Saturday, December 01, 2012

Right-wing group faces heavy scrutiny

ALEC Convenes in Washington; Damage Control at Top of Agenda 

Friday, 30 November 2012 09:10 By Brendan Fischer, PRWatch | Report

At the end of a tumultuous year that has seen the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) come under unprecedented scrutiny for its role in advancing a slate of right-wing legislation, the corporate-friendly organization of state lawmakers and special interest lobbyists convenes this week in Washington, DC to try and salvage its viability.

At this week's meeting, ALEC members will by treated to presentations like "Best Practices for Debt Collection and Tax Amnesty" from student loan company Sallie Mae and a talk on state unemployment from the Koch-funded Mercatus Center. Representatives of the Mortgage Bankers Association will present to the Financial Services Subcommittee, which is co-chaired by a lobbyist for Visa. The Heritage Foundation's James Sherk (whose work is funded by the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation) will discuss "how to limit union influence."

But only a handful of new "model" bills are on the agenda. According to ALEC task force documents obtained through open records requests, the meeting will largely consist of deciding which bills from its vast library to "sunset" and which to retain or amend -- an apparent effort to scrub their history of far-right model bills, and likely a response to a year of intense criticism. Hopefully the organization is reviewing some of its more retrograde proposals, such as its stalwart opposition to minimum wage laws and support for climate change denial. At least for this meeting, ALEC is focused less on proactively developing legislation and more on damage control.

(More here.)

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