The influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has not diminished despite recent corporate defections, Bill Moyers said Friday, or attempts to curb it with legislation like the ALEC Accountability Act.
The bill, Moyers said in a report on Moyers and Company, "has gone nowhere. ALEC, on the other hand, is still everywhere. Still hiding in plain sight. Watch for it. Coming soon to a statehouse near you."
The group has earned a reputation as a "bill mill" that puts together legislation friendly to corporations and handing it to associated state lawmakers for them to pass off as their own. In the report, Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, showed Moyers a box full of more than 850 bills to be used.
Graves said the bills, given to her by an inside source, covered everything from voter suppression to blocking climate-change regulation to restrictions on unions.
"When I looked at them I was really shocked," Graves said. "I didn't know how incredibly extensive and deep and far-reaching this effort to rework our laws was."
In Arizona, which Moyers called "practically an ALEC subsidiary," state Rep. Mark Farley (D) introduced the ALEC Accountability Act, which would have forced legislators like Governor Jan Brewer (R) to disclose their connections to the secretive group.
"All I'm asking in the ALEC Accountability Act is to make sure that all of those expenses are reported as if they are lobbying expenses and all those gifts that legislators received are reported as if they're receiving gifts from lobbyists," Farley said. "So the public can find out and make up their own minds about who is influencing what."
But, Moyers said, the law had stalled out. And ALEC representatives and members refused to respond to requests for comment. His report, aired Friday, can be seen below.