It has lost at least 50 business and foundation members since early in 2012, but the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its profit-driven agenda remain a major force in the Arizona statehouse, according to a new report from Common Cause and allied groups. "ALEC in Arizona: The Voice Of Corporate Special Interests In The Halls Of Arizona's Legislature," connects 17 bills introduced in the Arizona legislature this year to "model" legislation developed by ALEC's corporate and legislator members. The bills would strip funds from Arizona's public schools (SB 1409 and HB 2617), eliminate collective bargaining rights (HB 2330), undermine the Affordable Care Act (HB 2588) and make it more difficult for Arizonans to bring class action lawsuits against corporations (SB 1452).
The report also details the receipt by Arizona legislators of more than $200,000 in "scholarships," from a special Arizona ALEC fund. The money is used to cover the lawmakers' travel expenses and accommodations at ALEC seminars, where corporate representatives and elected officials collaborate - in private -- to develop the group's "model" bills.
By using ALEC as a conduit, the fund conceals the actual identity of the corporations providing the money. Between 2006 and 2011, these corporations included Salt River Project ($30,000), University of Phoenix ($10,000), Freeport-McMoRan ($12,000) and Apollo Group/Insight Schools ($12,000).
"ALEC in Arizona" was released by Common Cause, the Center for Media and Democracy, Arizona Working Families, Progress Now Education, and the People For The American Way Foundation. It is the third annual report on ALEC's influence in Arizona.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.