April 19, 2012

EXPOSED: Politicians Defending Corporate Front Group ALEC Get Money From Its Donors

EXPOSED: Politicians Defending Corporate Front Group ALEC Get Money From Its DonorsThe corporate front group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is finally in the public eye. Americans everywhere are finally seeing how this group colludes with big corporations to pass laws all over the country that harm nearly every area of American life.

As ALEC has come under public scrutiny, the group has called upon allied state legislators to defend its role in corrupting American democracy. These lawmakers have come forth to stridently defend the organization against criticism.

Republic Report has conducted an analysis of these lawmakers’ campaign funds and has discovered that they may have another reason to jump up in support of ALEC — they share many of the same corporate donors. Here’s our analysis of these lawmakers and the donors they share with ALEC:

Rep. Chip Rogers (R-GA):  Rogers is the Senate Majority Leader in Georgia. He is also the Treasurer of ALEC. He called the criticisms against the organization “disingenuous, driven by extremists, and ultimately destined to fail.” He even absurdly claimed that ALEC may make it more difficult for corporations to pass laws.
Shared Donors: In his last campaign, Rogers received a $2,500 donation from UPS, and a $3,000 donation from Wal-Mart. His top donor was United Healthcare, which gave $9,300. All of these companies are also donors to ALEC.
Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-GA): Brockway is a freshman Representative from Georgia and an enthusiastic user of social media, including blogs and Twitter. Brockway called the criticisms of ALEC simply a “war on good ideas.”

Shared Donors: State Farm isn’t just on ALEC’s side, it’s also on Brockway’s, giving him $500 in his last campaign. Other shared donors: Altria, which gave $400 to Brockway, UnitedHealthcare, which pitched in $250, and Chevron, which gave $650.

Rep. Steve McDaniel (R-TN): Daniels said there are “few organizations that have done moreto impact free market policies and strengthen individual liberties than ALEC.”

Shared Donors:ALEC donor UPS gave a $2,000 to McDaniel in his last campaign. Drug manufacturer Merck gave $500.
Rep. Bill Howell (R-VA): Howell, who is the Virginia House Speaker, said that people criticizing ALEC want to “destroy ALEC” by “intimidating” its corporate sponsors.

Shared Donors: Howell netted a huge $20,000 donation from UPS in 2010. He also got $1,000 form ALEC donor AT&T.
Rep. Pete Illoway (R-WY): Illoway defended ALEC by defending its corporate sponsors: “Corporations have a certain right to have legislation that is good for them, if it’s good for the state and good for the people it generally works.”

Shared Donors: Illoway racked up the following donations from ALEC donors in 2010: $300 from AT&T, $350 from Altria, $250 from GlaxoSmithKline, $250 from ExxonMobil, and $550 from Pfizer.
Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (R-WI): Kleefisch appeared on Fox News and belittled the idea that ALEC and its corporate donors are “somehow the great influencers in minds of leaders who have been elected by the taxpayers in their states.”
Shared Donors: Kleefisch got $3,000 from Altria in her last campaign.

By defending ALEC, these legislators are not only standing up for a group that lets corporations write our laws, but they are also sending a signal to all of their donors who also fund ALEC: Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. And we’ll continue passing the laws you want.