Archive for state legislators

First evidence that ALEC effort to rebrand as being legislator-driven is “sham”


ALEC general

ALEC is a topic I write about often. Allow me to refresh your memory:

ALEC  (American Legislative Exchange Council) is an organization of state legislators which favors federalism and conservative public policy solutions. They literally write legislation for Republican Congress members, who then do whatever they can to pass it. The Nation:

Of all the Kochs’ investments in right-wing organizations, ALEC provides some of the best returns: it gives the Kochs a way to make their brand of free-market fundamentalism legally binding.

Now that you have some background, here is some good reporting by that should hopefully inspire you to vote (Koch-owned) Republicans out in November and get others to do the same. It involves Wisconsin Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa who "voted on a policy allowing only lawmakers, and not lobbyists, to introduce model bills":

At the same meeting, she sponsored a model bill under the direction of a lobbying group, according to documents released Thursday following an open records lawsuit that cost state taxpayers $15,000 to settle.

Brendan Fischer, a lawyer for the liberal Center for Media and Democracy, which filed the lawsuit, said the more than 100 pages of documents provide the first evidence that an effort by the American Legislative Exchange Council to rebrand itself as being legislator-driven is “just a sham.”

“This demonstrates that ALEC is really a lobbyist-driven organization,” Fischer said. “The lobbyists are the ones calling the shots. The legislators are just following along.”

That's what we in the bloggy biz call a big oopsie. And it's about time someone went very public about how legislators are nothing more than puppets with people like the Koch brothers pulling the strings. I mean other than Harry Reid:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In one email, Christie Herrera, vice president of policy for the Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative think tank with a registered lobbyist, wrote to Vukmir and three other legislators from other states thanking them for sponsoring a resolution opposing the expansion of state Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act and coaching them on what to say.

More details here.


Speaking of legal issues, here are a couple of good Progressive lawyers, should you ever need one: Barry Scheck and Seth Price. We have a complete list of those we like to occasionally recommend at the bottom of our right sidebar.


Leave It To Maddow


Rachel Maddow

Can you stand two and a half minutes of cringe-worthy?

Yesterday Rachel M spent the day in North Carolina, reporting on the great GOP assault on voter's rights. Seems this well orchestrated attack has just finished lining up all of it's ducks in a row and they're about to bring down the assault. If ever there was a case of the crazies running the asylum, this is it. Tea-party insanity on the loose. If the GOP tea party were a bag of nuts, they'd all roll downhill to the lowest spot on the continent. Seems the Tar Heels state has taken that mantle.

Rachel Maddow has been covering the Republican master plan to take over the human race by controlling who and when we get to vote. North Carolina isn't the first state to make a move to create voter suppression, but the Tar Heels have made an art of it. This is a plot to take over our thinking, our lives, our freedoms, not just our votes. Make no mistake about that. The word "conspiracy" was created for occasions such as these.

No one does a better job of explaining it, so  here's Rachel, in case you missed her:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Blurred lines: No, not the song, video games that promote guns like the one used in Newtown massacre


blurred lines

In the horrific Newtown massacre, Adam Lanza used the specific gun that was featured in Call of Duty, the video game that he played.

This is not to say video games should be blamed for gun deaths, even though the NRA is doing just that as gun manufacturers (the NRA's lifeline) are entering into licensing agreements with video game companies to showcase real guns. Because, you know, those games aren't lifelike enough already.

We know that they've already been promoting specific, lethal brands to children, such as Adam Lanza's Bushmaster:

And here's a bonus link, just to illustrate how precious these goons think life is... outside the womb: VIDEO: NRA convention speaker advises parents to store guns in kids’ rooms.

So hey, with all those Guns for Tots sales, who needs video games, right? Apparently gun zealots who use them to market deadly firearms to little kids do.

As part of a longer term effort to get the NRA, gun manufacturers, and their lobbyists where it hurts, in their wallets, Connecticut Speaker Brendan Sharkey, a Dem, has been instrumental in pushing strong gun legislation through the state legislature... and getting Republicans to join him (!).

Kudos! Here is part of a press release that goes into more detail:

CT State House Speaker Urges Video Game Industry To Stop Promoting Guns Like One Used In Newtown Massacre

Connecticut’s State House Speaker urged video game industry leaders to stop using their products to promote military grade firearms, saying they were recklessly blurring the line between fiction and reality and endangering people’s lives.

In a letter sent to three company chief executives and the Entertainment Software Association, Speaker Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) said the video game industry needed to end all licensing and product placement agreements with arms manufacturers. Such deals, he said, were “nefarious” and may have contributed to last December’s massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown.

“Games designed to recreate the experience of wartime carnage and criminal violence constitute protected speech under the provisions of the First Amendment,” Sharkey wrote. “But there is little to be said in defense of an industry-wide practice of arranging licensing deals with gun manufacturers for the rights to use the make, model and visual design specifications of their real-life weapons.

Adam Lanza, who killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, was an avid player of Activision’s game Call of Duty and used a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle featured in the game.

Sharkey has since played a leading role in pushing gun safety legislation through the Connecticut legislature.

“The industry practice of video game publishers entering into licensing, marketing or other financial arrangements to feature real guns in their games,” he added, “blurs the lines between fiction and reality in ways that can have tragic consequences.”

A report published in June by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and The Gun Truth Project detailed how deals between video game companies and weapons manufacturers often lead to promotional campaigns enticing players to purchase weapons featured in the games they have just played.

Sharkey echoed the report’s call to end such deals. He noted that Electronic Arts, one of the biggest companies in the field, has already done so as a matter of company policy and he urged EA’s competitors to follow suit.


Group finds that ALEC falsified signatures on "stand your ground" letter to Sen. Dick Durbin



We've posted about ALEC a lot here at TPC. For example:

ALEC  (American Legislative Exchange Council) is an organization of state legislators which favors federalism and conservative public policy solutions. They literally write legislation for Republican Congress members, who then do whatever they can to pass it. The Nation:

Of all the Kochs’ investments in right-wing organizations, ALEC provides some of the best returns: it gives the Kochs a way to make their brand of free-market fundamentalism legally binding.

And as ALEC Exposed explains:

ALEC bills would privatize public education, crush teacher’s unions, and push American universities to the right. Among other things, these bills make education a private commodity rather than a public good, and reverse America’s modern innovation of promoting learning and civic virtue through public schools staffed with professional teachers for children from all backgrounds.

Now we have this, via Think Progress:

This week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) sent Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) a letter that claimed the Senator’s investigation into ALEC’s involvement “Stand Your Ground” laws was a form of “intimidation.” The letter was supposed to have carried the clout of about 300 state legislators who signed onto it, but, according to an investigation by progressive group by ProgressNow, many of the signatures on that letter were falsified or duplicated. [...]

The group said it was signed by 293 elected officials. But, ProgressNow found, 55 of the signatures are “blatantly invalid.”

ALEC itself is "blatantly invalid," yet it still dictates legislation on behalf of Corporate America. Let's hope this tarnishes ALEC's image and helps more people to become aware of how they operate, eventually leading to its undoing.