Before Annual ALEC Conference, New Report Exposes Secretive Group’s Political Influence in Louisiana
- Jay Riestenberg Deputy Communications Director Ph: o: 202-736-5741 firstname.lastname@example.org
Common Cause releases report on the national corporate lobbying group ahead of its conference in New Orleans this week
Just days before the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual meeting in New Orleans, Common Cause released a new report uncovering the recent influence of the secretive special interest lobbying group in the Louisiana legislature. ALEC is a national lobbying group that is holding its annual meeting in New Orleans from August 8th-10th. The organization 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.
“Shining a light on ALEC’s undemocratic and secretive operations helps voters know who is really calling the shots in their state legislature,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “ALEC’s history of rigging the rules against everyday Louisianans on behalf of their corporate funders is not how democracy is supposed to work.”
“For years, ALEC has misused their charity tax status to lobby legislators on behalf of its corporate and special interest donors,” Hobert Flynn continued. “This report and ALEC’s influence in Louisiana should be alarming to anyone who cares about open, transparent, and accountable government.”
The report reveals which members of the Louisiana legislature have ties to ALEC and which recent state bills can be traced back to the organization. Additionally, the report documents how ALEC abuses its public charity status with the IRS, effectively making its corporate donors eligible for tax breaks for its funding of ALEC.
“ALEC-inspired HB 727 was a thinly veiled attempt to equate the peaceful, prayerful resistance of water protectors to terrorism, and hyper-criminalize our work accordingly,” said Meg Logue, a local activist with 350 New Orleans. “Our legislators jeopardize our democracy by bending toward the priorities of corporations while undermining the peoples’ right to self-determination and justice.”
The release of the new report comes just days before ALEC holds its annual meeting in New Orleans, 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. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, White House Special Assistant in the Office of American Innovation Brooke Rollins, and Mark Janus, the lead plaintiff in the monumental Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court case, are among the conference’s expected speakers.
In addition to releasing research and pressuring corporations and legislators to cut ties with ALEC, Common Cause has challenged ALEC’s tax-status as 501(c)(3) charity, where corporations are eligible for a tax-deduction for funding ALEC’s lobbying. Common Cause filed an IRS whistleblower complaint against ALEC in 2012, charging the organization with tax fraud, and supplemental complaints in 2013, 2015, and 2016.
To view the “ALEC in Louisiana” report, click here.