March 26, 2011- Some of you undoubtedly remember Hillary Clinton in the 90s saying that there was a "vast right-wing conspiracy" out to get her husband. She was roundly ridiculed, but of course she turned out to be right.
Many have commented that the sudden onslaught on legislation across the country attacking women, unions, government employees, public schools, health care reform, election reform, immigration, and middle-class workers in general seems too coordinated to be accidental. I assumed it WAS coordinated but couldn't put my finder on how.
All off a sudden last week, I happened to run into three references to a group called ALEC: the American Legislative Exchange Council. I started to browse their website and went "holy shit." There it was hiding in plain sight. One of the major progressive blogs, AmericaBlog, wrote about it on March 20:
That story mentions a New York Times article that mentions the group ultra-casually toward the end of an article about union-busting:
The NYT says, "A group composed of Republican state lawmakers and corporate executives, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is quietly spreading these proposals from state to state, sending e-mails about the latest efforts as well as suggested legislative language."
It makes it sound innocent. Is the NY Times deliberately concealing info or is this lazy reporting? I found out a lot more within minutes of starting to investigate them.
This group writes and backs anti-worker, wealth- and corporate-favoring legislation of exactly the kind we're seeing bursting out of Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan, among other places. It has a board of directors and a "private enterprise" board that appear to work together on this agenda. The board of director consists of state legislators across the country (Ohio is represented by Bill Seitz). The "private enterprise board" includes representatives for major corporations like Exxon, Pfizer, WalMart, and Koch Enterprises. They also have a "state chairman" in each state they are working in, a state legislator whom I assume is sort of the captain of their efforts. Ohio's is right-wing wacko John Adams of Sidney, the guy who has twice tried to introduce the "man's right to choose" bill, which would make the man the ultimate decider of whether a woman could have an abortion.
It's interesting that we haven't known anything about this group and its efforts. They haven't been open about what they're doing. They've been writing legislation that destroy quality of life for most of us, and doing it shrouded in secrecy.