April 25, 2013
Progress Missouri today released a detailed research report exposing the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the Missouri Capitol.
ALEC is a lobbying group on steroids. They host fancy retreats that bring together corporations and state legislators with the expressed purpose of creating “model” legislation together. The appeal of ALEC rests largely on the fact that legislators receive trips, food, and lodging that amount to a free family vacation. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported after the 2011 ALEC conference in New Orleans, “Corporate benefactors made sure Missouri lawmakers attending the conference were well fed and hydrated.”
In this year’s legislative session more than 40 proposed bills have directly echoed ALEC models. They include classic attacks on working families such as the so-called right to work bill, a “castle doctrine” law that undermines social security, and a bill that created voter registration hurdles for minority, elderly, and disabled voters. This week, the Missouri House is set to consider paycheck deception legislation that seeks to shut workers out of the political process.
Rather than worrying about what’s best for everyday working families, ALEC members are ceding their elected role in drafting legislation to corporate special interests that worry about stock prices and profits.
ALEC’s interference with the state legislative process has been viewed so negatively that more than 40 major corporations, including Walmart, Coca-Cola, General Motors, McDonald’s, and Amazon.com have cut ties with them.
Unfortunately, many notable Missouri politicians remain connected.
More than 60 legislators in Missouri have been identified as having ties to ALEC, including Speaker Tim Jones, Majority Leader John Diehl, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, and State Senator John Lamping.
This level of outside influence in the Missouri Capitol is alarming. Missouri’s working families would be better off if its elected leaders stopped carrying the water of corporations and started caring about the concerns of the people who elected them.