Payback: A Model Bill for ALEC

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a shadow legislature that has given us many lousy laws. Populated by corporate agents and Republican office-holders, ALEC passes "model bills," which its lawmaker members take to their statehouses and push into law. In 2011, news journals dragged ALEC into the light, and later pinned it as the source of the "shoot first" law that helped the killer walk in the Trayvon Martin case. With the bad press, ALEC began losing membership, and disbanded its gun proliferation and voter suppression committee. But, ALEC still drives its evident core mission to shackle democracy, and to unleash big money and mega-corporations, with such laws as those:

Today, ALEC fights against clean energy with its current package of model bills:

For all the lousy model bills-come-law that ALEC has given us, and for those it still seeks to give us, let’s give a really good model bill to ALEC. Our model bill does not need a shadow legislature. Like many of its kind, it was written and passed by a real legislature during the "Progressive Era" of the early 20th century. Our model bill does not need the input of corporate agents. It serves only the public interest, and recognizes the profit-taking corporation as a special and powerful corrupting influence on government. In fact, our model bill bans corporations and their agents, outside of narrowly defined and well-lit lobbying channels, from any try at swaying public policy. Under its terms, corporate agents voting in a shadow legislature would face prison time, and the corporation that sent them could face dissolution. From the Wisconsin law book of 1919 — here is a model bill for ALEC:

No corporation doing business in this state shall pay or contribute, or offer consent or agree to pay or contribute, directly or indirectly, any money, property, free service of its officers or employees or thing of value to any political party, organization, committee or individual for any political purpose whatsoever, or for the purpose of influencing legislation of any kind, or to promote or defeat the candidacy of any person for nomination, appointment or election to any political office.
Penalty: Any officer, employe, agent or attorney or other representative of any corporation, acting for and in behalf of such corporation, who shall violate [this act] shall be punished upon conviction by a fine of not less than one hundred nor more than five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment in the state prison for a period of not less than one nor more than five years, or by both … and if the corporation shall be subject to a penalty then by forfeiture in double the amount of any fine so imposed … and if a domestic corporation, it may be dissolved, … and if a foreign or nonresident corporation, its right to do business in this state may be declared forfeited.


ALEC ALEC Exposed – The Center for Media and Democracy

news journals ‘ALEC Exposed’ – John Nichols; The Nation; 12 July 2011

dragged ALEC into the light ‘A Discreet Nonprofit Brings Together Politicians and Corporations to Write ‘Model Bills’’ by Lois Beckett; ProPublica, July 15, 2011

shoot first ‘ALEC Ratified the NRA-Conceived Law That May Protect Trayvon Martin’s Killer’ – Brendan Fischer; PR Watch; 21 March 2012

losing membership ‘ALEC facing funding crisis from donor exodus in wake of Trayvon Martin row’ – Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg; The Guardian; 3 December 2013

voter suppression ‘ALEC Exposed: Rigging Elections’ – John Nichols; The Nation; 12 July 2011

further cut taxes ‘ALEC Exposed: Taxes and Budgets’ – The Center for Media and Democracy

further cut and privatize ‘ALEC Exposed: Business Domination Inc.’ – Joel Rogers and Laura Dresser; The Nation; 11 July 2011

destroy public education ‘A Smart ALEC Threatens Public Education’ by Julie Underwood and Julie F. Mead; Education Week; 29 February 2012

deny the right ‘ALEC Exposed: Business Domination Inc.’ – Joel Rogers and Laura Dresser; The Nation; 11 July 2011

protect factory farms ‘ALEC Exposed: Protecting Factory Farms and Sewage Sludge?’ – Jill Richardson; PR Watch; 4 August 2011

hamper municipalities and counties ‘How ALEC Helps Big Telecom Change State Laws for Corporate Gain’ Brendan Fischer; PR Watch; 13 February 2014

offering Internet and television ‘Municipal Telecommunications Private Industry Safeguards Act’ – ALEC; via ALEC Exposed

ban local governments ‘ALEC Stands its Ground, but Stumbles’ – Brendan Fischer; PR Watch; 6 December 2013

paid sick days ‘Efforts to Deliver “Kill Shot” to Paid Sick Leave Tied to ALEC’ – Brendan Fischer; PR Watch; 3 April 2013

living wages ‘Living Wage Mandate Preemption Act’ – ALEC via ALEC Exposed

ban cities and counties ‘ALEC Stands its Ground, but Stumbles’ – Brendan Fischer; PR Watch; 6 December 2013

GMO’s ‘Biotechnology State Uniformity Resolution’ – ALEC via ALEC Exposed

pesticide use ‘State Pesticide Preemption Act’ – ALEC via ALEC Exposed

current package ‘Revealed: ALEC’s 2014 Attacks on the Environment’ – Nick Surgey; PR Watch; 23 April 2014

stifle greenhouse gas limits ‘ALEC Forges New Bills for its Polluting Company Members’ – PR Watch; 6 November 2013

undo net metering ‘ALEC calls for penalties on ‘freerider’ homeowners in assault on clean energy’ by Suzanne Goldenberg and Ed Pilkington; The Guardian; 4 December 2013

extra solar ‘The Koch Attack on Solar Energy’ – The New York Times; 26 April 2014

curtail the progress ‘Q&A: ALEC’s new tactics to weaken renewable laws’ by Kari Lydersen; Midwest Energy News

Our model bill ‘Old Law Could Stop Corporate Dinosaurs’ by Quinn Hungeski; The Paragraph; 24 January 2010

Like many of its kind ‘Fixing Corporations: The Legacy of the Founding Parents’ by Jane Anne Morris; 1996; The Progressive Populist

well-lit lobbying channels ‘Wisconsin Statutes, 1919’ – See ‘Lobbying and Logrolling’ section

Wisconsin law book of 1919 ‘Wisconsin Statutes, 1919’ via Google Books

here is ‘Wisconsin Statutes, 1919’ See “Political contributions by corporations prohibited.”

* * *

By Quinn Hungeski,, Copyright (CC BY-ND) 2014

Notify of

WordPress Anti Spam by WP-SpamShield

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments