Legislators Must Disclose ALEC Meeting Attendees
- liza mcclenaghan
Common Cause presses the secretive lobbying group’s state leaders to be honest to Florida voters
Today, Common Cause Florida sent a letter to Rep. Neil Combee and Rep. Mike La Rosa, urging them to disclose which legislators will be attending the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and who is paying their way. ALEC is a secretive corporate lobbying group that brings state lawmakers and corporate representatives together to create and lobby for the passage of “model bills” that often benefit the corporations’ bottom line. Combee and La Rosa are ALEC’s state chairs in Florida, acting as the organization’s main representatives in the state who are often charged with raising money for ALEC and promoting the organization’s “model” bills.
“Florida voters have a right to know who is attending and paying the way for this secretive special interest conference,” said Liza McClenagan, state chair of Common Cause Florida. “Transparency and accountability are a cornerstone of American democracy. If legislators think they can go to these secret meetings funded by some of the largest corporations in the world without public notice, they are wrong. The people are watching and want to know who is paying their way.”
The letter details ALEC’s historic lack of transparency by holding conferences closed to the public and press where major pieces of legislation are created and debated. It also explains how ALEC abuses its tax status as a public charity to give its corporate donors a tax-write for its lobbying activities. Because of this, Common Cause has filed an IRS whistleblower complaint against ALEC, charging the organization with tax fraud.
To read the letter, click here.