Desperate for funding, ALEC’s tact seeks new corporate backers
The new right-to-work attack at the local level appears to have a secondary, perhaps more revealing purpose, according the U.S. edition of the Guardian – fundraising.
Earlier this year, the paper noted on its website, guardian.com, that ALEC took a major financial hit for promoting Florida’s “stand your ground” law as one of its cookie-cutter proposals.
In the negative backlash following the 2012 shooting death of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, many corporations withdrew financial support from ALEC, enough that apparently it’s feeling the financial strain.
CYNICAL MONEY MACHINE
According to the Guardian:
“The extension of its techniques to city councils and municipalities across America offers ALEC the chance to open up a potential source of funding that might help it solve its budgetary crisis. There are almost 500,000 local elected officials, many with considerable powers over schools and local services that could be attractive to big business.
“ALEC makes the appeal to corporations explicit in its funding material for the new ACCE (American City County Exchange) exchange. It offers companies ‘founders committee’ status in return for $25,000 a year and ‘council committee’ membership for $10,000.
“By joining ACCE’s council committee, corporate lobbyists can participate in policy development and network with other entrepreneurs and municipal officials from around the country. In committee meetings, lobbyists will be allowed to ‘present facts and opinions for discussion’ and introduce resolutions for new policies that they want to see implemented in a city.
“At the end of such meetings, the elected officials present in the room will take a vote before returning to their respective council chambers armed with new legislative proposals.”
DISTORTING THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
Nick Surgey, of the Center for Media and Democracy, which monitors ALEC’s activities, told the Guardian: “It just wouldn’t be possible for any corporation to effectively lobby the hundreds of thousands of local elected officials in the U.S., which until now has left our local mayors and school board members largely free from the grasps of coordinated lobbyists. ALEC is now trying to change that.”
In conclusion, the Guardian story notes: “One of the main criticisms that have been leveled against ALEC is that its influence distorts the democratic process by giving corporations a handle over lawmaking. Similar fears are now being expressed about the intentions of ACCE in American cities.”