“Myself, I always loved going to these meetings because I always foundnew ideas. Then I’d take them back to Wisconsin, disguise them a littlebit, and declare that ‘it’s mine.’” -Former Wisconsin Governor TommyThompson
[From a luncheon speech to ALEC, April 2002,Corporate-Sponsored Crime Laws, American RadioWorks, April 2002
When politicians say their state is “open for business,” they usually just mean that it isbusiness-friendly. Unfortunately, many Lansing Republicans mean it literally. They aremembers of a secretive organization that links right-wing lawmakers and corporate powerbrokers called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
What is ALEC?
ALEC is a corporate bill mill that is exerting extraordinary and secretive inﬂuence in theMichigan legislature and in other states.
Through ALEC, corporations hand Michiganlawmakers wish lists in the form of “model bills” that often directly beneﬁt their bottom lineat the expense of Michigan families. Numerous ALEC model bills are crafted behind closeddoors by corporations, for corporations. As noted by the Center for Media and Democracy’sALECexposed.org site, elected ofﬁcials who are members of ALEC bring these model billsback to Michigan as their own ideas and public policy innovations, without disclosing thatcorporations crafted and voted on the bills at closed-door meetings with lawmakers who areALEC members.ALEC provides lawmakers with a means to appear highly active in the legislative process bysecretly outsourcing their role in drafting legislation to wealthy special interests.
ALEC in Michigan
26 current and former lawmakers in Michigan have ties to ALEC - but the number could bemuch higher.
Identifying Michigan lawmakers who are ALEC members is a difﬁcult taskbecause ALEC operates largely in secret.Even though it claims to be a legislativemembership organization, there is no full list of members made public by the organization.Michigan lawmakers with ALEC ties include the following individuals (along with theposition of leadership they hold in the state legislature):
Who’s writing Michigan’s laws?3