The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has gotten some much-deserved exposure for its secretive campaigns to push harmful laws in statehouses across the country this week after it was revealed that it helped push Stand Your Ground, the law keeping Trayvon Martin’s killer free in Florida. ALEC, funded by many major corporations we all know, drafts some truly despicable model legislation including laws looking to ban living wages, cripple collective bargaining, attack voting rights, and sell off prisons.

ALEC has its hands all over public policy, including educating kids. As my colleague Zaid Jilani wrote about on Monday, it has pushed school vouchers, which “are so unpopular that they only exist in a handful of school systems nationwide” and it actively works to develop K-12 privatization legislation. So it’s kind of surprising that ALEC received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation last year. The Gates Foundation does a lot of good work in Africa and Asia. So why did ALEC merit $376,635 of the world’s most powerful charity’s kindness?

According to the Gates Foundation site, ALEC received the money in Nov. 2011 for a term of one year and 10 months:

to educate and engage its membership on more efficient state budget approaches to drive greater student outcomes, as well as educate them on beneficial ways to recruit, retain, evaluate and compensate effective teaching based upon merit and achievement

Bill Gates has supported gun control in the past: in 1997, he gave $35,000 in support of a Washington state ballot initiative on gun control. You have to wonder how what he thinks about ALEC’s role in the Trayvon Martin case — and if his foundation will continue to support ALEC in the future.

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Filed under: Lobbying

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  • Lyn Peterson

    expose ALEC for the hate group that it is

    • meyeah

      hate group?

      gun control groups are the ones scapegoating and stereotyping all legal gun owners for the actions of criminals and spree killers

      BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS!!! etc etc (insert image of fat white guy with ar15 standing over dead kids/ naziesque fear/hate propaganda)

  • DHFabian

    This really surprised me because it’s so inconsistent with (what I know of) the Gates Foundation priorities. ALEC appears to be threateningly big and invasive when it comes to “directing” government policy, and certainly merits much closer examination.

  • Gndlf1

    I was not surprised about the Gates Foundation funding of ALEC on education. ALEC wrote the Prison Industries Act that allowed private companies access to cheap prisoner labor. Microsoft participated in that in WA. state, using a subcontractor to reduce packaging and shipping costs on MS software and hardware. More recently The Gates Foundation chief executive officer Jeff Raikes, attended the 2011 annual meeting of the “Philanthropy Roundtable”.
    The Philanthropy Roundtable’s CEO is none other than Michael W. Grebe, CEO of the Bradley Foundation (founders of the John Birch Society) chaired Governor Scott Walker’s transition team; and has deep ties to the Kochs and funded $50 K to ALEC in 2009:
    More importantly regarding the Gates Foundation and the Roundtable meeting – all the usual characters were there led by Charles G. Koch: Heritage, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Nat’l Center for Policy Analysis, Goldwater Institute, Charles Schwab, Inst. for Justice, Reason Foundation, Alexander Hamilton Society, Federalist Society, DeVos Foundation…and the list goes on.
    To these people and their organizations, Trayvon Martin – and our public education system – are considered acceptable collateral damage as they enact laws to allow the companies belonging to ALEC (such as the NRA) to increase profits used to fund continuing conservative, pro-business, RW philosophies and a political and pro-corporate agenda and ideology.
    For the Gates Foundation and Bill Gates, the old addage of “you are what you eat” applies – they have openly chosen to join their 1% amassed wealth with that of the Kochs and ALEC – the “cabal”. I believe in this ongoing battle to banish ALEC and their funders, the reputations of Gates and others enabling this cabal should be considered similarly – as collateral damage.
    Bob Sloan, Ex. Dir. Voter’s Legislative Transparency Project

  • guest

    Did anyone say Illuminati? Yeah, ok, just a conspiracy theory.

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  • Richard Jones

    The Trayvon Martin case what a Joke.

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