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ALEC: Ghostwriting the Law for Corporate America

ALEC: Ghostwriting the Law for Corporate America

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Published by JennifersReads
American Association for Justice Report, 2010
American Association for Justice Report, 2010

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: JennifersReads on Mar 27, 2011
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10/31/2011

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1ALEC:GHOSTWRITING THE LAW FOR CORPORATE AMERICA
ALEC:
Ghostwriting the Law for Corporate America
May 2010
 
2ALEC:GHOSTWRITING THE LAW FOR CORPORATE AMERICA
Executive SummaryIntroduction to ALEC:Ghostwriting the Law or Corporate AmericaALEC and Asbestos The Nexus o Special Interests: Shook, Hardy & BaconALEC Says: “We Don’t Lobby”ConclusionAppendix34810121415
 Table o Contents
 
3ALEC:GHOSTWRITING THE LAW FOR CORPORATE AMERICA
Few have ever heard o it, but the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is the ultimate smoke-flled back room.On the surace, ALEC’s membership is mostly comprised o thousands o state legislators. Each pays anominal membership ee in order to attend ALEC retreats and receive model legislation. ALEC’s corporatecontributors, on the other hand, pay a king’s ransom to gain access to legislators and distribute theircorporate-crated legislation.So, while the membership appears to be public sector, the bankroll is almost entirely private sector. In act,public sector membership dues account or only around one percent o ALEC’s annual revenues. ALECclaims to be nonpartisan, but in act its ree-market, pro-business mission is clear. The result has been a consistent pipeline o special interest legislation being unneled into state capitols. Thanks to ALEC, 826 bills were introduced in the states in 2009 and 115 were enacted into law.Behind the scenes at ALEC, the nuts and bolts o lobbying and crating legislation is done by large corpo-rate deense frm Shook, Hardy & Bacon. A law frm with strong ties to the tobacco and pharmaceuticalindustries, it has long used ALEC’s ability to get a wide swath o state laws enacted to urther the interestso its corporate clients.ALEC’s campaigns and model legislation have run the gamut o issues, but all have either protected orpromoted a corporate revenue stream, oten at the expense o consumers. For example, ALEC has workedon behal o:
Oil companies to undermine climate change proponents;Pharmaceutical manuacturers, arguing that states should be banned rom importing prescription drugs;Telecom frms to block local authorities rom oering cheap or ree municipally-owned broadband;Insurance companies to prevent state insurance commissioners rom requiring insurers to meet strength-ened accounting and auditing rules;Big banks, recommending that seniors be orced to give up their homes via reverse mortgages in order toreceive Medicaid;The asbestos industry, trying to shut the courthouse door to Americans suering rom mesothelioma andother asbestos-related diseases; and,Enron to deregulate the utility industries, which eventually caused the U.S. to lose what the Securities andExchange Commission (SEC) estimated as $5 trillion in market value.
Executive Summary

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