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F29: Occupy ALEC - The Daily Occupation

Keeping you up-to-date with the #Occupy movement.

F29: Occupy ALEC

We’ll let the article speak for itself:

Co-ordinated protests are planned in some 60 cities later this month against a right wing group which activists say has an unfair hand in writing state legislation that favours corporate interests.

Working under the banner Shut Down the Corporations, activists plan to target corporate members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) with nationwide protests on 29 February.

Organisers say Alec, a nonprofit free-market policy group whose membership includes some 2,000 state legislators, wields undue influence by drafting legislation beneficial to its corporate members, which in some cases is then used as a model for legislation in states across America.

The nationwide protest is being co-ordinated by Occupy Portland, with activists across the country due to take part – including from Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland.

“We call on people to target corporations that are part of the American Legislative Exchange Council which is a prime example of the way corporations buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves the interests of corporations and not people,” reads a statement on Shut Down the Corporations’ website.

[...]Alec was founded in September 1973 as a “nonpartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers”. The organisation, which counts the conservative billionaire Koch brothers among its financial backers, has a membership some of the largest companies in America.

One of the better known examples of Alec’s influence can be found in Arizona’s SB 1070 bill. The legislation, seen as one of the strictest anti-illegal immigrant laws in America’s history and criticised by Barack Obama, was modelled on Alec’s “No Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Act”, which had been approved by an Alec task force made up, in part, of prison companies that stood to benefit from the act being passed.

Democratic lawmakers in Arizona and Wisconsin are seeking to introduce the Alec Accountability Act in their states, which would require Alec to register as a lobbying organisation and subsequently disclose its financiers.

Mark Pocan, a Democratic member of the Wisconsin state assembly who is gunning for Congress in in Wisconsin’s 2nd Congressional District, is behind the proposed Wisconsin legislation.

“Alec is like a giant corporate dating service [for] lonely legislators and their special interest corporate allies,” Pocan told the Guardian. “Alec operates best when it operates in the shadows. Once people find out that it’s really nothing but a front for corporate special interests you start to know that the ideas they put forward aren’t in the public good.”

Read more at the Guardian

Homepage for Shut Down the Corporations

Wiki on ALEC

The Nation on ALEC