Group Helps Big Biz Shape Friendly Laws

ALEC brings together companies and lawmakers
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2011 1:21 PM CDT
President Bush, left, is introduced by Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, right, prior to speaking at American Legislative Exchange Council, Thursday, July 26, 2007, in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – Say "hi" to ALEC—as in the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative think-tank that allows businesses to play a role in writing laws on energy, the environment, telecommunications, taxes, public safety, and more, reports Bloomberg. Corporations pay up to $25,000 to join ALEC and thousands more to join legislation-writing panels that include lawmakers from across the nation. (Lawmakers pay about $200 for a two-year membership.) The panels produce sample legislation for the group's website that can be used by state lawmakers—and frequently is.

Founded in 1973, ALEC says it is just promoting "good conservative policy," but others are skeptical. “It’s an end-run around transparency and disclosure laws," says a former state rep from Minnesota. "Corporate interests that would otherwise be required to register as lobbyists are writing legislation behind closed doors.” As a tax-exempt organization, ALEC does not disclose its donors or members, but they include Exxon, Koch Industries, AT&T, and Reynolds America. Read Bloomberg's full report.

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