Tillis, Moffitt on ALEC's Board of Directors

Take the time to read this recently acquired confidential document if you want to get a propaganda-free tutorial on the shenanigans of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

And while you're doing that, take the time to contemplate the implications of the Speaker of the NC House trying to sit in two chairs at once. It can't be done safely, and when they start to roll away from each other, which chair do you think he will choose?

When you've finished those tasks, take the time to explore this new website, which is a handy tool for tracking how the assortment of conservative "foundations" fund various pseudo-scientific bullshit-producing stink-tanks, including our very own John Locke Foundation. But keep a small trash can or other vomit receptacle handy, as you'll probably need it.

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ALEC seeks to dissolve the Union

If you're not outraged by what ALEC is up to, you should be.

The latest little plan they're pushing is to hold state conventions to amend the constitution. Slate has the details that emerged at the big ALEC conference this week.

By calling a convention of states, we can stop the federal spending and debt spree, the power grabs of the federal courts, and other misuses of federal power. The current situation is precisely what the Founders feared, and they gave us a solution we have a duty to use.

It's just a little Constitutional amending that would allow states to roll back any Federal laws or regulations they find inconvenient.

In his new book The Liberty Amendments, conservative talk show host Mark Levin argues that Article V is an "emergency cord" of sorts to restore jurisdiction to the states. To pull that cord, two-thirds of state legislatures—34 of them—would have to meet and propose amendments on the same subject. Each amendment would then have to be approved by three-quarters of the states to be ratified. And therein lies one of the big problems with the project, aside from the small issue of constitutional interpretation—only 27 state legislatures are Republican-controlled.

Think it's just a bunch of talk? There's a website in place and ready to go.

Funny ... I thought we settled all this with that recent unpleasantness in the mid-19th century.

Jeffersonian Project

is one of the things in the leaked ALEC board meeting document that BlueNC cited.

If you're wondering if the Jeffersonian project could be more vile than ALEC itself, the answer is likely yes.

The Guardian reports that [ALEC's push for "stand your ground" laws] cost the group a third of its income, along with more than 60 corporate members and almost 400 state legislators. But ALEC is making an effort to win back its money, and one of the ways it plans to do so is to set up a separate organization that is allowed to lobby while collecting anonymous contributions.

ALEC is currently organized as a charity under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code, meaning donations to the group are tax deductible and do not have to be disclosed. Charities aren’t allowed to lobby, but many state and federal officials said that’s what ALEC was really doing. Now the group is setting up a new arm, called the Jeffersonian Project, organized as a social welfare organization under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code. Such groups are allowed to lobby, and though donations are not deductible, they do not have to be disclosed, either. (That’s why they have become the vehicle of choice for secret donations in support of political candidates, which has corrupted the campaign process.)

Vile. Evil. They use the same four letters. Two of those letters also are in ALEC.

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

Chills down the spine

if they ever got enough momentum to succeed with this. They realize that pesky "federal supremacy" thing is the one thing that keeps getting in the way of their truly running roughshod over the citizenry.

And they will keep plugging at this and they'll try to find ways to fool people into supporting it.

The tea party has already demonstrated that they'll throw the nation under the bus to prove a point, or demonstrate their stupid ideology, or just to oppose Obama. Now they'll dissolve the nation too.

We need to beat them back quickly. One of these days it will be too late.

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

Major donors

On p. 33 of the cited leaked document, we learn that Tillis & Moffitt, along with Brubaker, are responsible for "identify[ing] 3 or more major individual contributors [in our] state".

On p. 34, we learn the corporate "prospects" for 2013. They included (SURPRISE!) "JWP Civitas" (#69). On p. 38, though, we see the surprising listing of JWP Civitas Institute as a lapsed membership with the curious notation, "want to change membership to Education".

p. 35 tells us who the "prodigal sons" are -- the companies that left ALEC that they're trying to win back. The good news is you can now drink Coke *OR* Pepsi without supporting ALEC.

Sadly, on p. 39, I can't read the state totals for NC (# of legislators, # of ALEC members, % of ALEC membership in legislature) -- but the reason it's hard to read is because the NC row is shaded to indicate that it's lost more than 40% of its members. We suppose that means that Tillis & Moffitt will be expected to "fix" that, and their loyalties will undoubtedly lie with ALEC, because that's who will reward them. Another observation on p. 39: some of these totals are frightening! Several red states have significant percentages of their legislators as ALEC members. South Dakota and Iowa have 100% of their legislators as ALEC members. Yes, 100%.

There's plenty more (who's funding, how they plan to recruit members, etc.). Thanks for posting the link to this most interesting document. It most certainly shows what Tillis & Moffitt are up to.

Methinks they'll choose the ALEC chair when the choice is required. Perhaps they already have.

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

I wondered about that shading

I thought it might have been redacted. Didn't notice the thing about losing members, but there have been a lot of new faces lately. Hopefully all the negative exposure surrounding ALEC will keep those numbers down.

It's shading

not redaction. There's a "key" at the top of the chart and you can faintly see numbers in the row -- but the scanner lost what contrast was present in the original (I'm guessing they were contrasting colors that got grayscaled to non-contrasting grays).

I expect that Moffitt is pressuring the tea party newbies to join ALEC. And with Tillis being ALEC's legislator of the year darling, the right-wing herd might join up.

But the way to destroy ALEC is to starve the corporate funding, and that's happening. Then it remains to be seen whether or not Pope/Koch would pick up the entire tab instead of the small share from their current "foundations".

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

Deciphered

The folks at Resist Privatization of America seem to have the figures that were unreadable in the scanned ALEC document.

Notably, my earlier reading of the key was incorrect -- the light shading was for states who had LOST more than 40% ALEC membership. The dark shading, which applied to NC (duh! couldn't read the dark shading in the key either!), was for states that had GAINED more than 40%. So NC is cranking up its ALEC membership. Let's all thank Tillis and Moffitt.

The American Legislative Exchange Council counted 54 out of 170 North Carolina lawmakers as members through June, or roughly one-third of the General Assembly. The state is one of only seven to increase membership more than 40 percent.

And if there's any question at all about ALEC driving the NCGA agenda:

The organization’s prominent role in North Carolina became clear earlier this year when lawmakers introduced dozens of bills in the legislative session that mirrored ALEC’s priorities, such as voter ID requirements and private school vouchers. A handful included language identical to the organization’s template legislation.

Tillis & Moffitt pledge allegiance to the ALEC and to the oligarchy for which it stands.

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

I thought we had gained

several ALEC acolytes in our Legislature. It may be off a bit, but the number 47 comes to mind.

Maybe you're thinking

of Romney's percentage :-D

The cited report says 54.

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

I must have been thinking of the 47 ronin

Although we can't rely on these ALEC lackies to commit seppuku when they are done selling out our government. ;/

Visa drops ALEC

After the expose by the Guardian, Visa has announced their ending their corporate sponsorship of the group.

CMD counted 50 corporations that had publicly dropped their ALEC membership, but according to internal ALEC documents published by The Guardian, ALEC estimates they've lost around 60 corporate members in the past two years, in the fallout over ALEC's role in promoting Stand Your Ground legislation, voter ID, and an array of other controversial bills. As a result of that shrinking roster of corporate members, "in the first six months of this year [ALEC] suffered a hole in its budget of more than a third of its projected income,"The Guardian reports.

Visa's departure won't help close up those budgetary gaps. In addition to supporting ALEC through its membership dues and participation in the Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development Task Force, Visa was a "Chairman" level sponsor of 2011 ALEC Annual Conference, which cost $50,000 the previous year. It also sponsored a Plenary Session at the 2011 meeting featuring FreedomWorks founder Dick Armey.

Visa is leaving ALEC just one year after Visa's Vice President of State Relations, Paul Russinoff, received ALEC's "Private Sector Member of the Year" award.

The financial industry

in particular appears to be leaving ALEC. And the big players in the financial industry have a herd mentality. Financial services industry is one of ALEC's special targets. On p. 49, the cited document states that:

Many of these [Financial Services] companies failed to renew at ALEC due to controversy. Removing financial services may also threaten the funding of the CIED [Commerce, Insurance & Economic Development] task force. Finally, these groups are a threat to leave if we have another financial recession.

Interestingly, Visa is listed as a (then) current member and a "target" member.

Good for Visa. Starve the beast.

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

The ship may not be sinking,

but it's definitely listing to one side: