Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Keystone Progress asks PA Senate, House for ALEC Records

Right to Know Law requests filed for correspondence, financial records related to controversial corporate front group, the American Legislative Exchange Council

HARRISBURG, PA  — Keystone Progress today asked the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives to release all records related to the shadowy and controversial corporate front group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). 

The Keystone Progress RTKL request asks for:
·       All correspondence, including surface mail and email, containing the words ALEC or American Legislative Exchange Council;
·       All memoranda, agendas, draft or model legislation, draft or model resolutions, sent to Representatives/Senators and their staff from ALEC or the American Legislative Exchange Council or representatives of ALEC or the American Legislative Exchange Council;
·       All financial records, including receipts and expense reports, containing the words ALEC or American Legislative Exchange Council.

ALEC has been under intense criticism for its role in writing, and lobbying for, controversial legislation that strips away union rights, scales back child labor laws, attacks the regulation power of environmental agencies, suppresses voter rights with strict identification requirements, eliminates the social safety net, and privatizes public services.

Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law. 

At least 42 PA legislators are members of ALEC.1  Numerous PA bills have been ghost written by corporate lobbyists and submitted verbatim by PA legislators.2

In the past few days, dozens of legislators around the country and major corporate sponsors of ALEC have indicated they will not renew their memberships to the controversial corporate front group. Five PA former members of ALEC have severed ties in the past week.

According to Pennsylvania law, the Senate and House have five business days to respond to the request.

2”Behind Closed Doors: The American Legislative Exchange Council and Pennsylvania Legislation” 

Keystone Progress is Pennsylvania’s largest online progressive organization, with over 270,000 subscribers. KP uses the Internet and new media to organize online at the state and local level; and utilizes cutting-edge earned media strategies to promote a progressive agenda and counter right-wing misinformation. 

1 comment:

Susan J. Walters Powers said...

Have they responded? It is well past the five days.