What Is ALEC?
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a corporate lobbying group that brings together corporate lobbyists and politicians to draft and vote — as equals and behind closed doors — on “model bills” that often benefit the corporations’ bottom line. These model bills, drafted without public input, are then introduced in state legislatures across the country, usually with ALEC’s involvement concealed. ALEC and ALEC-member corporations often pay for legislators’ travel expenses to go to ALEC conferences; when ALEC or the corporations are not paying for these so-called “scholarships,” the expense is often passed on to the taxpayers. ALEC lobbies on a variety of issues, including taxes and budgets, climate change and the environment, workers’ rights and collective bargaining, healthcare, telecommunications policy, election laws, and education.
Is ALEC Violating IRS Tax Law?
Common Cause has filed a “whistleblower” complaint against ALEC with the Internal Revenue Service, including evidence that the group has violated its tax-exempt status by operating as a lobby while claiming to be a charity. ALEC’s tax exemption allows its corporate supporters to take tax deductions on the millions spent each year to support ALEC’s activities — in effect, taking advantage of a taxpayer subsidy for its lobbying.
Who Funds ALEC?
Corporations and special interest groups fund nearly all of ALEC’s operations. Some of ALEC’s largest corporate members and sponsors include Altria, Koch Industries, UPS, FedEx, Pfizer, Duke Energy, Charter Communications, Comcast, and Anheuser-Busch.
Which Corporations Have Left ALEC?
Due to controversies about ALEC’s secretive operations, controversial agenda, and public pressure from Common Cause and our allies, more than 100 major companies have left ALEC since 2011, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, McDonalds, Walmart, Amazon, Bank of America, General Motors, Visa, Sprint, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay, BP, T-Mobile, ExxonMobil, Verizon, and AT&T.