Before Annual ALEC Conference, New Report Exposes Secretive Group’s Political Influence in Colorado
- Jay Riestenberg
Colorado Common Cause releases report on the national corporate lobbying group ahead of its conference in Denver next week
Just days before the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual meeting in Denver, Colorado Common Cause and the Common Cause Education Fund released a new report uncovering the recent influence of the secretive special interest lobbying group in the Colorado legislature. ALEC is a national secretive lobbying group that is holding its annual meeting in Denver from July 19th-21st. ALEC is known for bringing state lawmakers and corporate lobbyists together in secret to draft and approve “model” bills on different issues, often benefiting its corporate donors’ bottom line.
The report reveals the members of the Colorado legislature that have ties to ALEC and which recent Colorado state bills can be traced back to the organization. Additionally, the report highlights ALEC’s corporate members and uncovers money given to the organization from both the Coors family and Koch brothers. The report also documents how ALEC abuses its public charity status with the IRS, effectively making its corporate donors eligible for a tax deduction for its funding of ALEC.
“ALEC’s secretive corporate lobbying flies in the face of how democracy is supposed to work,” said Elena Nunez, executive director of Colorado Common Cause. “Voters may not know who ALEC is, but they have been very influential in Colorado. Coloradans need to know who is really behind some of the bills introduced in our legislature and what ALEC’s corporate funders are getting in return.”
“This report should be eye-opening and alarming for any Coloradan who believes in transparent and accountable government,” Nunez added. “ALEC and its corporate funders can’t be allowed to peddle their influence in secret anymore, and taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing ALEC’s lobbying.”
The release of the new report comes a week before ALEC holds its annual meeting in Denver, where legislators and lobbyists will meet behind closed doors to plan a national strategy to push ALEC’s agenda on workers’ rights, environmental protection, healthcare, tax and budget issues, and telecommunications policy. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO), and Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman are among the conference’s announced speakers.
To kick off a week of counter programming and unveil the new report, Colorado Common Cause will hold a teach-in on ALEC’s influence and agenda on July 15th at the First Baptist Church of Denver featuring expert panelists from Colorado Ethics Watch, Mi Familia Vota, FRESC, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, Colorado Fiscal Institute, Conservation Colorado, and more. Additional information about the event can be found here.
To view the “ALEC in Colorado” report, click here.