NC Republicans marching to the ALEC drummer

Unfortunately, there are no cliffs handy for them to march off:

Conservatives are using the April 15 deadline to celebrate tax changes that North Carolina lawmakers argue will keep more money in family wallets and encourage job creation.

Gov. Pat McCrory and key legislators plan to join right-leaning policy groups Tuesday for a tax-filing day news conference in Raleigh. They plan to highlight a new annual report from the American Legislative Exchange Council to promote the tax overhaul law.

And now would be a really good time for some of our larger news outlets to do an in-depth evaluation of how ALEC operates, including how corporations take a direct hand in the crafting of legislation that is subsequently and stealthily inserted into our "public" policy system. In the absence of that explanation to the people, reporting on state government is woefully incomplete.

Comments

Larger news outlets?

Presumably, you're talking about MSNBC. And, Rachel Maddow in particular. The intrepid reporters at the N&O would surely lack the balls to rattle that cage. Despite being within arms reach of shaking it.

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"Let's not be too rough on our own ignorance; it's what makes America great!" - Frank Zappa (6/29/1988)

You're probably right

Plus, many state-level pundits and advisors are afflicted with the same misguided principle: that only the elected officials or candidates should be focused on, while ignoring the strings that make them dance around on the stage. Which is both sad and frustrating.

They pledge allegiance

to the corporations of the American Legislative Exchange Council, and to the plutocracy for which it stands, one Nation under corporate control, quite divisible, with liberty and justice for the rich.

And actually, they do -- ALEC leaders have to pledge allegiance.

Maddow has reported on ALEC multiple times. We need our larger outlets in NC to expose our NC legislators and their misguided allegiance. They also ought to do a distilled study of the numbers of the McCrony-Tilisberger-ALEC tax "reform" a la NC Policy Watch.

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

Frankly, I'm still waiting

for Ned Barnett and his Clark Kent's at the N&O to find their big-boy-pants and expose Art Pope for the 21st century Robber Baron he truly is. Especially in light of the murmmering in the national press about his brothers from another rich daddy, the Koch's. I'm not holding my breath, though.

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"Let's not be too rough on our own ignorance; it's what makes America great!" - Frank Zappa (6/29/1988)

You're right, it won't happen

The New Yorker did the story that the N&O should have done.

Not only are we not holding our breath, we would bet heavily against the N&O mustering enough courage to do even a tepid pretend expose of Pope Art I.

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

They sure did

and there's plenty more material at http://www.artpopeexposed.com/blog. It's enough to make your skin crawl.

The N&O is up the street and around the corner from all the action. It operates out of the state capitol fer chrissakes! And, it's the only game in town, to boot. Why they aren't all Woodward and Bernstein over Pope's political machine, defies logic.

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"Let's not be too rough on our own ignorance; it's what makes America great!" - Frank Zappa (6/29/1988)

Politics

often defies logic.

The N&O can be lazy by accepting content from Pope's various mouthpiece groups (JLF, Civitas, etc.). They tend to rely on that garbage and present it as legitimate balanced opinion.

Then, as Indyweek points out, N&O publisher Orage Quarles serves on one of the Pope-web foundation boards.

The N&O ain't gonna expose Art.

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

What is the REAL Problem

Just so we are clear, what is the core issue? Does ALEC have some special right/authority/privilege/capability to petition members of the General Assembly to pass certain legislation? Do they a special way of pushing legislation that no one else has? I don't see any barrier preventing any other organization from pitching legislation. Anyone can write a bill and try to get it passed in the GA. Fourth graders do it every year as part of their civics curriculum. Nothing special, that's how the state mineral is now official Gold.

I realize that ALEC is largely backed by well-money corporate interests. I don't think that is your real objection. Countless other organizations spanning the political spectrum get lots of money from entities like corporations, unions, and non-profits too. They get to throw their weight around just like anyone else.

You real issue is that North Carolina voters have sent a General Assembly that is generally receptive to policies proposed by ALEC and similar free market and conservative organizations, and is not very receptive to proposals made progressive-oriented organizations. I think that's the real issue and this blog doesn't further the conversation by scapegoating.

We aren't going to be successful if we resort entirely to caricature and ad hominem. There is a place for that sort of stuff, but it only takes you so far. If you want to throw them out of office, then let's call it like it is. Otherwise, 10 years from now when progressives are in control and are getting pitched with ideas from AFL-CIO and Sierra Club, republicans will be able to copy and paste this post straight into their opposition speeches.

ALEC - the Shadow Legislature

You might want to get better informed about ALEC.

It specially says it's not a lobbying group, but a "non-partisan" organization. Elected legislators (their state governments actually) pay for membership in the organization.

The group conducts meetings behind closed doors to draft model legislation based on what the corporate members of ALEC want.

You're painting a picture of ALEC as something akin to traditional lobbying. It isn't.

As a non-profit organization, it doesn't have to report activities under the campaign funding laws of many states. State representatives that are members of the group meet behind closed doors, drafting legislation for their own state and conducting official business, without the open meeting laws that would govern them if they were doing the same work in their own statehouse.

The problem isn't just the fact that ALEC's laws are getting passed, it's the fact that the group operates as a kind of "shadow legislature" with no accountability to the public.

And we weren't kidding about the pledge

Leadership positions in the organization require that the legislator "put the interests of the organization first" [see p. 20] (yes, these would be the legislators who took an oath to serve the people).

Perhaps that's why Thom Tillis, ALEC Legislator of the Year, left his speaker's chair during while the NCGA was in session to attend an ALEC meeting.

And we will assert that at least part of the problem IS in fact that ALEC's laws are getting passed. They erode our democracy and tilt the playing field to help a select few and hurt (and sometimes kill; see "Stand Your Ground") other people.

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

ALEC does not 'push'

ALEC does not 'push' legislation, ALEC directs legislation.

When did the right start believing that business interests should be given every single thing they want?
When did greed supersede the rights of humanity?
When there is a conflict between making a profit and maintaining decent living conditions, whose side do you come down on?
In 1960, the highest corp tax rate was about 54%. In 1970, it was 49.2%. In 2000, it was 35%. Since when is 3% too much??
If corporations are people, my friend, they, too, have an obligation to the society is which they live. The free market is never really free.