challenges by creating a separate sister organisation it calls the “Jeffersonian Project”. The new body would be categorised as a 501(c)(4) social welfare organisation, a designation that would allow Alec to be far more overt in its lobbying activities than its current charitable status as a 501(c)(3).
“Any activity that could be done by Alec may be done by Jeffersonian Project if legal counsel advises it would provide greater legal protection or lessen ethics concerns,” a note on the proposed new body to Alec’s board of directors says. The note adds that the Jeffersonian Project would remove “questions of ethical violations made by our critics and state ethics boards and provides further legal protection”.
Alec’s critics have accused it of violating tax laws by lobbying on behalf of rightwing legislation that advances the interests of its corporate members. Among the areas that Alec has pursued aggressively in the form of model bills are measures to privatise public education, cut taxes, reduce public employee compensation and workplace rights, oppose Obamacare and resist state action to reduce global warming gas emissions.
And there probably wasn’t a single US network TV news story on this tonight, right?