The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

ALEC was behind multiple bills in the last Minnesota legislative session

A national nonprofit that’s drawn criticism for allowing corporations to write legislation directly with state lawmakers can be traced to bills introduced in Minnesota last session, including language that would shield large corporations from consumer lawsuits and undermine greenhouse gas reduction goals. The bills were revealed as Common Cause released a report on the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is financially supported by corporations like Koch Industries and Wal-Mart. At regular conferences, including one going on in New Orleans right now, these corporations draft corporate-friendly legislation that is approved by state legislators on legislative task forces and then introduced at state capitols across the country without disclosure that the business interests wrote them. “The work of ALEC shows how the Minnesota capitol is governed by corporate lobbyists instead of main street voters,” said Mike Dean, executive director of Common Cause Minnesota.

Paula M. Graham
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Aug 03, 2011

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/2010/08/MahurinLobbying_Thumb.jpgA national nonprofit that’s drawn criticism for allowing corporations to write legislation directly with state lawmakers can be traced to bills introduced in Minnesota last session, including language that would shield large corporations from consumer lawsuits and undermine greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The bills were revealed as Common Cause released a report on the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is financially supported by corporations like Koch Industries and Wal-Mart. At regular conferences, including one going on in New Orleans right now, these corporations draft corporate-friendly legislation that is approved by state legislators on legislative task forces and then introduced at state capitols across the country without disclosure that the business interests wrote them.

“The work of ALEC shows how the Minnesota capitol is governed by corporate lobbyists instead of main street voters,” said Mike Dean, executive director of Common Cause Minnesota. “Dozens of corporations are investing millions of dollars to write business-friendly legislation that is being passed into law without public knowledge and often at the expense of the public interest.”

Common Cause Minnesota found a number of recent Minnesota bills that mirrored ALEC counterparts:

  • Voter Restrictions: (HF 89, SF 479) Bill that critics say would suppress voter turnout. ALEC legislation.
  • Taxation of Moist Snuff Tobacco: (HF 1079) This bill, created by tobacco companies, would create a tax break for moist tobacco. ALEC legislation.
  • **Cheeseburger Bill: **(HF 264SF 160) This bill partially shields large food companies from consumer lawsuits. ALEC connection from Inside ALEC magazine.
  • End Greenhouse Gas Emission Goals (HF 509) This bill opposes efforts to restrict the emission of greenhouse gases. ALEC legislation.

The ALEC conference in New Orleans this week includes workshops about pension reform, privatization of Medicaid and the benefits of C02 (in a global warming context).

ALEC documents and draft bills were recently leaked to the Center for Media and Democracy by a whistleblower. The leak includes more than 800 ALEC draft bills on corporate-friendly issues. The leak led to a series of articles in The Nation magazine and Pro Publica detailing a relationship that critics say allows corporate lobbying without disclosure, as well as rampant corporate influence in the drafting of legislation.

Common Cause is currently challenging ALEC’s nonprofit status. Common Cause President Bob Edgar summed up criticism of ALEC to the Los Angeles Times: ”Dozens of corporations are paying millions of dollars a year to write business-friendly legislation that is becoming law in statehouses from coast to coast.”

The report found that the 22 known ALEC-affiliated companies had directly donated $141 million to campaigns and candidates since 2001. Minnesota’s campaign finance laws limited the financial donations in the state to $151,000, with large amounts coming from Flint Hills Resources, which is affiliated with Koch Industries, and State Farm Insurance.

The Minnesota Independent previously linked U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen to the organization as a member of the federal affairs arm.

Are you a member of the legislature or legislative staff with knowledge of ALEC’s doings in Minnesota? Send us an email: jcollins@minnesotaindependent.com.

Paula M. Graham | Paula is a writer and editor who works as a freelancer. She covers subjects such as banking, insurance, and digital marketing in his writing. Paula is a bookworm who also enjoys podcasts and freshly made coffee.

Related

$1.89 billion given to states to fight HIV

The federal government Monday announced more than $1.89 billion in funding to states to fight the HIV epidemic with access to care and with more cash for the failing AIDS Drug Assistance Program. According to an HHS press release , $813 million of that money will go directly to the ADAP programming. An additional $8,386,340 will be issued as a supplement to 36 states and territories currently facing a litany of unmet needs and access issues.

Army Data Shows Constraints on Troop Increase Potential

If President Obama orders an additional 30,000 to 40,000 troops to Afghanistan, he will be deploying practically every available U.S. Army brigade to war, leaving few units in reserve in case of an unforeseen emergency and further stressing a force that has seen repeated combat deployments since 2002.

1. Brian Schweitzer

As governor of Montana, Schweitzer doesn’t represent one of the most highly populated, high-profile electoral states in the country. But this

$1.3 Million for Brown

The GOP’s candidate in the Massachusetts special election raised more than one million dollars -- double the goal -- in a 24-hour moneybomb on the Ron Paul

$1.3 trillion in federal spending unaccounted for, report finds

Despite calls for independent bodies to keep government accountable, the Sunlight Foundation’s most recent Clearspending report has found the federal

#1 in Conspiracy Theories

Andrew Young’s tell-all biography of John Edwards, hitting shelves next week, is surging in one Amazon.com category in particular. #1 in Conspiracy

1 Brigade and 1 Battalion

ISTANBUL – It’s 10 p.m. in the lowest level of the Istanbul airport. In 20 minutes I’ll be allowed to board my plane to Kabul, bringing me to the

$1 Million for Toomey

Pat Toomey, the former Club for Growth president and leading Republican candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2010 Senate race, has announced a $1 million haul in the

1. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Graham (R-S.C.) is typically regarded as a reliable vote for his party, but he took the bold step of breaking with his fellow Republicans to join Kerry

Bachmann uncomfortable over earmarks ban

Republicans appear to have boxed themselves into a corner with their portrayal of earmarks as wasteful spending, as many of them have backed a moratorium on

Troubled mine holds hope for U.S. rare earth industry

China currently controls 97 percent of the world’s rare earth production. The Mountain Pass Mine could change that -- if it can overcome serious environmental concerns.

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy | twi.news@washingtonindependent.com