More than two dozen pieces of legislation introduced to the Missouri General Assembly over the past decade were based on "model" legislation drafted by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, according to a report by Progress Missouri.
"The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a corporate bill mill that is exerting extraordinary and secretive influence in the Missouri legislature and in other states," the report stated. "Through ALEC, corporations hand Missouri legislators wish lists in the form of "model" legislation that often directly benefit their bottom line at the expense of Missouri families."
In addition, Progress Missouri says that 40 lawmakers and politicians in the state have financial ties to ALEC, including Majority Leader Tim Jones, Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer and Lt. Governor Peter Kinder.
ALEC drafts model bills for legislators and has been a driving force behind voter ID laws, so-called “stand your ground” laws, business-friendly tort reforms, Arizona’s controversial immigration law, and efforts to privatize public education.
Legislation in Missouri based on ALEC's drafts include so-called right to work laws, resolutions "reaffirming 10th amendment rights," an Anti-Affordable Care Act ballot measure, a resolution opposing food and beverage taxes, an "asbestos fairness act," a resolution supporting the electoral college, and a resolution encouraging Congress to privatize Social Security.
Despite its influence, the nearly forty-year-old organization received little scrutiny until recently, when organizations like Common Cause, People for the American Way, Progress Now, the Center for Media and Democracy, CREDO Action and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee started a campaign to publicly expose companies who supported ALEC.
ALEC has decried the “well-funded, expertly coordinated intimidation campaign” against its corporate members, claiming the organization would only “redouble” their efforts to promote pro-growth, pro-jobs policies.
Mars Inc., the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Intuit, McDonald’s, and Wendy's have all publicly distanced themselves from the organization.
[Lawmaker image via Shutterstock]