December 7, 2013 11:01 am -

ALEC-chartIf you thought the notorious “pledge” that Grover Norquist’s outfit Americans for Tax Reform [sic] essentially strong-armed Republicans into taking was creepy, wait until you hear what the American Legislative Exchange Council {ALEC) demanded of state legislators:

New leaked documents show that corporate special interest lobbying group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) asked state chairs, including New Hampshire State Representatives Gary Daniels (R-Milford) and Jordan Ulery (R-Hudson), to sign a pledge stating,: “I will act with loyalty and put the interests of the organization first.”

The pledge for elected officials to put their affiliation with ALEC over their oath of office was revealed in documents released about ALEC in an investigative report by The Guardian newspaper this week.

ALEC allows corporations to draft legislation that directly benefits their bottom line, then sit side by side with ALEC legislators to vote on which ones to introduce in State Houses across the country. The Guardian expose highlights the extent of this relationship; it also details ALEC’s internal concerns about lobbying while pretending to be a charitable organization and its plans to win back corporate members who left the organization in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting where the ALEC-supported Stand Your Ground law came into wide recognition.

ALEC’s legislative agenda for 2014 includes plans to harass navigators who help uninsured Americans sign up for affordable health coverage and to continue to push for a repeal of the minimum wage. These policies and others will be discussed at ALEC’s annual “State and Nation Policy Summit” in DC today, which several New Hampshire ALEC legislators are anticipated to be participating in – including Daniels, Ulery, Lenette Peterson (R-Merrimack), JR Hoell (R-Bow) and Pam Tucker (R-Greenland).

Other NH ALEC members include current 2nd CD Congressional Candidate and current Rep. Marilinda Garcia (R-Salem); Deputy Republican Whip Rep. Andrew Renzullo (R-Hudson); and early participants in the Free State Project Rep. Carol McGuire (R-Epsom) and Rep. Dan McGuire (R-Epsom).

It is unbelievable that these politicians participate in an organization that asks them to pledge allegiance to corporate special interests over their constituents,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “New Hampshire’s ALEC state chairs Representatives Gary Daniels and Jordan Ulery must publicly denounce ALEC’s loyalty oath and apologize to Granite State families for their behavior. Any New Hampshire legislator involved in ALEC should immediately end their membership and stop being a shill for policies that hurt Granite State families and small businesses.”

What is happening in New Hampshire is happening all across the country. ALEC has been able to pull off this corporate “coup” thanks, according to the same leaked documents, to the largesse of a clutch of heavily financed black money “trusts”:

The documents not only show these organizations’ plans for how to serve their oligarchs at the expense of ordinary people, they also reveal a player most people don’t hear much about: Searle Freedom Trust. Searle Freedom Trust is closely tied to Donor’s Trust, the donor-advised slush fund for conservative causes.

The grant requests made by the state policy think tanks targeted public pensions, unions, teachers, and health care policy. All are framed as long-held right wing policy goals. Furthermore, that Searle Freedom Trust link leads straight back to the Wall Street Journal, via Stephen Moore, who somehow always fails to disclose his relationship to Searle when he writes op-eds in furtherance of the same goals. … That whole claim that he’s unpaid is supposed to tell us he has no bias as a result of his activities. Never mind that his op-eds bolster, echo, or justify the case these policy shops churn out.


D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.