BILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company…

Privatizing America one statehouse at a time.

JOHN NICHOLS: Through ALEC, you can change the whole country without ever going to Washington, without ever having to go through a congressional hearing, without ever having to lobby on Capitol Hill, without ever having to talk to a president.

BILL MOYERS: The United States of ALEC.

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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. What if you were a corporation that stood to make a bundle if oil from the Canadian tar sands was imported by the United States?

And what if you thought federal laws to protect the environment were going to stop that oil-importing from happening?

You’d set your sights on Washington, spread some money around inside the beltway, hire big gun lobbyists to wine and dine the politicians, and stroke the regulators to let the “free market” work, right? Right. You would do all that, but you wouldn’t stop there.

You’d also take your battle to the states, because if you can get laws that serve your interest in one state capitol after another, it might not matter much what Washington has to say about it. Especially in a time like this when our national government is polarized, paralyzed, and dysfunctional and an obstinate minority is determined to keep it that way.

Our 50 state capitols have long been the place where things happen. The taxes you pay, the roads you drive on, the quality of the air you breathe, and the water you drink; your right to privacy and your right to vote – these all bear the imprint of laws passed by the legislature in your home state.

This report is about how some of those laws get enacted thanks to an organization called ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a consortium of corporations and state legislators with so much muscle they’re changing the country one law at a time, one state at a time.

In the case of those Canadian tar sands, ALEC reportedly turned to an oil-industry lobby for a bill that makes it hard for the states to slow the flow of Canadian crude into this country, no matter the environmental consequences.

This is how ALEC has worked for years, pushing changes state by state that could never have been achieved if they had been put to the test of open and broad popular support. ALEC has been so successful working its will behind closed doors in secret, that most Americans had never even heard of it until recently. ALEC had never even been subjected to scrutiny on national television until the documentary report we broadcast last fall. That was a collaboration between Okapi Productions and the Schumann Media Center that I head. Schumann supports independent journalists and public watchdog groups like the Center for Media and Democracy and Common Cause. Their investigators have been tracking the intersection between money and politics and finding ALEC squarely in the middle of it all across the country. There have been some new developments since our broadcast. So here’s that report, expanded and updated, on “The United States of ALEC.”

PAUL WEYRICH: They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. […] As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.

ARIZONA DEM. REP. STEVE FARLEY: I’ve often told people that I’ve talked to out on the campaign trail when they say “state what?” when I say I’m running for the state legislature. I tell them that the decisions that are made here in the legislature are often more important for your everyday life than the decisions the president makes.

JOHN NICHOLS: If you really want to influence the politics of this country, you don’t just give money to presidential campaigns, you don’t just give money to congressional campaign committees. The smart players put their money in states.

FORMER PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: ALEC has forged a unique partnership between state legislators and leaders from the corporate and business community. This partnership offers businessmen the extraordinary opportunity to apply their talents to solve our nation’s problems and build on our opportunities.

LISA GRAVES: I was stunned at the notion that politicians and corporate representatives, corporate lobbyists, were actually voting behind closed doors on these changes to the law before they were introduced in statehouses across the country.

HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: ALEC has been, I think, a wonderful organization. Not only does it bring like-minded legislators together, but the private sector engagement in partnership in ALEC is really what I think makes it the organization that it is.

BOB EDGAR: Corporate influence is tainting the legislative process, particularly out across the states. And average Americans are paying the price.

BILL MOYERS: The American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC. It’s headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. But it operates in every capitol in the country. And its efforts produce some hundreds of new state laws each year.

JOHN NICHOLS: Well, I cover politics for a living. So, I've known about ALEC for a long time. I was always conscious of ALEC, but to be honest, not that excited about it.

MARY BOTTARI: I just thought it was, you know, folks got together and discussed their policy issues. That’s all I knew and that’s not unusual. And that’s how they portray themselves today. But now with this project we’ve learned all sorts of things that we didn’t know.

BILL MOYERS: In 2011, an investigation began cloak-and-dagger style at the nonprofit Center for Media and Democracy.

LISA GRAVES: In the spring I got a call from a person who said that all of the ALEC bills were available and was I interested in looking at them. And I said I was.

BILL MOYERS: In early April, Lisa Graves, the head of the center, received a document drop from an ALEC insider.

LISA GRAVES: These are the bills that were provided by the whistleblower. That’s just the index.

BILL MOYERS: They would come to tell a story, she says, of how a seemingly innocuous nonprofit was actually fronting for some of the world’s most powerful corporations. ALEC had been changing the country by changing its laws – one state at a time.

LISA GRAVES: I remember the day well. It was first thing in the morning and I looked at the bills, and I was astonished. Until I saw the bills and the depth and breadth and duration, I did not have a full understanding of their reach and their impact.

BILL MOYERS: Graves was familiar with some of the bills because versions of them had already become law in many states. But she’d had no idea ALEC was behind them.

LISA GRAVES: Bills to change the law to make it harder for American citizens to vote, those were ALEC bills. Bills to dramatically change the rights of Americans who were killed or injured by corporations, those were ALEC bills. Bills to make it harder for unions to do their work were ALEC bills. Bills to basically block climate change agreements, those were ALEC bills.

BILL MOYERS: The Center for Media and Democracy is a small, nonprofit, investigative reporting group. Researchers here knew the documents they’d gotten had enormous implications. ALEC had been around for nearly four decades, but no one on the outside was even certain exactly who belonged to it. Graves and her team began to plow through ALEC documents, as well as public sources, to compile a list of the organizations and people who were or had been ALEC members. They found: hundreds of corporations, from Coca-Cola and Koch Industries to ExxonMobil, Pfizer, and Walmart; dozens of right-wing think tanks and foundations; two dozen corporate law and lobbying firms; and some thousand state legislators – a few of them Democrats, the majority of them Republican.

LISA GRAVES: After I spent some time really looking through the bills, I went to dinner with my colleague here, Mary Bottari, and her husband, John Nichols.

MARY BOTTARI: Lisa called us and said, “I have some stuff. I don’t know how much stuff I have, but I have some stuff. I think this is going to be a big story.”

JOHN NICHOLS: This was an incredible thing. You know, ALEC, this organization that's usually been, you know, very much behind the scenes, sort of the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain.

BILL MOYERS: The Center was about to go on a mission.

LISA GRAVES: I was determined to really break through the story of ALEC and how its operations actually work. I was also determined that this not be like a Wikileaks situation where there was no context and no real storytelling about them.

BILL MOYERS: But telling that story wouldn’t be easy. ALEC does its most important business behind closed doors. And just understanding all of the bills was a task in itself.

MARY BOTTARI: And we decided to call in the troops.

BILL MOYERS: University of Wisconsin professor Joel Rogers has written widely on public policy. He was enlisted to examine the bills affecting working people.

JOEL ROGERS: So one big thing that ALEC was excited about were these ‘living wage’ laws. Have you heard of that, that were passing around cities? And they would – they had a bill where they said, the states should preempt that. They should use their power to forbid that. So it’s not – it’s not cuddly, you know, let’s have some neighborhood grass roots lively democracy.

BILL MOYERS: For health care issues, they called in a former insurance company executive turned industry watchdog and whistleblower, Wendell Potter.

WENDELL POTTER: And even though I had known of the organization for a long time, I was astonished. Just about everything that I knew that the health insurance industry wanted out of any state lawmaker was included in that package of bills.

BILL MOYERS: Potter found among the ALEC documents a resolution to urge congress to privatize Medicare, a bill that would limit the amount of money a plaintiff could win in a medical malpractice suit, and another that would thwart any effort by the federal government to impose a health insurance mandate.

MARY BOTTARI: Also, in the ALEC archive there’s a giant stack of school choice bills and they’re fat bills, too. And it’s this little slice of school choice, and that little slice of school vouchers, and it’s basically a long-term agenda of how to privatize public education. And this was not our issue area. So I started asking friends, “Who can I talk to about school choice and school vouchers?” And everybody pointed to Julie.

BILL MOYERS: Julie Underwood, attorney and professor of education at the University of Wisconsin.

JULIE UNDERWOOD: I've done education policy for a long time, and many times said people are trying to defund and dismantle public education, but I'd never put all of these forces together, until I saw all of those documents. The kind of changes that ALEC is trying to impose on public education isn't really just mild reform, it's actually creating a drastically different kind of educational system than what we have now.

BILL MOYERS: ALEC describes itself as a non-partisan partnership of state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public, devoted to limited government, free enterprise, and Jeffersonian principles. Founded close to 40 years ago, it produces what it calls “model legislation” –proposed laws that its legislative members introduce into statehouses throughout the country as their own. ALEC says close to a thousand bills, based at least in part on its models, are introduced each year. And an average of 200 pass.

JOHN NICHOLS: ALEC doesn't run candidates. ALEC doesn't train candidates. ALEC doesn't really play politics, you know, on Election Day. ALEC plays the day after the election. They look at who got elected and they say, "You should join ALEC."

BILL MOYERS: ALEC’s members and representatives either refused or didn’t respond to interview requests for this story. But it’s not hard to get the group’s philosophical point of view. ALEC’s own videos help to do that.

STEPHEN MOORE: If you want to get more revenues out of rich people, the enduring lesson of the last 50 years is you cut their tax rates, you don’t raise them, and by the way, that’s an important lesson for you all as state legislators.

BOB WILLIAMS: This is really a great time to re-size government and really hold the feet to the fire.

LEONARD GILROY: Actually it’s a pleasure to be able to stand here today and actually say there are cities that very closely resemble what we envisioned many decades ago where you have pretty much the private sector running almost entirely everything in the city.

FORMER WISCONSIN DEM. REP. MARK POCAN: ALEC is a corporate dating service for lonely legislators and corporate special interests that eventually the relationship culminates with some special interest legislation and hopefully that lives happily ever after as the ALEC model. Unfortunately what’s excluded from that equation is the public.

BILL MOYERS: Democrat Mark Pocan, now a member of the U.S. Congress, was until recently a Wisconsin State Representative. He is one of ALEC’s loudest critics.

FORMER WISCONSIN DEM. REP. MARK POCAN: This is part of a national conservative movement […] that's involved in all 50 states, that introduces the same cookie cutter legislation state by state on behalf of their corporate paid members.

BILL MOYERS: By one count, nearly a third of Wisconsin’s lawmakers are ALEC members.

FORMER WISCONSIN DEM. REP. MARK POCAN: When you look around especially on the Republican side of the aisle, a lot of members of ALEC. Front row: ALEC. When you start going down to the chair of finance and some of the other members are all ALEC members, in fact the ALEC co-chair for the state – row by row you can point out people who have been members of ALEC over the years. There's two main categories they have. One is how to reduce the size of government. And the other half of it is this model legislation that's in the corporate good. In other words, there's a profit-driven legislation. How can you open up a new market? How can you privatize something that can open up a market for a company? And between those two divisions you are kind of getting to the same end goal, which is really kind of ultimate privatization of everything.

BILL MOYERS: Mark Pocan is something of an expert on ALEC – in fact, to learn as much about it as he could, he became a member.

FORMER WISCONSIN DEM. REP. MARK POCAN: What I realized is if you join ALEC for a mere hundred dollars as a legislator you have the full access like any corporate member.

BILL MOYERS: Those corporate members pay up to 25 thousand dollars for that privilege. For a first-hand look at how corporations interact with ALEC legislators, Pocan took himself to an ALEC conference.

FORMER WISCONSIN DEM. REP. MARK POCAN’S VIDEO BLOG: Hi, I’m state representative Mark Pocan and welcome to my video blog. I’m outside the Marriott on Canal Street in New Orleans at the ALEC convention, the American Legislative Exchange Council.

FORMER WISCONSIN DEM. REP. MARK POCAN: That was where you watch the interaction of a room full of lobbyists— you know, free drinks, free cigars, wining, dining, many people just came from a dinner that was sponsored by some special interests, coming to a party that’s sponsored by special interests, so they can continue to talk about special interests.

LISA GRAVES: This is from the New Orleans convention. This includes a number of seminars that they held for legislators, including one called “Warming up to Climate Change: The Many Benefits of Increased Atmospheric CO2.”

BILL MOYERS: That 2011 ALEC conference, lo and behold, was sponsored by BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Shell, among others. Another event featured guns.

LISA GRAVES: This is the NRA-sponsored shooting event. For legislators and for lobbyists. Free.

BILL MOYERS: There was even one offering free cigars.

LISA GRAVES: Sponsored by Reynolds American, which is one of the biggest tobacco companies in the world, and the Cigar Association of America.

BILL MOYERS: Despite it all, ALEC says it’s not engaged in a lobbying effort. In fact, ALEC operates not as a lobby group, but as a nonprofit… a charity. In its filing with the IRS, ALEC says its mission is “education.” Which means it pays no taxes, and its corporate members get a tax write-off. Its legislators get a lot too.

FORMER WISCONSIN DEM. REP. MARK POCAN: In Wisconsin, I can't take anything of value from a lobbyist. I can't take a cup of coffee from a lobbyist. At ALEC, it's just the opposite. You know, you get there and you're being wined and dined by corporate interests, I can go down there, and be wined and dined for days in order to hear about their special legislation. I mean, the head of Shell Oil flew in on his private jet to come to this conference. The head of one the largest utility companies in the country was there on a panel. Utility company in 13 states – and here he is presenting to legislators. I mean, they clearly brought in some of the biggest corporate names in “special interestdom” and had that meeting with legislators because a lot of business transpires at these events.

BILL MOYERS: The most important business takes place behind closed doors. Researcher Nick Surgey, of the watchdog group Common Cause, would delve deep into internal ALEC documents to figure out what goes on inside ALEC’S Task Forces. There are currently eight of them, with a corporate take on every important issue in American life, from health and safety to the environment and taxation.

NICK SURGEY: They have corporate members and legislators who are members of these Task Forces. Corporations can pay to be members of a Task Force or multiple Task Forces depending on what interests they have and what legislation they want to promote.

BILL MOYERS: Surgey, who now works for the Center for Media and Democracy, has in some cases been able to determine which corporations sit on which task forces, producing which model bills.

NICK SURGEY: For example, there is a civil justice task force that mainly concerns access to the courts.

BILL MOYERS: In 2011, that Task Force included lobbyists from companies that could face serious legal penalties if their products are found to harm, or to kill. They included tobacco giant Altria and drug makers Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline. There’s another Task Force with a bill designed to exempt energy companies from disclosing some of the chemicals they inject underground. That Task Force has included companies that manufacture or inject plenty of those chemicals: Koch Industries, Chevron, BP, and the company that sponsored the bill at ALEC, ExxonMobil. Five states have introduced or passed versions of that ALEC bill. ALEC says “elected legislators,” not corporations, “fully control the model legislation process.” But Nick Surgey read ALEC’s operating procedures and found a different story.

NICK SURGEY: If the corporations do not vote for a model bill, it does not become an ALEC model. We've seen an example in the Telecommunications Task Force, where the legislators voted 17 to 1 to approve a telecoms bill, they – clearly the will of the legislators was for it to become an ALEC model. However the corporations voted and tied 8-8, which meant that it was killed, it didn't become an ALEC model.

LISA GRAVES: And I can understand why a corporate lobbyist wants to have an equal say to an elected representative. Who wouldn't? But the fact is that I have been a lobbyist before. It has never been the case that any – any legislator has said to me, "Here's the plan. You get an equal say to me and if you don't, if you don't agree, the bill doesn't go forward."

JERRY WATSON: There is a model bill for you to review if you might be interested in introducing such a measure.

BILL MOYERS: This is Jerry Watson, Senior Legal Counsel for the American Bail Coalition, speaking at an ALEC meeting in 2007.

JERRY WATSON: Now if you don't like the precise language of these suggested documents, can they be tweaked by your legislative counsel? Well absolutely. And will we work with them on that and work with you and your staff on that? Absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: This video provides a rare look at a private sector representative pitching a bill to ALEC’s legislative members.

JERRY WATSON: But I’m not so crazy so as not to know that you've already figured out that if I can talk you into doing this bill, my clients are going to make some money on the bond premiums. But if we can help you save crime victims in your legislative district and generate positive revenue for your state, and help solve your prison-overcrowding problem, you don't mind me making a dollar.

BOB EDGAR: These guys who are paying to be part of this organization, are not there just to be nice, they are there to get something out of it.

BILL MOYERS: The late Bob Edgar was the president of Common Cause until early this year. We interviewed him in 2012.

BOB EDGAR: Normally lobbyists have to register, normally corporations have to disclose their lobbying activity. But here under the guise of a nonprofit, these corporate lawyers and corporate officials are sitting side by side with mostly conservative state legislators. They’re shaping these bills.

FORMER WISCONSIN DEM. REP. MARK POCAN: When I went down to New Orleans, to the ALEC convention last August, there was a proposal to provide special needs scholarships. And lo and behold, all of the sudden I come back to Wisconsin and what gets introduced? Get ready, I know you’re going to have a shocked look on your face: a bill to do just that.

BILL MOYERS: That special needs bill was sponsored by 26 ALEC members in the Wisconsin legislature. But the real sponsor was ALEC. Mark Pocan knew because the bill bore a striking resemblance to ALEC’S model. Have a look.

FORMER WISCONSIN DEM. REP. MARK POCAN: If the average person knew that a bill like this came from some group like ALEC, you'll look at the bill very differently and you might look at that legislator a little differently about why they introduced it.

FORMER WISCONSIN DEM. REP. MARK POCAN ON LEGISLATURE FLOOR: This is not about education, this is not about helping kids with special needs, this is about privatization, this is about corporate profits, and this is about dismantling public education.

BILL MOYERS: The bill passed in the Wisconsin House but failed to make it through the Senate. However, in its 2012 “Education Report Card,” ALEC boasted that similar bills have become law in Oklahoma, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Ohio. And it’s not just special needs education: ALEC’s education agenda includes online schooling as well.

JULIE UNDERWOOD: There's a model ALEC bill called the “Virtual Public Schools Act,” which actually creates cyber academies…

MAN FROM ‘CONNECTIONS ACADEMY’ COMMERCIAL: When kids enroll in Connections Academy…

JULIE UNDERWOOD …Where children receive all of their instruction in front of a computer. They don't go to school, they don't interact with adults, they don't interact with other children. All of their instruction is received online.

TENNESSEE REPUB. SEN. DOLORES GRESHAM: Thank you Mr. Speaker. House Bill 1030 has to do with the establishment of virtual public schools.

BILL MOYERS: In 2011, an online schooling bill based on the ALEC model turned up in another state where ALEC has a powerful influence: Tennessee. It was introduced in both the State Senate and House by ALEC members. Like the special needs bill in Wisconsin, this one too had its opponents.

TENNESSEE DEM. REP. MIKE STEWART: We have never opened up our state to virtual schools broadly, and that’s why we have an army of lobbyists outside, many of you may have talked to them, trying right now to pass this virtual schools act. And the concern I have is that whether you like them or don’t like them, the fact is that virtual schools involve a dramatic transfer of sizable amounts of money to private sector for-profit companies.

BILL MOYERS: And there was something else that Julie Underwood found dramatic about ALEC’S model online education bill. In 2004, ALEC had credited two of the nation’s largest for-profit, online education corporations, Connections Academy and K-12 Inc., with helping to craft the “Virtual Schools Act.”

JULIE UNDERWOOD: You can actually follow the line where you see a corporate interest and this model piece of legislation that then was proposed pretty much in whole in Tennessee.

BILL MOYERS: K-12 then lobbied for the bill – and began to benefit almost immediately after it was passed in Tennessee.

JULIE UNDERWOOD: Lo and behold they get a no-bid contract to provide these services in Tennessee. And so it's not even a leap of faith or imagination. You can see the steps where you see the corporations creating a piece of model legislation, lobbying for it, being successful, and then having that accrue to their bottom line. What's the purpose of privatizing education in the United States? Because there are some things in the United States like courts, legislatures, public education, that really need to remain public. I mean that's the heart of what we are as a democracy, and what ALEC seems to be doing is taking public education and legislation and privatizing them.

LORI ROMAN: Individual liberty, free enterprise, limited government: whether you are a state legislator …

BILL MOYERS: The philosophy of privatization goes way back. It came to ALEC by way of conservative economist Milton Friedman.

LORI ROMAN: Every decision you have made on one of these issues has been influenced by Dr. Friedman's work, whether at that very moment you were realizing it or not. And it is my greatest honor to introduce you to Dr. Milton Friedman.

DR. MILTON FRIEDMAN: The real problem is how do we get to a system in which parents control the education of their children. Of course the ideal way would be to abolish the public school system and eliminate all the taxes that pay for it.

BILL MOYERS: But ALEC was spawned, in 1973, in part as the brainchild of a very different conservative icon.

PAUL WEYRICH: We are talking about Christianizing America.

BILL MOYERS: The noted activist of the religious right: Paul Weyrich.

PAUL WEYRICH: We are talking about simply spreading the gospel in a political context.

CHIP BERLET: Paul Weyrich was the key strategist of the New Right and the right-wing backlash that began really strongly with the election of Ronald Reagan as president.

BILL MOYERS: Archivist Chip Berlet studies the right-wing movement.

CHIP BERLET: He was a Christian conservative who was also a political strategist and really wanted to roll back the role of government in the society and cut back taxes, cut back social security, cut back all of the social welfare programs that the Roosevelt administration had established.

PAUL WEYRICH: They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by…

BILL MOYERS: Weyrich recognized that too much democracy could endanger his movement.

PAUL WEYRICH: As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections, quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.

BILL MOYERS: Another of his contributions was the recognition that the movement would never succeed if it only focused on Washington.

JOEL ROGERS: He was not interested in the next cycle. He was not, certainly not interested in the next candidate, which is what the left or the liberals have always been obsessed by. You know, “Let’s just get Obama in or let’s do this or that and we’ll be saved.” No, it was always about building an infrastructure, building a real machine, especially at the state and local level.

PAUL WEYRICH: We have been far too presidentially focused, and far less focused on state and local conservatism, which is where it ought to begin.

CHIP BERLET: People say: “Well how do you know what they think?” It’s because they tell you!

BILL MOYERS: Berlet has collected ALEC documents going back several decades. Among them is a 1979 ALEC fundraising letter showing how quickly ALEC moved into the realm of practical politics. Its author: Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch.

CHIP BERLET: “I'm totally convinced that if you and I are to regain control of our schools our homes our businesses and our government it must be through a concerted effort on the state and local level, that is why I joined the American Legislative Exchange Council.”

As time goes on, ALEC draws more and more interest from corporate funders who begin to see it as a way to get their pet projects brought down to the state level. And so somewhere between around 1974 and 1980 you see ALEC transform into a very powerful organization with scores of corporations involved in it, putting out sample state policy legislation packets on many different issues. This is a list and it says some of our corporation and foundation donors, it's tiny type and it fills a lot of the page: the All State Foundation, the American Petroleum Institute, Chevron, Exxon, the Illinois Manufacturers Association, Gulf Oil, Iowa Power and Light. It's quite a list.

BILL MOYERS: Anti-government sentiment, Christian activist certainty, power both political and corporate… it was a potent mix that helped propel ALEC’S success. An early ‘80s annual report, for example, boasted that: “literally every state has been influenced by the work of ALEC … scores of ALEC’s model bills have been enacted into law throughout the country.”

FORMER PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN [1990]: The critical questions of our day will be decided by state legislators, how our children are educated, how we’re protected from crime. […] ALEC has forged a unique partnership between state legislators and leaders from the corporate and business community.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH [1990]: I value our partnership, our dynamic partnership, and look forward to working with you in the years ahead.

BILL MOYERS: ALEC’S 1995 report got specific: 978 bills introduced. 231 passed. Over half the states passed ALEC laws that would lengthen prison sentences. Meanwhile, bills to foster the rise of for-profit prisons were introduced in seven states. Eight states enacted bills creating medical savings accounts, which would shift costs from insurance companies to policy holders. So-called “Civil Justice” bills – which would limit the amount corporations pay if their products kill or injure someone, were “introduced or enacted more than 20 times.” ALEC’s head at the time boasted, “with our success rate at more than 20 percent, I would say that ALEC is a good investment. Nowhere else can you get a return that high." And as ALEC grew more influential, it became a home not just for corporations and conservative politicians, but for their fellow travelers, the billionaire bankrollers of the American right.

DAVID KOCH: Five years ago, my brother Charles and I provided the funds to start the Americans for Prosperity. And it’s beyond my wildest dreams how AFP has grown into this enormous organization.

JOHN NICHOLS: The Koch brothers: David and Charles Koch, two of the wealthiest men in America, two of the wealthiest men in the world, are incredibly active political players. They like to form organizations and help them to grow and to put ideas into the mix as the great funders of the structures of conservative and, frankly, pro-corporate politics. And they were very early funders of and active players with ALEC.

BILL MOYERS: David and Charles Koch, the billionaire businessmen behind a vast industrial empire, are also political activists with an agenda. Their companies and foundations have been ALEC members and funders for years.

JOHN NICHOLS: The Koch brothers get that if you really want to influence the politics of this country, you don't just give money to presidential campaigns. You don't just give money to congressional campaign committees. The smart ones, the smart players, put their money in the states, because it's state government that funds education, social services. And it taxes. And so if you want to play big-time politics, you play in 50 state capitols. And so through ALEC, you can change the whole country without ever going to Washington, without ever having to go through a congressional hearing, without ever having to lobby on Capitol Hill, without ever having to talk to a president.

BILL MOYERS: If anyone demonstrates the success of the Koch brothers and ALEC at the state level, it’s Scott Walker. Wisconsin’s governor is almost a household name today. The whole nation watched a grateful walker survive a bitter recall election fight in June of 2012.

WISCONSIN GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER: I want to thank God for his abundant grace.

BILL MOYERS: But before he hit the national scene, Walker spent close to a decade in the Wisconsin Legislature – where he became a member of ALEC.

JOHN NICHOLS: And in 2010 he ran not presenting himself as an ALEC alumni or as an ally of big corporations or big business people outside the state. He ran a very down-home campaign.

WISCONSIN GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER [Campaign Ad]: This is my lunch. I pack a brown bag each day so I can save some money to spend on, you know, the more important things in life, like sending my kids to college.

BILL MOYERS: John Nichols says that despite the folksy image, in the years leading up to Walker’s 2010 campaign, he had become a master political fundraiser.

JOHN NICHOLS: And he began to really forge incredibly close ties with a lot of corporate interests that he had first been introduced to in ALEC, individuals and groups like the Koch brothers. The Koch brothers were among the two or three largest contributors to Scott Walker's campaign for governor of Wisconsin.

WOMAN AT GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER’S SWEARING-IN CEREMONY: Please raise your right hand and repeat after me…

BILL MOYERS: The new governor moved quickly with a raft of ALEC-inspired bills. They included a law that made it easier to carry concealed weapons. There was a resolution opposing the mandated purchase of health insurance. And of course there was a law limiting corporate liability. The Wisconsin Legislature passed a so-called tort reform measure that included parts of eight different ALEC models. ALEC was elated, praising Walker and the legislature in a press release for their – quote – “immediate attention to reforming the state’s legal system.” But Scott Walker was also shooting for another big ALEC prize.

WISCONSIN GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER: Now some have questioned why we have to reform collective bargaining.

BILL MOYERS: Taking away workers’ collective bargaining rights: that had long been an ALEC goal. A candid video caught him talking about it with one of his financial backers, a billionaire businesswoman, Diane Hendricks.

WISCONSIN GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER: We’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill. The first step is we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions. ‘Cause you just divide and conquer.

BILL MOYERS: Despite an extraordinary public outcry, and after a brief but intense political struggle, Walker’s anti-collective bargaining measures became state law.

JOHN NICHOLS: It was ALEC's ideas, ALEC's values, that permeated the bill and un-did almost 50 years, more than 50 years, of collective bargaining law in Wisconsin.

BILL MOYERS: But again, remember this isn’t just about one state. It’s about every state. Take Arizona: practically an ALEC subsidiary. One report last year found that 49 of Arizona’s 90 legislators were members. And two-thirds of the Republican leadership were on ALEC Task Forces. The governor, Jan Brewer, was an ALEC member too.

ARIZONA DEM. REP. STEVE FARLEY: All of us here are very familiar with ALEC and the influence that ALEC has with many of the members here.

BILL MOYERS: ALEC’s domination of Arizona proved too much for State Representative Steve Farley.

ARIZONA DEM. REP. STEVE FARLEY: I just want to emphasize: it’s fine for corporations to be involved in the process. Corporations have the right to present their arguments, but they don’t have the right to do it secretly. They don’t have the right to lobby people and not register as lobbyists. They don’t have the right to take people away on trips, convince them of it, send them back here, and then nobody’s seen what’s really gone on and how that legislator’s gotten that idea and where is it coming from.

BILL MOYERS: Last year, Farley introduced a bill to force legislators to disclose their ALEC ties – just as the law already requires them to do with any lobbyist.

ARIZONA DEM. REP. STEVE FARLEY: All I’m asking in the ALEC Accountability Act is to make sure that all of those expenses are reported as if they are lobbying expenses and all those gifts that legislators received are reported as if they’re receiving the gifts from lobbyists, so the public can find out and make up their own minds about who is influencing what.

BILL MOYERS: Farley’s bill went nowhere. For most of its existence, ALEC stayed out of the national news. That changed in March 2012, when a gunshot sounded in the Florida night.

RACHEL MADDOW: Trayvon Martin, unarmed but for a bag of candy and iced tea that he was carrying…

BILL MOYERS: You’ll recall that the shooter in Trayvon Martin’s death was protected at first by Florida’s so-called “Stand Your Ground” law. “Stand Your Ground” was the work of the National Rifle Association. There’s its lobbyist standing right beside Governor Jeb Bush when he signed it into law in 2005. Although ALEC didn’t originate the Florida law, it seized on it for the “Stand Your Ground” model it would circulate in other states. Twenty-four of them have passed a version of it.

RASHAD ROBINSON: How did this law not only get in place in Florida, but around the country? And all the fingers kept pointing back to ALEC.

BILL MOYERS: When civil rights and grassroots groups learned about ALEC’s connection to Stand Your Ground laws, they were outraged.

RASHAD ROBINSON: ALEC doesn’t do its work alone, they do it with some of the biggest corporate brands in America.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Tell us what you know about what the impact has been of the Trayvon Martin case in terms of funding this organization which has been pushing these “Stand Your Ground” laws.

LISA GRAVES: This is a group that has lost funders in the last few weeks as people have learned about ALEC’s role in promoting “Stand Your Ground” laws.

BILL MOYERS: Before long, corporations were pulling out of ALEC, including Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, McDonald’s, Mars, Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson. Caught in the glare of the national spotlight, ALEC tried to change the subject.

KAITLYN BUSS: You know, I think the entire debate needs to be reframed, and really what ALEC is, is a bipartisan association of state legislators. We have, you know, legislators of all political stripes coming together to talk about the most critical issues facing the states […] and trying to come up with the best solutions to face some of the problems that we’re having.

FOX NEWS ANCHOR MEGYN KELLY: Alright, so your point is it’s not a partisan organization.

BILL MOYERS: But the floodgates had opened. At least 40 corporations have fled ALEC, including many additional big names. Still, many companies have stayed in, and ALEC continues to strengthen ties to conservative groups. In 2012, it held a high-level, closed-door meeting with congressional conservatives in Washington to better coordinate policy goals.

JOHN NICHOLS: Here’s the interesting thing. This story isn't done. This is an ongoing fight in America, and it really gets us to a question of: how do you counter so much organized power, organized money, in our politics?

BILL MOYERS: Last year, Common Cause filed a complaint about ALEC with the Internal Revenue Service.

BOB EDGAR: We think there is tax fraud involved.

BILL MOYERS: The group is challenging ALEC’s tax-free status, claiming that ALEC “is a corporate lobbying group masquerading as a public charity.” And this year, Arizona legislator Steve Farley has re-introduced his ALEC Accountability Act, in the State Senate this time. Meanwhile, researchers continue to pore over ALEC’s documents, connecting the dots between its corporate patrons and compliant legislators.

MARY BOTTARI: State by state by state, citizens have to decide. Do they want legislators to go to fancy resorts and sit behind closed doors with lobbyists and write their bills and then bring them back and introduce them without exposing their ALEC roots, or do they want to do want to do something about that?

DOUG CLOPP: As more and more people become aware of the role of the American Legislative Exchange Council, they are becoming more aware that this corporate agenda does not match the values of the American People.

BILL MOYERS: Citizens are catching on. But ALEC is still everywhere. Watch for it: coming soon to a statehouse near you.

And sure enough, since that report last year, ALEC has kept on coming. Now, though, the word is out and ALEC can no longer hide in the shadows.

When its lawmakers and lobbyists got together last month in Oklahoma City to draft some more model bills, they were met by hundreds of protesters.


BILL MOYERS: Firefighters, teachers, environmentalists, teamsters, religious leaders, all with one message:

PROTESTORS: ALEC is not OK! ALEC is not OK! ALEC is not OK!

BILL MOYERS: Let me tell you a little more about what ALEC has been up to. In the interest of a healthy environment, 29 states have laws requiring utilities to provide a portion of their electricity from renewable energy sources. The idea, of course, is to cut back on the use of fossil fuels, which, as everyone knows, contribute to global warming.

Yet even as headlines about climate chaos confront us every day, ALEC is doing its damnedest to undermine the use of clean, renewable energy.

Take a look at this. It’s called the “Electricity Freedom Act” – one of ALEC’s ‘model’ bills. Sounds great – who doesn’t like freedom? But the bill amounts to an effort by the fossil fuel industry to curtail the freedom of states to set Renewable Energy Standards, by repealing those state laws.

In the last two years, 21 of the 29 states with Renewable Energy Standards have seen bills proposed that would weaken or repeal them, over half of them pushed by lawmakers with confirmed ALEC ties. In two states – Ohio and New Hampshire – such bills have already become law.

It will hardly surprise you that ALEC gets millions of dollars from the fossil fuel industry, or that companies that have served on the ALEC task force that produced the “Electricity Freedom Act” include representatives of – hold your breath – ExxonMobil, Peabody Energy, and Koch Industries.

Now ALEC doesn’t like all this to be publicized. It doesn’t like exposure to sunshine at all. In fact, they’ve recently begun including fine print on their materials saying they believe the documents are, quote, “… not subject to disclosure under any state Freedom of Information or Public Records Act.”

Got it? Take another look: “…not subject to disclosure under any state Freedom of Information or Public Records Act.”

So, when your elected legislators are meeting with corporate lobbyists behind closed doors, ALEC thinks you – the public, the voter – have no right to know what they have done or even talked about.

That’s not all. ALEC thinks that even the name “ALEC” has gotten far too much attention. So it’s come up with a new strategy, described recently by its chief flack in a memo to his members.

Quote: “You May Have Noticed We are Limiting the Use of the Acronym ‘ALEC’… Over the last year, the word ‘ALEC’ has been used to conjure up images of a distant, mysterious, Washington alphabet organization of unknown intentions…”

So, “The organization has refocused on the words ‘Exchange’ and ‘Council’ to emphasize our goal of a broad exchange of ideas to make government work better and more efficiently.”

Ah yes, but better and more efficient government for whom? ALEC’s “Private Enterprise Advisory Council” still contains a who’s who of elite corporate power; its health care agenda still calls for privatizing Medicare; its economic agenda for tax cuts for the rich; and its education agenda for more public money going to private schools.

And there’s always the spirit of Paul Weyrich…

PAUL WEYRICH I don’t want everybody to vote…

BILL MOYERS: Who as you will remember wanted less voter turnout, not more. That spirit suffused ALEC’s sponsorship last year of so-called “Voter Reform” measures, which would have made it harder for young, elderly, and low-income Americans to vote.

And for sheer audacity in the capture of government, you can’t beat what happened under the capitol dome in South Dakota earlier this year: ALEC allies decided the cost of sending some state legislators to wine and dine with those corporate lawyers and lobbyists should be paid by taxpayers. But that wasn’t enough. Those same South Dakota taxpayers now have to pay ALEC dues for legislators who are members.

It’s like tipping the thief for picking your pocket.

But give them credit where credit’s due: the political, religious and corporate right conceived a brilliant strategy for advancing their agenda by going to the states. Brilliant, but disingenuous. They choose to talk about “free markets” when in fact their member corporations prefer to arrange the markets to their advantage. They boast that “government closest to the people” is, quote, “fundamentally, more effective, more just, and a better guarantor of freedom than the distant, bloated federal government in Washington, D.C."

But what is “just” about laws written to benefit powerful organized interests at the expense of everyone else? What is just about going to great lengths to make sure “the people” don’t know who is writing those laws? If getting closer to “the people” is really your goal, it’s curious behavior to cover your tracks, keep your sessions closed to the press, and do most of the “people's work” in secret.

No, when all is said and done, the pro-capitalist magazine “Businessweek” got it right: quote, “part of ALEC’s mission is to present industry-backed legislation as grass-roots work.”

But their cover’s been blown…

PROTESTORS: ALEC’s got to go! Hey, hey! Ho, ho!

BILL MOYERS: The protests are growing, and the story’s not going away. We'll be reporting on it in the months ahead.

PROTESTORS: ALEC’s got to go!

BILL MOYERS: Coming up on Moyers & Company: “A Place at the Table.”

RAJ PATEL: The reason people are going hungry is not because of a shortage of food, it’s because of poverty.

BILL SHORE: One out of every two kids in The United States at some point in their childhood will be on food assistance.

LESLIE NICHOLS: I was one of those kids that was hungry. It messes with you.

JAMES MCGOVERN: The average food stamp benefit was $3 a day. There are people who are living on that and you really can’t.

MARION NESTLE: If you have a limited amount of money to spend you’re going to spend it on the cheapest calories you can get and that’s processed foods.

BARBIE IZQUIERDO: My dream is to go to college but I can’t tell my kids, “I’ll make sure you guys eat in two years.” I’m struggling to even feed my kids every day.

Put that in there. Okay, that was a bad idea.

JANET POPPENDIECK: As many as 50 million Americans rely on charitable food programs.

ADAM APPELHANZ: I haven’t received a pay raise in four years and what I used to spend on a month in groceries now gets me about two weeks.

PASTOR BOB WILSON: It’s amazing how the need has increased.

JEFF BRIDGES: Charity is a great thing, but it’s not the way to end hunger.

JAMES MCGOVERN: We’re weakening our nation.

ROSIE: I don’t really know what to do.

I struggle a lot and most of the time it’s because my stomach is really hurting. My teacher tells me to get focused and she told me to write focus on my little sticker and every time I look at it and I’m like oh I’m supposed to be focusing. I start yawning and then I zone out and I’m just looking at the teacher and I look at her and all I think about is food. So I have these little visions in my eyes. Sometimes when I look at her I vision her as a banana so she goes like a banana and everybody in the class is like apples or oranges and then I’m like oh great.

KRISTI JACOBSON: What struck me so much about Rosie is that her story sort of embodied everything about this issue which is that while she's experiencing this hunger and food insecurity it's affecting her self-esteem, it's affecting her ability to learn, which is very upsetting. But at the same time she has this incredible spirit which gives you this, you know, some feeling of hope and inspiration. So she's just an incredible young girl.

MARIANA CHILTON: You can’t look at Rosie and see oh, she's hungry. So where do you see it? You see it in school performance, their ability to get along with others, their ability to pay attention for children of school age--


MARIANA CHILTON: --and attendance. If we could think about poverty during childhood as a type of a disease, if we could pay as much attention to poverty for children as we pay attention to infectious disease we might be able to do something in this country.

BILL MOYERS: And Baldemar Velasquez, the people’s organizer.

BALDEMAR VELASQUEZ: "Son, I got to ask you a question." I say, "Yeah, go head." He says, "Well, you're the only person I've ever had here as a volunteer that hasn't complained about the rats. Why is that?" So I told him my rat story, that I grew up with the rats.

The couch that in the living room was my bed and my brother's bed. He slept on one end. And I slept on the other end. And that couch was pushed up against a window overlooking the front porch. And there was a crack underneath the pane. And that's where the rats would come in at night.

So at night, you'd hear the scratching along the back of that couch. And we knew there was a rat going to get up on the top up there. And we knew that the rat had to jump on the seat where we sleeping before he got on the floor. So when we'd hear the scratching on the back of that couch, we'd kick each other and pull the blanket taut. And, to make kind of like a trampoline for the rat.

And the rat would jump down on the blanket. And when we'd hear that, we'd go with our fists underneath, boom, like that, to see how far we could make the rat fly. And that was our game, to see how far we could make the rat fly.

But the man says, he looked kind of stunned. And he said, "Good Lord, son, why aren't you doing something for your own people?" And that's what provoked the thought. I said, "I need to go back and start organizing the migrant workers and try to follow the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement to speak for people and organize them so they can speak for themselves."

BILL MOYERS: Meanwhile at we’ll show you how to keep track of ALEC and you’ll also find a map that marks the state legislators that are ALEC members. We’ve been updating the map since we first launched it, but we want your help filling in the blanks by calling your local representatives and asking if they belong.

Become a citizen journalist on I’ll see you there and see you here, next time.


United States of ALEC — A Follow-Up

June 21, 2013

A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council — presents itself as a “nonpartisan public-private partnership”. But behind that mantra lies a vast network of corporate lobbying and political action aimed to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge.

In state houses around the country, hundreds of pieces of boilerplate ALEC legislation are proposed or enacted that would, among other things, dilute collective bargaining rights, make it harder for some Americans to vote, and limit corporate liability for harm caused to consumers — each accomplished without the public ever knowing who’s behind it. Using interviews, documents, and field reporting, the episode explores ALEC’s self-serving machine at work, acting in a way one Wisconsin politician describes as “a corporate dating service for lonely legislators and corporate special interests.”

Former health care industry executive Wendell Potter says, “Even though I’d known of [ALEC] for a long time, I was astonished. Just about everything that I knew that the health insurance industry wanted out of any state lawmaker was included in that package of bills.”

Following up on a 2012 report, this update includes new examples of corporate influence on state legislation and lawmakers, the growing public protest against ALEC’s big business-serving agenda, and internal tactics ALEC is instituting to further shroud its actions and intentions.

“United States of ALEC” executive producer Tom Casciato says people who saw the first report “might be surprised to learn that, despite more than 40 companies having dropped out of ALEC, the organization is still going very strong.” He adds, “ALEC doesn’t publish a list of its members, so covering will always be hard, but in a democracy it’s a good idea for people to know where their laws originate.”

“United States of ALEC” is a collaboration between Okapi Productions LLC (filmmakers Tom Casciato and Kathleen Hughes) and the Schumann Media Center, headed by Bill Moyers, which supports independent journalism and public watchdogs including the Center for Media and Democracy, and Common Cause, whose investigators are featured in the report.

Intro Producer: Robert Booth. Intro Editor: Sikay Tang.

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  • Guest

    Excellent look into the venal nature of our political system. Keep talking, more Americans will listen.

  • Maureen Cullnan

    Would love to see a look at ALEC inspired laws regarding public education, Bill.

  • Alexandra Leigon

    Is anyone taking action to question the nonprofit status of ALEC? What is its nonprofit designation? If ALEC technically falls under its 501 designation despite the evidence showing that their stated nonpartisan, nonpolitical status is patently false, we need to modify the nonprofit code to be more specific in eliminating organizations that are actually or tangentially active in activities that serve a specific political agenda.

  • cementhead

    You can find the information on ALEC and public education here:

  • Ann J Wyly

    Thank you, thank you Bill Moyers for having the courage and audacity to expose ALEC. In my opinion, its activites are far worse than the recent revelations of Snowden about the NSA. Members of ALEC who promote “its” agenda should also be charged with espionage!

  • Jeff Salisbury

    Definition of INSIDIOUS
    1 a : awaiting a chance to entrap : treacherous
    1 b : harmful but enticing : seductive
    2 a : having a gradual and cumulative effect : subtle
    2 b of a disease : developing so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent

  • adrienne doherty

    Such important information. Thank you Mr. Moyers!

  • Rob Walters

    I couldn’t agree more with you, Ann. I’ve posted this episode on my Facebook wall and urged everyone to watch and learn that this hideous group is what is truly wrong with our country.

  • Anonymous

    This is beyond a nightmare, a small minority pushing this horrendous lopsided legislature. They are like the hidden meth dealers trying to poison ones children clandestinely. When no one is watching.
    /klænˈdɛstɪn/ Show Spelled [klan-des-tin] Show IPA
    characterized by, done in, or executed with secrecy or concealment, especially for purposes of subversion or deception; private or surreptitious:
    To me this is the epidemy of evil and selfishness. Makes one embarrassed to be a american, this scum only cares about horrendous profit and bleeding the disenfranchised dry.

  • Joyce

    ALEC inspired laws are harmful to public education in Louisiana. They now have vouchers for students to attend private and online schools. Funding is cut back for state universities.

  • Craig

    The possible negative implications of an organization like ALEC are as far reaching as corruption in the public sector that goes unchecked due to appointment instead of election. I only wish the program would have presented more comprehensive concern for the public good and less vilifying of the conservative right. Though the major players in ALEC may include conservatives, a focus on the implications of ALEC (mainly big business interests served without public accountability) without the broad maligning of the political right may help to sway more conservatives away from ALEC. The importance of showing conservative politicians and big business the benefits of supporting the public good cannot be overstated; however, this program appeared to seek putting the political right on the defensive. In the end, helping all sides of the political spectrum work together is what will lead Americans generally and politicians in specific see the benefits of representative democracy over and against powerful business “lobbies” like ALEC.

  • Beatriz Vera

    I always believed corporations had the poower to imposse their agendas, now understand how they do it. Brilliant piece!!! Thank you Bill Moyers

  • Anonymous

    Problem is, we need to know the companies involved so we can put pressure on them, and we need to know every law a Congressman or Senator brings that is a mimic of laws in other states and was probably written via ALEC. Anonymous help would be good right now.

  • Anonymous

    You’ll see a list of the corporations that support (and are supported by) ALEC at

  • Barbara Mullin

    Why isn’t this part of the IRS scandal? ALEC is tax deductible? Claiming “education” to make them richer is part of “social welfare”???????? The corporate newsmedia lets this go by and it’s all about the poor defenseless Tea Party being asked questions.

  • ger

    There should be a Bill Moyers university, talk about an education!

    No tax exempt status to anyone, no tax havens, and no one making more than $250, 000 a year – we’d all be happier and better off, and so would the planet.

  • ccaffrey

    A whistleblower provided the bulk of ALEC bills to the Center for Media and Democracy in 2011. ALEC has since said, in the interest of “transparency” they are now posting the text of their approved bills on their site. Go to CMD’s site You will find a listing of the bills, membership info, the corporations who have withdrawn membership as a result of public pressure etc. The bill section is a wiki-style site, so that people from different states can add in information when they find an ALEC bill introduced in their state. They’ve been doing this for almost 40 years, so there are quite a few that are already existing law. CMD has done, and continues to do an amazing job of keeping tabs on ALEC. You can help identify what’s going on in your state. People power!

  • ccaffrey

    Bob Edgar of Common Cause filed a petition with the IRS challenging their status as a 501(c)(3), providing REAMS of documentation. Bob’s sudden recent passing from a heart attack shocked and saddened us all. Please check with Common Cause to see what actions are going forward on that petition. PS, the Tea Party was questioned during their APPLICATION for tax exempt status. An important note that seems to get lost is that NONE of them were DENIED their tax status. All organizations, including progressive ones, are questioned re the nature of their activities prior to approval. Progress Texas went through a similar process. There was also a progressive group that was denied.

  • ccaffrey

    Although they claim to be bipartisan, at last look, all of their leadership positions are held by GOP members and the vast majority of their membership are members of the GOP. Their founder also started, among other things, the Heritage Foundation. Many members of the GOP in Congress are alumni of ALEC. And look at the speakers at their conferences. ALEC, although sometimes finding conservative Democrats to introduce or co-sponsor legislation is by far dominated by the GOP. The GOP is free to support whatever kinds of legislation they wish to. So far, most of the ones currently in office choose to support a corporate agenda. And benefit handsomely from it–which is not to say that Democrats do not also, or do not support certain legislation for fear of campaign retaliation. What is more astounding is that ALEC is in the business of drafting legislation, handing it off to legislators who are sitting down with corporate lobbyists (“private enterprise members”) and yet are maintaining a tax-exempt status as a 501(c)3 and claim they do no lobbying!

  • ccaffrey

    As I mentioned in a previous reply, Bob Edgar of Common Cause petitioned the IRS to challenge ALEC’s tax-exempt status, and provided voluminous documentation. Bob’s sudden passing of a heart attack in the last few months has saddened us all. I would check with Common Cause to find out that status on this.

  • ccaffrey

    Thank you Bill, for this follow-up! There are many people who are still unaware of the role ALEC plays in shaping laws in our country to benefit private corporations at the expense of the public good and the Commons. Keep after them! I would invite people who are facing legislation turning public services over to a private contractor to immediately check the ALEC legislation database at
    And please post, if you will, any follow-up to Bob Edgar’s petition to the IRS challenging their tax-exempt status. His death was a great loss to Common Cause, and to all of us! RIP Bob and thanks for your vigilance and service to the public. That challenge to ALEC’s tax-exempt status needs to go forward. Please let us know how the public can help with that.


    Amen and thanks for the post. Corporate greed worldwide is taking over.

  • ccaffrey

    This new article from Truthout is HUGE!! Confirmation of what has become increasingly apparent to us, and something that should figure into everyone’s thinking about corporate accountability. Kind of puts a different light on that whole “corporate personhood” thingy doesn’t it?

    Bill, PLEASE consider having the people from Remapping Debate on your show as a follow-up to this discussion of ALEC. They sent out questionaires to corporations to find out what obligations corporations felt to the United States.

    “In an effort to find out whether American corporations are the kind of “citizens” that believe that they have national obligations, Remapping Debate contacted the representatives of more than 80 corporations. Most had no comment, a striking finding in and of itself.

    And among the corporate representatives who did comment, most were unwilling to say that their corporation had any obligations to the United States, let alone to define any such obligations with specificity. Moreover, representatives of some American multinationals said that their companies do not even identify themselves as being American in any sense except that they are legally incorporated and physically headquartered in one of the states of the U.S.”
    Here is the link to the article:

  • Tom Rees

    As a former conservative legislator familiar with ALEC, I think you should also look at the Institute for Humane Studies, now of the George Mason University with Mr. Koch as the Chairman. You might be surprised at the effort – and they have toned down their mission over the last couple of years.

  • Anonymous

    Why is the national press not covering this topic? Have they also been bought by corporate America too?

  • Janice and Paul Jenkins

    We just finished watching your program on ALEC, and were astonished that we have not heard anything about these tactics. Even though we live in Oklahoma City, there was never anything in the local paper about this! Why is this not being covered by the News! I would think that Rachel M would love to get ahold of this! thanks for all you do, Paul and Janice Jenkins

  • Sad to Say

    The national press is OWNED by corporate America!

  • Teddy Wetherby

    watch Thom hartman the big picture on he covers issues like this

  • mik

    If you watched Rachel M consistently, you would have seen plenty of coverage of Alec.

  • stormageddon

    I almost don’t want to finish watching this, it makes me so angry, especially since the poster-child for this b.s. is the governor of my state.

  • hpesoj

    I enjoyed the show! When will the IRS rescind the tax exempt status of ALEC?

  • Mona

    ALEC IS the conservative right! The plan behind ALEC began with Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Republican and Former Assoc. Justice of the Supreme Court, who sent a confidential memo to the US Chamber of Commerce decades ago mapping out how corporations could literally take over America. That plan is being followed in every detail and it’s working. Don’t feel bad that this Conservative plan has been exposed and is being shown for the greedy, rapacious, uncaring, small-minded, selfish BS that it is. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and smells like a duck–it IS!

  • Carolyn Knoll

    Please do not expect to find out about these organizations or movements in the mainstream media. Most of the mainstream media is owned by a corporation that is a member of ALEC. Watch this program and Democracy Now for stories like this. Also subscribe to independent media online, i.e.,, Common Dreams and Media Matters for America. Our rights are being slowly eliminated and our democracy is being slowly destroyed behind our backs. In my opinion, other than climate change issues, this is the most important issue of our time.

  • ray

    The summary of the alec story sounded more like Obamacare and how it was formed and passed. Behind closed doors without debate. I suppose he is ok with that though. I see biased journalism at work here. We can guess what his agenda is.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone know if our Canadian government is a member of ALEC…. it sure feels like it given our ultra right Conservative government initiatives. :-(

  • cking44

    Thank you – great journalism – I appreciate it so much. BUT – what should I do? How can Americans do something to stop this? I’d appreciated some specific input on what to do. This expose’ was so informative -upsetting! I posted it to my FB pg, but most people wont watch it or understand the enormous scope of this problem.

  • hooper

    Please..turn off the background music..there are thousands of people that have a hard time hearing,and the music in the background makes it very hard to hear what is being said.I love this forum,but I miss so much because of the music.

  • Jim Guinnessey

    Most Americans do not know or even care about the behind the scenes biggies who do all the dirty work for the US Chamber of Commerce-sponsored corporations and their chronic schemes to defraud and de-fund the public. ALEC is the biggest power broker and US advocate of far right legislation that seeks to rob the average citizen in the USA of any real and advantageous input or voice in a supposedly democratic society. Creeping fascism, the unholy alliance between government and major corporations,
    has slowly and slyly taken over our democratic governance.Thank you, Bill Moyers, for being our “voice in the wilderness.” But is anyone really listening or paying attention?

  • William Falberg

    There’s really only one solution:
    28th Amendment (The Constitutional Emergency Amendment)
    Corporations are not persons and shall be granted only those rights and privileges that Congress deems necessary for the well-being of the People. Congress shall provide legislation defining the terms and conditions of corporate charters according to their purpose; which shall include, but are not limited to:
    1, prohibitions against any corporation;
    a, owning another corporation,
    b, becoming economically indispensable or monopolistic, or
    c, otherwise distorting the general economy;
    2, prohibitions against any form of intervention in the affairs of government by means of;
    a, congressional lobbying
    b, electoral sponsorship or advocacy
    c, educational sponsorship or publication
    d, media news reporting
    3, provisions for;
    a, the auditing of standardized, current, and transparent account books
    b, closing the FRB and the establishment of state-owned banks
    c, civil and criminal penalties to be suffered by corporate executives et al for violation of the terms of a corporate charter.

  • Novana_2001

    I am a liberal and generally support liberal policies. I’m sure there must be liberal or progressive think tanks, non-profits, etc. similar to ALEC who do the same thing for “my” point of view. Just sayin’

  • Anonymous

    Wow, are YOU in the wrong place!

  • Anonymous

    And do you think this wool-over-our-eyes ploy is sucking any of us in?

  • Anonymous

    “Why is this not being covered by the News!”

    If you have to ask such a question, you must not know that the Mainstream Media is far, far, FAR from being dominated by Liberals. In fact, it is dominated by the Reich, as ALL of its owners are Reich Winger (how’s that, for brain-dead reasoning, eh?)

    Trust me, Rachel Maddow knows ALL about ALEC, and covers it very well. I don’t know the source of your confusion on that score, but I’d recommend actually watching her show sometime.

  • Anonymous

    Most of us are powerless serfs, saddled with huge student loans, credit cards, payday loans, while wages and benefits go down most every year. I work in the heart of silicon valley. I am the only white person in the room surrounded by 40 H1b’s. Many are very talented, but no more than any white computer professionals i have worked with in the past. I see near zero hope of breaking my chains. Bill Moyers forum is one of my few outlets for expressiing my concerns and rage, but I feel powerless to change my lot in life even with 23 years in the computer field with near state of the art skills.
    There is still some hope working for a startup here in the future, right now the best i can find is a contract , with zero health benefits at the largest computer firms in silicon valley. I would be petrified to voice my opinion or protest, as I know its difficult enough securing future employment to survive.

  • Anonymous

    Your computer should have a little knob labeled “volume.”

    1) Find it.
    2) Turn it to the Left.

  • YMI

    Just watching this kind of programs and going back to sleep is not the solution. Ask yourself what can I do to change this situation. In 2008 after the election of Obama, there was a good chance to moving forward and changing the course of our nation. Alas, all of us went back to our deep sleep. Obama also betrayed us for not leading the croud. Now his is part of the corporation and big brothers club.

  • Anonymous

    Well Novava, assuming you are serious, the answer is, no, there are not. The conservative movement made a very deliberate and coordinated effort to establish think tanks …..unmatched by the liberals. Again, assuming you are serious (and in serious need of some education) read Richard Viguerie’s books…….. p.s. He’s a conservative who has been on Bill’s show.

  • Anonymous

    ALEC has some good ideas. It’s just too bad that these ideas aren’t out in the open and freely debated. For example, if it can be shown that learning at home on a computer is just as good or better than traveling to a bricks and motar school then why not stay home and learn on the computer? Of course which ever one costs less and gets the best results should win out. My concern about privatizing prisons is that there is now a profit motive for putting people in prison and keeping them in prison. However if a private prison can show improvement over a public prison then go private. Which one is cheaper? Which one rehabilitates better so prisoners stay out of prison? Those are criteria that can be measured. Public employee unions have been winning because politicians aren’t in it for as long of a haul as the union members are. So unions in general have gotten too powerful and overcompensated. I’m all for unions negotiating safety, working conditions and hours. I’ve always felt no one should be forced to work overtime. You need a balance in your life. And safety is always the most important thing.

  • Anonymous

    I am curious, though, why you chose the phrase “white computer professionals” rather than something like “American-born computer professionals” here.

  • AmericanMoocher

    ALEC my BFF as the kids say!

  • American Patriot

    Great report on ALEC, however political corruption does not stop here. A fair report will include all the non profit organizations the Democrats use for political profit. A fair report will include how corrupt Washington has become under a Democrat President and non-controlling Congress. Political corruption is worse now than any other time in history,,and you can point the finger at both sides of the isle, not just the Republicans. This is a plan that has been in the making for decades, report on the real issues before America has vanished before our eyes.

  • Maggie

    Yes. I am not hard of hearing for my age(67), but I also cannot stand the background music, as it is very distracting, and I do miss some words. Very irritating!

  • jthawke

    I believe in ALEC believes. Wisconsin is so much better off with Walker than without. There is so much corruption with renewable energy. You should do a report on Bloom Energy. How dumb is to turn a food product like corn into energy source. Wind mills ware out. The climate has not warmed up in over 15 years.

  • jthawke

    In Wisconsin tuition is $6,000. The rest of the money is for room and board which you would have to pay anyway.

  • Lorenzo LaRue

    The KoolAid on Fux News is pretty ‘tasteless’ not to mention ‘toxic’. News for dumb fux.

  • Cory James Hinman

    “Political corruption is worse now than any other time in history” lol

  • Anonymous

    A fair comment would have given some examples instead of innuendo.

  • Anonymous

    ALEC is what is wrong with America.

  • American Patriot

    Examples are Council on Foreign Relations,,about the same caliber as ALEC, MOVE-ON,,,ACORN,,Media Matters,,all funded by George Soros,,Wake up America,,the weak will be slaughtered first,,and liberals are the weakest

  • WiscoBlue

    There is a progressive counter-point that focuses on promoting legislation for sustainability, open government and greater equity:

  • Anonymous

    Because in 24 years I have been in dozens of IT centers, around the country, in that time about 20% of my co-workers were american born, 5% white american born, 5% hispanic, 5% russian ,4 % chinese , and 1% black american born. It has been 90% indian developers in the last ten years. I made good friends with 50% of the indian co-workers, but it has pained me to never be able to compete effectively. I only get through to the bigger companies through the indian firms. I have always watched the younger indian developers go off to training, when they have less than half my skills, while everyone one else is excluded from training. Tell me how to compete, I have no clue how, rates are 50% less today than were 14 years ago, when I knew far less about my skill set. More education and more hard work will not let me escape poverty in america. (I am relatively state of the art now via self training) They have changed the play book, I dont know how to compete, I’m trying to break in with a start up, its why I moved to silicon valley.

  • SilencedPublic

    I was struck by the timing of this story. Last week the Wisconsin legislature passed the budget bill that removed the Center for Investigative Journalism from the University System and prohibited public employees from working with them. As post of the disclosure, public radio noted that they are part of the University System. It also included statewide vouchers, privatize prisons and provisions to sell off state assets.

  • Peter Gatliff

    ALEC and the KOCH’s use the same methods as the Nazi’s to brainwash these people. What is right is wrong. What is wrong is right. In the end it boils down to a Coup De tate of our Democracy.

  • Rusty Wilson

    If you’re not an ALEC member hermanjamers than you’re a good example of the misinformed. Union membership is down to only 7% of the workforce and the main way you could make it even weaker is to go after the public service unions that still have some power which is what ALEC is doing. The prison system is racist and classist and privatizing it will only fuel more. Home schooling by computer is also racist and classist. But you seem more concerned with money than people as is ALEC and the GOP(Greedy Old Pigs).

    Are you another future rich man? Studies have shown that even during good times few rise much above the economic class into which they were born. The middle class is being downsized and the poor are being made destitute which is why the schools must be shut and profitable private prisons built. To protect the rich and the corporations a gulag state is being set up under the “war on terrorism”. If you don’t get rich you may get to enjoy a private prison not that low wage slavery without any benefits or rights will be that much better.

    All hail ALEC and corporate totalitarianism!

  • Rusty Wilson

    I’m 73 and it doesn’t bother me nor do I miss any of the words. Perhaps it’s your sound system?

  • Melissa D Meadows

    They are the Anti Christ I tell you good lord they are destroying America

  • jb

    Home schooling means that one parent cannot work and must be at home at least between starting with kindergarten for seven to twelve years. One parent must give up a career for 8 to 12 years. That isn’t an option for many families.
    Personally, I learned a lot of things from teachers that my parents would not have known to include in home study programs.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Rusty, I’m not an Alec member. How do you feel about ending exclusionary zoning? The fact that we hear the phrase “protect property values” so often just confirms that the housing market is both dysfunctional and irrational. While cars depreciate in value, a properly priced home that is kept up should only increase in value at most at the rate of inflation. All the people struggling against eviction would be better served by just walking away. You need to think about saving for retirement rather than flushing any more money down the 30-yr mortgage toilet. You should have the right to live in an affordable home. Housing is a human right. The trouble is affordable homes have been unjustly zoned out. That is an unconscionable violation against your constitutional inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is where the fight lies. This is what needs to be corrected and sooner rather than later.

    End exclusionary zoning and there never will be another mortgage crisis again. End exclusionary zoning and you’ll be able to buy a house as easily and cheaply as you buy a car. It’s really that simple. The housing market is not free so homes are not accurately priced. I went from paying $3,720/yr in lot rent to a mobile home park to paying $662/yr in property taxes once I was allowed to place my singlewide on a lot and pay property taxes like everyone else. I lived at Little Valley Estates near 8 Mile & Middlebelt (near Detroit). I was paying $310/mo in lot rent for a 26 ft by 60 ft lot. That extrapolates to $8,656/acre/month. After I lost my job at 59 in Oct 2008 I just retired (didn’t even apply for unemployment). I was able to retire because I paid off my singlewide in less than 2 yrs. So I didn’t flush a lot of money down the 30-yr mortgage toilet. If I had borrowed say $100K at 5% and paid it back over 30 yrs then I would have had to pay back $193K. My lifetime income was only $699K.

    I lived in apartments for 20 yrs before buying my singlewide in Aug of 1991. By the time I moved my singlewide in May 2009 I had paid over $55K in lot rent over 18 yrs. I estimate that I could’ve saved about $45K if I just would’ve been allowed to place my singlewide on a lot and pay property taxes just like everyone else. But Farmington Hills, MI says your home has to be at least 24 ft wide and conform to existing housing. My singlewide was only 14 ft wide. I would’ve had to move 167 miles further north if I wanted to stay in Mi. Instead I moved my singlewide 300 miles south to a warmer climate about 55 miles east of Cincinnati.

    We have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In order to have life you need the necessities of life such as shelter. You should be free to choose that shelter. So the president is derelict in his duty to protect and defend the constitution. But he’s just another Pontius Pilate politician. Pilate knew Jesus was innocent but when the crowd yelled ‘Crucify Him’ then that’s what the crowd got. Everyone knows exclusionary zoning is wrong. I’d like the crowd, including Occupy etc, to stop supporting exclusionary zoning. Aren’t you tired of being sheared of your wealth like sheep? At least I was able to move my home. I didn’t have to leave it behind for someone to tear it down.

    240,000 people left Detroit between 2000 and 2010. They left but the houses didn’t. It would be a lot easier to vote with your feet if your house could be moved too. Building a singlewide is much less complicated than building a car. So Detroit or Flint could easily build a quality formaldehyde-free singlewide. A 30 footer would be about 360 sq ft. Need more room? Just buy two and connect them with a hallway. When baby comes along then add a third. When baby goes to college then his/her unit could go too as housing for life. Motor homes are very easy to move. So are travel trailers and all the other things you can see at an RV and camper show. Here’s a link to my face book page where you can view pictures of my singlewide. As you will see, it’s a neat little home. Just copy and paste it into your browser. All my photos are public.

  • Sharon M. Mullins

    like Jeffery explained I didn’t know that you able to get paid $8648 in one month on the computer. did you look at this website w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

  • moderator

    Hi Hooper,

    Just wanted to make sure, are you referring to the background music volume on the podcast or the web video?

    Thanks again for watching!
    sean @ moyers

  • craig lIst

    This is nothing different than what unions do with Democrats.

  • Anonymous

    Beg pardon. Unions were kept from joining forces by the law–it was called racketering.

    Unions are made up of hardworking humans whom, it has been shown over and over, need protection from the corporate profit-at-all-costs machine and who pay dues that are a pittance compared with what corporations flow into ALEC. ALEC is made up of powerful and vastly rich corporations. Unions did not meet behind closed doors and “create” legislation that would fatten their coffers and make life more difficult for the rest of us–without which the corporations would have NO profit and NO product.

    Evidently, these “human” corporations can skirt the laws that suit them and make war on the REAL humans that make up 2/3 of their business in the first place. Actions which invite trouble, because REAL people will eventually tire of the war against them.

    Shame on them all. They proceed at their own peril.

  • jp40

    Good show! You didn’t mention control of the press…the Koch brothers are trying to buy major news media, making it harder for the general public to know what is being done.

  • Paul Hosman

    Bill produces many excellent shows like this one.

    My concern is that neither HE nor ANYONE ELSE
    provides a step-by-step PLAN to get from today’s poor, flawed and dangerous situation to a better situation!
    They merely tell us how today’s situation is failing us.

    That is a good start but it is not nearly sufficient to
    achieve important, comprehensive, fundamental improvements to our economic and governing systems.
    The PEOPLE currently have no way to affect change in an effective or timely manner.

    Unlike CORPORATIONS having:
    1. CONSOLIDATED interests (more money in their pockets at the exploitation of other people, and the environment),

    2. money to establish and support organizations like ALEC and “K” Street lobbyists and hence to obtain DOMINANT political power using the governing system they have established for their OWN benefit,

    WE are very DIVERSE in interests, DISPERSED INDIVIDUALS without concentrated money and without effective and timely political power.

    Band-aid and piecemeal approaches to remedying the situation just won’t work because one can never change just one aspect of the problem. Changes do inter-relate to one another – both in substance and timing.

  • ChesireKat

    We don’t need a step by step plan. Bill Moyers presents issues we should be aware of as a citizen and if motivated by his reporting, we will take proactive actions to make a difference with the power we have as citizens.

    Actions suggested and which I employ to make my one vote, voice heard.

    1. Call, write, complain or complement your representatives in the Senate and House and include the white house.

    2. “google” search for issues that offer petitions to sign

    3. Sign up for news letters

    4. Prepare yourself with knowledge about an issue and then seek a place to share and exchange: Huffington has thousands of amateur and knowledgeable posters and pundits of all persuasions. google to clarify and substantiate your particular views and SHARE SHARE SHARE.

    Facts and resources are readily available at, Use this resource to develop your own thesis….you don’t need a pocket plan. Just do it


    Good luck on your quest to voice your opinion in a way that is significant to fulfill your goals.

  • Paul Hosman


    Just what do you mean by “proactive actions” that you think you can take to affect real change in our situation?

    Your suggestions point out ways to have your voice heard but are totally inadequate to actually substantively, comprehensively or fundamentally change anything – our Constitution, laws, regulations, or policy.

  • ChesireKat

    I just returned from my mail box. Here
    is an example of an urgent message to protect and defend the

    Alert message:

    We’ve just learned that the
    billionaire Koch brothers are funding an
    aggressive campaign
    attacking the EPA for its scientific study of
    Bristol Bay and the
    Pebble Mine. Don’t let them steamroll our
    government and the
    democratic process! It’s more important than ever
    that you make
    your own voice heard in opposition to the Pebble Mine
    before the
    June 30 deadline.”

    They have an online petition that you
    can sign to put your voice to your concerns about the

  • ChesireKat

    I practice what i suggested, and it works for me and others who I have met during the course of my political awakening and putting it in action.
    I was responding to your expressed frustration and desire for a plan.

    Well, I suggest a plan….not a plan in the air, but a well tested one.
    What you do with the information is your responsibility.

    Good luck to you. I hope you find what you are seeking.

  • UnsolicitedIndianAdvice

    I am an Indian-born American and I like Bill Moyers too. Advice to JSC1227: Compete by improving yourself AND by proving yourself (the two are related but different). Think you have better skills than your peers, then show it publicly by writing better code or innovating or generating higher revenues or savings. IT does not care if you are white or brown. The computer you work on is colorblind, and when it comes to your skill-set, so are good bosses (caveat: not all bosses are good or impartial). Is it easy to learn new skills and compete? NO. Is it harder as you get older? Hell Yeah. But keep in mind that the Indians in IT (young and old) need to compete daily too, just like you in order to stay afloat in the game/IT rat-race. Why don’t you ask your “good” Indian friends, how do they compete and add skills, what are the challenges they face.. and have they every faced racial discrimination in the workplace or outside it.. And you probably have less “chains” than some of the Indians you work with. H1B Visas lock them to their employers and often to lower wages, and they can get potentially be deported within 2 weeks if they lose their jobs. I wish you luck in your journey and hope you visit India some day to see what drives us to be so competitive (our starving and competing 1 billion human population who want a better life). There are two sides to every human story.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you. I have been to india, I cant imagine how to compete in that realm. I do have more freedosm than the H1B, when I had a real bad deal I left. But I have thrown away at least 150 computer books in my career trying to keep up with technology, and all the self study in the world doesnt help if you cant get access to a machine. I blame the employers for exaggerating the situation, there isnt a shortage of IT people so we have to double H1B numbers. There is a shortage of gifted IT people willing to work for dirt low wages with no benefits. Some indian IT colleagues were very helpful with knowledge sharing and advice, I just dont know how to compete with constantly falling rates no matter how hard I try to compete. Recently I hooked with a India nfellow that may give me a crack at his startup where I can get a piece of the action, that has never happened to me in other areas of the country. So I’m just grateful to be in Silicon Valley, I know its a competitive diversified planet, and I would never want to trade shoes with the H1B, but I think we all (technical professionals) suffer as the Billionaires, with their lobbists in their pocket try to reduce us all into serfs, regardless of technical aptitude and talent, regardless of where we initially were born on the planet.

  • divefool_2000

    I commend Moyers for his investigation into ALEC and the KOCH Brothers, but honestly it is only half of the story. You have ALEC and KOCH on the Right, but you have OSI (Open Society Institute) and Soros on the left doing the same thing that these corporate raiders are doing on the Left. However Mr. Moyers will not expose their hands within our gov’t because he is a former trustee. If I were a conspiracy theorists I would suggest that Mr. Moyers investigation seems motivated not by truly trying to change how ALEC and KOCH are fundamentally changing our democracy, but instead trying to eliminate the competition!

  • Michel O. Dumas III

    I totally agree Democracy is being privatized to benefit the few. Corporations have no moral compass and will slowly kill off the middle class and poor for the sake of profit through deregulation and privatization of all government functions. This is a sad time for what was previously known as Democracy.

  • Anna James

    I have a 20 year old story that is spun in part or full by ALEC members, I wish for somebody to call Lucritia Rouse on their show to give South Dakota the Watergate that they deserve. Aho and thank you. Please copy and paste into your browser window.

    Latest public speech Lucrita Rouse at the ICWA summit
    Lucritia Rouse Public testimony at the ICWA summit in Rapid City May 2013

    Appears that Lakota Project does not want to give us the footage of Byron Brewer telling the summit that Lucritia was not allowed to speak

    by her ICWA director Raymond Cournoyer and that he Brewer would allow her to speak for the Oglala Lakota Nation instead. its a civil rights violation right there.

    I have asked for this coverage

  • NotARedneck

    The CONs are a project of the RepubliCON party. They even change their name regularly like many corporate criminals.

  • NotARedneck

    Nonsense. Only corporate and corporate religion have both the money and the profit motive to fund this hijacking of democracy. It is easily understandable why they are involved with so much of this corruption. We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

    Those looking out for the interests of hard working average people have assumed for too long that they will vote in their interests. Unfortunately, money is very effective when used to cloud the issues and it has been very effective in attracting those who would rather vote based on bigotry, racism and fundamentalist stupidity. Such voters create a solid core for the right wing criminal interests to rely on.

  • NotARedneck

    They only seem to be “good ideas” because you, like many Americans, have been brainwashed by moneyed interests, looking out for THEIR best interests.

  • Neenster9

    Hey, Bill! Excellent information in this show. As of this morning the Supreme Court has destroyed the civil rights voting protection law. So what I would really like to know is exactly who on the Supreme Court is an ALEC member? ALL of the Republicans?

  • Ann J Wyly

    Under our current “democratic” system, any law changes that would limit the control corporations have over our country would require approval of the very members of our Senate and Congress who would feel the greatest impact, many of whom are also guilty of afore-mentioned wrongdoings. As a result, left to these legislators, nothing would be done (as is currently the case). That is why I believe the decisions that impact our legislators and their Corporate and Lobbyist “owners” should be decided by the American people, not the legislators, themselves. They have a direct “conflict- of-interest” in making these decisions.

    So, Why not changethe way these decisions are made? Why not let America’s citizens dictate the laws and regulations they want (including
    the aforementioned changes) and, then charge the legislators with the responsibility of drafting these laws. Remove the opportunity for political posturing and stalemating to enter the picture altogether.

    It is time, now, to changethe dynamics of the way America operates. We can no longer trust our elected officials to do what is right for the
    rest of us. So, why not let the American people enter into the equation — to a greater extent than they do under current law?

    Those who drafted our constitution and the laws that affect us today could not possibly have imagined anything like the possibilities afforded by the technical, digital age in which we live. The IRS has moved away from many of its paper tax returns and now requires numerous types of taxpayers to file their returns online. An example is Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan. According to the IRS website,, “Everyone can e-file, and everyone can e-file Individual tax returns for free. Last year, nearly 100 million taxpayers opted for the safest, fastest and easiest way to submit their individual tax returns — IRS e-file.” Most banks offer online banking.

    Why can our federal government not come up with a safe, reliable and effective way to give
    every registered voter the right to cast votes online? I realize that many voters do not have access to online services and many do not even know how to use a computer. Not everyone has the means to vote online. However, every public library has computers available for their patrons. So, many who do not own computers or don’t know how to use them could still cast their votes at their local libraries. New technologies such as retina or palm-vein technologies could be employed to
    authenticate voters.

  • Ann J Wyly

    Here is how I imagine such a system working: Multiple cross-sectional thresholds could be set for each state, representing the majority of registered voters (e.g., something similar to what polling organizations likely use to calculate current public opinion percentages within certain
    demographics). A vote from every
    registered voter would not be required – – I am speaking of an actuarially (e.g., demo-graphically and statistically) representative number of voters
    within each state. An ample time-frame
    could be established that would allow voters the opportunity to vote for or
    against any given proposed legislation.
    Once the public vote is cast, and the appropriate thresholds are met in
    each state, then our legislators would be responsible for writing the laws and
    regulations that reflect the will of the majority of their constituents,
    as indicated by the vote (despite and regardless of their personal wills,
    and the wills of their Corporate and lobbyist “owners”.) I feel certain that if such a system were in place today, better gun control would now be a non-issue. This same online system of voting could also serve as a platform for the yearly performance reviews of our legislators. Why not set up a “mock” online vote on gun
    control and/or healthcare legislation and see what you get in response? What harm could it do?

  • Connie C.

    “private sector” = code for corporations

  • GulfPundit

    You mean ALEC is doing the same things as the SEIU and NEA? And they’re effective to boot? The horror!

  • paul loch

    WRONG, those organizations are public, the membership and leadership are known.
    ALEC is private secret, no one knows who runs it, how many members, or how much they spend (bribe?) It is in every sense a shadow govt. Even a conservative has to shudder at the influence of a shadow secretive organization, whether you agree with it’s goals, or not.

  • Sinic8

    I’m not much of a “joiner”, but this ALEC thing has had me in knots since the first time it aired, I’ve been somewhat beside myself.

    So today I sent e-mails to my State Assembly Member and State Senator. In addition to asking whether they were members of ALEC, I apologized for having paid attention to Washington (DC) @ the expense of my home state. I intend to change that going forward.

    So many Progressive/Left websites focus on Washington DC – actually, they focus a lot on the “stars”: the POTUS, Speaker, Majority & Minority Leaders, old-timers who’ve become institutions themselves (for good or ill). I think we’ve really missed the boat here. The saying, “They brought a knife to a gun fight.” keeps popping up in my head.

    I also think the focus on individual issues has to be balanced by a multi-tasking kind of movement. ALEC has and continues to pull our public institutions right out from beneath our feet. Insurance, taxes, education, climate change, criminal justice, the continuous grinding down of regular perople on all fronts. Cut backs to WIC, Head Start. Chronic unemployment, millions technically homeless because of banks criminal behavior.

    The sub-prime lending bubble was fraught with its own brand of criminality (forgeries, fraud, etc.), the home foreclosure theft made victims out of those folks a second time. Then the settlement on the “robo-signing” suit, will make them victims a 3rd time. Some people (not everyone who was a victim) will receive between $840 and $1480. I’m willing to bet that doesn’t even reimburse them for one month’s mortgage.

    Homeless, unemployed, their resources exhausted (how many times did you hear people say they’ve used all their retirement savings? More than once.) They have been hit with the sequester. They’ve been threatened (we all have) with cuts to Social Security. ALEC, as we know, remains dedicated to squeezing every last nickel out of us by privatizing Medicare. It’s not bad enough that we have the Heritage Foundation’s health insurance plan as law – obligating us to pay while allowing insurance companies to increase rates. The gov’t will help those unable to pay. Gee, we might as well have gotten single-payer!

    As if all that wasn’t disgusting enough, Congress actually didn’t want people to have food stamps?! We can’t afford to make sure that the poorest among us (millions of them children) get enough to eat?! In what parallel universe does that even sound like a good idea?

    “We can’t afford it.” We can afford wars. We can afford the contract personnel and storage facility to vacuum up this post. We can afford to not prosecute a single Wall Street banker, not even Lloyd Blankfein, whose testimony before the Senate was an admission that G-S, defrauded their clients. Just because he didn’t used the word, “fraud”, doesn’t mean his firm didn’t do it. He described it himself!

    Last November, CBS thought it was a good idea to put him on the air, twice. He used the opportunity to tell the viewers that we were going to have to get used to having a lot less. We were going to have to lower our expectations. I’d say, “Right after you, Lloyd.”, but the fact is, my expectations for this country can’t get any lower.

    Wall Street, after having committed another “largest financial crime in U.S. history”: wants to rub our noses in it. How many have there been? S & L, junk bonds, 1989 crash, weak recovery throughout the nineties, recession in 2001, crash in 2008.

    Each time, our lives grow a little more difficult. Each time, just when we thought we could take a breath, we get the wind knocked out of us. By the time we figure out what happened, everything’s gone – again. Each time, it gets a little more expensive to live as you had before each criminal act sucked most of the life out of you.

    Each time, rents, transportation, food, became more expensive. Do you remember when you used to just decide on a lark, to go to the movies? Do you remember when you could find a job within 5 or 10 miles of your home? Do you remember applying for a job and even if your resume didn’t match exactly what the employer thought they wanted, they were willing to hire you, because they could see that you were willing to make the effort to learn the job and learn to do it well?

    Do you remember when cities and counties had museums that did not charge admission – ever? Did you ever just make a lunch and walk or take the bus to spend the day there? Did you ever do that with your children? Do you know WHY they did that? Because they believed that cultural enrichment was the right of every citizen. It was your government’s commitment to YOU.

    Government used to see the sense in investing in human capital. Before the word “meritocracy” slithered out of some pundit’s cynical lips, there were people in government who knew that “the bottom line”, was not the bottom line. Policy makers who understood that next Einstein had as much chance of being born poor as rich. Government believed that investing in people had no down side. Society as a whole would benefit.

    But then Reagan came along and told people that “government was the problem”. Funny how many politicians make these types of statements. Politicians. In government.

    I think a sizable number of corporate entities and the politicians who service them, no longer see the U.S. as a country. To them, we’re a sucker at the carnival, just waiting to hear the next “too good to be true” offer from some smooth-talking pitchman. They look at us, and see we still have a little meat left on our bones, some marrow that can be sucked out. They’re determined to get every last drop.

  • Anonymous

    Some of what you are arguing for is consistent with current law that is not being enforced. I favor redrawing all corporate charters so that a corporation’s first duty is “adding to human quality of life” (or similar language) rather than profit, which is by its nature opposed to human quality of life. Any corp overstepping could be subject to not only government action but shareholder suits. It’s a lot harder (and not cost effective) to buy off thousands of shareholders than a few hundred legislators.

  • William Falberg

    I think the fine point you’re missing here is that corporations aren’t subject to “overstepping” nor can any existing legal penalties be applied to them. They don’t exist in any corporeal sense so they can’t make decisions and they can’t be penalized. This amendment defines corporations as a contract between humans. The terms of that contract, the charter, becomes a law specifically applied to that corporation. Violation of that law by any of a corporation’s members becomes a punishable crime; thus, one of its intended consequences is to remove the “corporate veil”. The others concern corporate involvement in the political, economic, and educational processes that society depends on for its peaceful existence. There are all kinds of corporation; not all have thousands of stockholders. They are all tyrannical in nature. What sense does it make to incorporate society with a restrictive Constitution yet permit businessmen to incorporate their self-interests without restriction? (I know that’s somewhat simplistic but I hope you see the gist of it. ) This is the most important debate our country has faced since its inception and I’m glad to see some thinkers joining in. It’s kinda lonely out here in solution-land; the main event seems to be over in destruction-land

  • Anonymous

    I so agree about solutions being in short supply. I guess it will always be easier to criticize than reimagine. I was being a bit simplistic, too. It will take more than simply redirecting the corporate “prime directive” if only because the implication of that won’t jump out at people (look how long it took some people to realize the implications of Citizens United). However, I don’t really see people discussing redefining the corporation, and that needs to happen. We bemoan the impact of corporate money in politics without asking why corporations are lobbying against our interests. Humans created corporations, and we can recreate them to better suit our society. (As far as laws not being enforced, I was thinking of anititrust, though that has limited application. The court can “pierce the corporate veil” if it finds that an officer has abused its power. However, we don’t have a remedy when the carrying out of corporate objectives is an abuse.)

  • William Falberg

    “The court can “pierce the corporate veil”” ………………..but it’s very expensive legally and there are currently no laws that hold corporate executives
    directly responsible for criminal corporate behavior. In those few cases where a corporation is actually convicted of anything, the executives responsible are guilty of merely “mis-management” or something equally lame. By raising corporations above the law, we raise their executives above the law by default. Degrees of separation like that cry out for abuse and sociopaths are quick to take advantage. Did you follow the rest of the amendment’s attempt to keep gov’t. and business from corrupting each other? The financial leverage of political power and the political leverage of financial power almost guarantees the two will corrupt each other without draconian penalties to threaten them. It’s why our Founders separated Church and State. Same
    reason; they corrupt each other. I don’t think they teach much political philosophy in school anymore because that should be self-evident. I can’t imagine how Harvard scholars (ie; L.Lessig) rose to intellectual prominence without understanding such basic constitutional issues . That’s why I think it’s necessary to isolate all media and educational corporations from society with a legal firewall. I know it’s a slippery slope but that’s what America needs to understand and deal with. The corporate charter is the perfect place to itemize the details and if necessary juries might be used to decide “judgement calls” where corporate charters require it. As the amendment says:” according to their nature”.

  • Shelly Boatwright

    Anyone who serves ALEC should be arrested and charged with treason

  • Shelly Boatwright

    @Sinic8..Brilliant post, dead on and true. Sharing it on Facebook and everywhere else. Everything that has happened since Reagan, an ACTOR hired as their shill, is simply the advancement of the far right agenda, which if you follow it far enough ends up like every other totalitarian, tyrannical, fascist state

  • Shelly Boatwright

    If all that is true, Wisconsin has gone to the dogs.

  • Shelly Boatwright

    Private prisons charge taxpayers thousands of dollars more than government run prisons. Because they are corporations, their only obligation is to their investors. Because they are private they neither rehabilitate nor make efforts to parole prisoners. Prisoners in corporate owned prisons are not guaranteed the rights they are due as citizens and andoften wait months to see an attorney or family members. These corporations are bleeding the taxpayer–just as they “sold” the idea of endless wars for us to pay them to manage, they are now convincing communities that huge private prisons should be supported by us, stripping local budgets of money that could be spent on education and other community building programs. Private prisons are essentially legal human trafficking by corporations.

  • Shelly Boatwright

    Cheap labor, however it can be procured, is the siren song of all “good” capitalists.

  • Shelly Boatwright

    You are seeing the result of India’s prosperity translated into educational opportunities for their growing middle class, education that makes them more competitive with U.S. workers. If you take the long view, though, they are as expendable as anyone else and when the wealthy have robots they won’t need people at all. If. the workers of the world would think like global corporatists, they would form one vast international workers union and draft a basic universal Worker’s Bill of Rights that would guarantee living wages, safety and reasonable benefits. This is the only thing the capitalists are really afraid of.

  • Sinic8

    Reagan as President: surely the greatest role of his career. There are still clues around to how deep the rabbit hole goes. See Lewis Powell’s memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Paul Weyrich, founder of the Free Congress Foundation and later head of the Heritage Foundation.

  • Anonymous

    No, ALEC is not doing the same things.

  • Mikeguru

    I went to my local elected state legislator town hall meeting and asked “How many of you are members of or have been members of ALEC?”
    They all seem to squirm but one did admit he was an “old time ” member but not currently . When I looked at legislation he supported, the Privatizing of Public education and laptops for all stood out.
    He might not be a current member of ALEC but he supports ALEC ‘s agenda.

  • Anonymous

    Many of us feel we are heading towards a fascist state with control of the msm; picking winners & loosers & enlarging control of society with excetuative orders & nationalizing health care..

  • Anonymous

    Do you know the activity of George Soros & the Tide Foundation & all its many sub organzations??? I shudder what influence his shadow govt has on the admin. Power players are in both political parties & I strongly disapprove of their activity.

  • Literary Petite

    A similar (not exact) system exist in Switzerland already.

  • Anonymous

    While we’re at it, let’s make their proposed laws be put to public referendum, a result of which could involve instructions to rewrite to include new directions, and then another public referendum. Two goals of the public referendum: verify the veracity of the letter of the law to the spirit of the law (i.e., our directions about content), and to include more of the public in the process.

  • Terri EC Mom5

    I’m from Wisconsin and it’s all true. Our governor is in the Koch’s pocket. The collective bargaining rights for almost all state employees have been stripped. More than 80,000 people on any given day protested at the capitol for more than a month and still the bill passed. Then voters tried to oust that snake in a recall election and unfortunately he prevailed and is still in office. Many people I know including myself volunteered at the local labor union and worked so hard calling and door-knocking to try to get voters to recall our rotten governor and it was so disheartening that he wasn’t voted out.

  • Terri EC Mom5

    Many of those prisons also have money making businesses within their walls and have a ready-made workforce made up of essentially slave labor.

  • Terri EC Mom5

    Darn straight, Rusty.

  • Terri EC Mom5

    In Wisconsin there are many counties and cities where a person must own at least 40 acres if they want to place a mobile home on that land. At thousands of dollars per acre, how can the average working person ever afford that? My lot rent has increased every month since I moved here in 2009. I now pay $270 per month in lot rent including my property taxes which is only $22 per month. The lot rent costs more than my mortgage. I share your pain.

  • Terri EC Mom5

    Yes, you are absolutely correct.

  • Terri EC Mom5

    Has anyone seen the documentary “The Corporation”? Upon the Supreme Court ruling that the corporation was a “person” the film used the psychiatric diagnostic medical book DSM-IV to judge the mental fitness of the “corporation” judging it as if it were a person. It was fascinating.

  • Terri EC Mom5

    Many of us are listening, but what do we do now to reverse the situation?

  • Terri EC Mom5

    We are all going to be reduced to serf status no matter how talented we are or where we are born.

  • Terri EC Mom5

    I totally agree with you.

  • Terri EC Mom5

    Yes, they have. Don’t you know who Rupert Murdoch is and what he owns?

  • Jane Conrad

    ALEC will be the downfall of our nation if citizens don’t wise up. Do the member corporations think they can pass legislation that will squeeze the middle class out of existence and still make a profit? If there is no middle class there is no economy, if the economy crashes then so does our nation! Wise up people and start informing yourselves and pressuring your lawmakers to ban secret back room lobbying!

  • Wolf Braun

    Your assessment is correct Jane. Perhaps corporations see the next middle class as being more important…. China & Asia. Don’t know.

  • budduplissey

    Good God lady have you lost your mind? You blame the Conservatives for the downward spiral of this country? I think you need to check some other points of view other than where you have been getting your news. But quiet honestly you seem like one of those who couldn’t possibly admit you were wrong. Sinic has some good points and some points that sound rather biased toward the liberal movement. Please open your mind and heart to some other points of view.

  • budd

    Well Paul it’s happening on both sides though I doubt you believe that. It’s been said that “We the People” no longer decide who our politicians are going to be. Wouldn’t you say it’s about time the right and the left get together and demand term limits so these kingdom’s can’t be formed? Nope it’s all about greed from us as well as the big corporations.

  • Michell Browe

    You will know if you watch the video, Education is Knowledge< Knowledge is Power

  • alan zanetti

    Civil disobedience is the way to fight ALEC funded policies.#1Push to legalize industrial hemp farming to replace all products made from fossil fuels and reverse global warming with clean coal, oil,and gas production.Enlighten people why it became illegal.#2 Dont pay inflated student loans or medical bills not covered.A coordinated effort speaks volumes when it comes to traitors of democracy.Most important, we need to come together as one people regardless of race,religeon and culture in order to confront the devil because “divide and conquer” is the republican strategy…

  • Andrew C Livingston

    Hear, hear, Sinic8! Just a great synopsis.

  • Sinic8

    So true, Terri! When Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden first broke their story about the ubiquitous nature of the NSA’s “metadata vacuum cleaner”, Daniel Ellsberg pointed out that a number of actions formerly prohibited are now legal.
    Spying on American citizens with neither a warrant nor probable cause is something for which we can thank the vague and sinister language of the USA-PATRIOT Act. Recently, the U.S. government has openly declared its intention to further propagandize us, as though CNN, FoxNews, and MSNBC aren’t doing enough.
    I enjoyed the 3 Zeitgeist films. From the first one, I especially enjoyed the part about the creation of the Federal Reserve. (Another movie you can see on-line on this subject is called ‘The Money Masters’). The 3rd movie has those fascinating interviews with Dr. Gabor Mate & others.
    I think the vision of the ‘resource-based economy’ is a bit on the utopian side. Yet, having said that, I will give credit where its due for suggesting a solution. Even if it can’t be adopted in its entirety, perhaps parts of it can/will be.

  • Sinic8

    Thank you for your kind words.

  • Terri EC Mom5

    Another movie I really enjoyed is the documentary “The Corporation”. Since the Supreme Court decided that corporations are “people” this film takes that premise and uses the medical/psychiatric diagnostic manual to judge the mental “fitness” of the corporation as a person. It is eye opening. Thanks for the tip on the movie The Money Masters. I will have to check that out.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly! Now, to get people to, at least, go to the middle and get educated, we could really do something! I know in Michigan, we have so many that lean right that they would have our throats for having these kind of ideas! May I, please, use your paragraph to post to my FB page?

  • Dan Slaby

    We need a new Constitution to close the loopholes granting rights to corporations and churches.

  • William Falberg

    28th Amendment (aka Corporate Firewall Amendment)
    Corporations are not persons and shall be granted only those rights and privileges that Congress deems necessary for the well-being of the People. Congress shall provide legislation defining the terms and conditions of corporate charters according to their purpose; which shall include, but are not limited to:
    1, prohibitions against any corporation;
    a, owning another corporation,
    b, becoming economically indispensable or monopolistic, or
    c, otherwise distorting the general economy;
    2, prohibitions against any form of intervention in the affairs of government by means of;
    a, congressional lobbying
    b, electoral sponsorship or advocacy
    c, educational sponsorship or publication
    d, media news reporting
    3, provisions for;
    a, the auditing of standardized, current, and transparent account books
    b, closing the FRB and the establishment of state-owned banks
    c, civil and criminal penalties to be suffered by corporate executives et al for violation of the terms of a corporate charter.

    Optional: (or possible 29th amendment)
    The 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution is hereby repealed and Congress shall re-write the U.S. Code to reflect the changes embodied herein.

    (While we’re at it, we could also repeal the 17th amendment)

  • William Falberg

    28th Amendment (aka Corporate Firewall Amendment)
    Corporations are not persons and shall be granted only those rights and privileges that Congress deems necessary for the well-being of the People. Congress shall provide legislation defining the terms and conditions of corporate charters according to their purpose; which shall include, but are not limited to:
    1, prohibitions against any corporation;
    a, owning another corporation,
    b, becoming economically indispensable or monopolistic, or
    c, otherwise distorting the general economy;
    2, prohibitions against any form of intervention in the affairs of government by means of;
    a, congressional lobbying
    b, electoral sponsorship or advocacy
    c, educational sponsorship or publication
    d, media news reporting
    3, provisions for;
    a, the auditing of standardized, current, and transparent account books
    b, closing the FRB and the establishment of state-owned banks
    c, civil and criminal penalties to be suffered by corporate executives et al for violation of the terms of a corporate charter.
    Optional: (or possible 29th amendment)
    The 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution is hereby repealed and Congress shall re-write the U.S. Code to reflect the changes embodied herein.
    (While we’re at it, we could also repeal the 17th amendment)

  • alan zanetti

    If ALEC had been around during the colonial period in America,it’s members would be tarred and feathered as scoundrels and traitors.Power to the people in unity together in Chicago.Never fear the wicked for they are dim witted and dull!

  • AK

    It starts within your state. There are lists of each state that specifies which representatives are members of ALEC. I’m from Oregon, I’ve e-mailed all of them, warning them nicely. I told them I’m going to expose them, and make it known. Do the same, spread the word. I’m starting up a website that solely focuses on this and we need to work on it together across the country.

  • Anonymous

    agree. i always stuck up for the government, saying it is us, “we the people.” It was as you said the kind of government that belived in human capital. but with ALEC,and corporate capitalism we will have to shout like the tea party, “give me back my freedom, give us back our constitution.” Very strange.

  • Anonymous

    yes, and now they want to name the waters around some Pacific Islands after Reagan. They keep trying to create this myth about him, and he really did so much damage.

  • Anonymous

    can’t figure out how the right, keeps saying the media is so liberal. Seems to me it is all right wing except for Democracy, Bill Moyers, and the Nation

  • Anonymous

    Nationalizing health is good not fascist. Having us pay billions to the Blackwaters of this war machine, creating torture prisins, droning, and lying to us to keep us in endless war for their profit is fascist.

  • Anonymous

    Either way it sounds like big govt is running our lives & pocket book..

  • Jack Adams


  • Anonymous

    Watching the video, learning some distressing stuff here.

  • Theresa Riley

    Absolutely. Do you need a DVD? Let us know. – Theresa @ Moyers

  • Diesel

    Good to know who is running the show

  • Josh Gambin

    Right now 8 states are looking to pass ALEC written laws to turn federal public lands over to state control. Bundy ranch is just a distraction. The entire nation needs to know.

  • LeefellerGuy

    Boycott all ALEC supporting corporations and companies, they are the problem.

  • DougNTexas

    Almost all news organizations are owned by far right wing Corporations. The joke is on us about the liberal media.. It barely exists any more.

  • DougNTexas

    yep, you nailed it. General Eisenhower warned us in his last speech. It has all come to past. Now everything is top secret while the alphabet agencies control ever bit of our lives. Congress no longer works for the people of America. Congress now works for Corporate America.

  • DougNTexas

    There is a public referendum ever 2 years in the House and every 6 years in the Senate. We keep sending the same crooks right back to Washington DC year after year after year.

  • bobcat4evah

    ALEC is a terrorist organization. They dress in suits, use more subtle methods but cause more environmental and economic damage than all the screaming rage infected groups in the middle east and Africa put together. If the msm paid as much attention to ALEC’s evil doings as they do to IS, AQ etc, the public would indeed be terrified. Keep after them, Bill!!

  • Anonymous

    Glad to here your agreement. Another thought. These right wing corporations never pay a thing for their campaign adds because they own the media and are just paying themselves. Something stinks about that. Ps driving Texas hill country is beautiful.

  • DougNTexas

    That is a great place to drive through. I live near Henderson in East Texas.

  • Anonymous

    DougNTexas, you’re referencing the elections of representatives, which is more general than what I’m thinking of. I’m thinking that each and every bill, act, law gets vetted by a process which involves the public. Sure it will slow things down a bit, but the present helter-skelter pace is causing existing and future disasters, both in social policy and environmental policy.

  • Anonymous

    Many of us have know about this for years. Why is it taking so long for our political leaders to get the word.

  • Anonymous

    “Stand Your Ground” laws were hatched in the evil belly of ALEC.

  • Anonymous

    Then on to the equally destructive Chamber of Commerce.