Witch hunter Joseph McCarthy would be proud of ALEC. So proud! Like McCarthy, the shadowy corporate lobby group wants oaths of allegiance.
McCarthy demanded loyalty pledges to the United States. ALEC, by contrast, wants its lawmaker members to vow first allegiance to ALEC.
ALEC (All Legislation Enhancing Corporations) asked the legislators it appoints as state directors to raise their right wings and swear: "I will act with care and loyalty and put the interests of the organization first."
ALEC first. Before the lawmaker's constituents. Before the interests of the lawmaker's state. Before the constitution of the United States. ALEC asked its lawmakers to forsake their oaths of office and swear fidelity instead to the organization that wines, dines, indulges and indoctrinates them with buckets full of corporate cash. The ALEC loyalty oath clarifies the allegiance of the 1,810 state legislators that ALEC claims as members. They see their primary duty as serving corporations, specifically the corporations that give millions to ALEC.
ALEC (the sham that calls itself the American Legislative Exchange Council) is a secretive corporate front group that solicits money from corporations and spends it flying lawmaker-members to conferences in swanky settings where they help corporate members write legislation to fatten the corporate bottom line. The lawmakers take ALEC legislation back to their states, where they often introduce it word-for-corporate-written-word, sometimes with the ALEC logo still affixed to the pages.
This process effectively eliminates those pesky voters from lawmaking. ALEC is the middle man bringing corporations and lawmakers together, facilitating a process in which corporations craft legislation for themselves, then lawmakers, all fat and happy on the corporate dime, take that legislation home and get it passed. No citizen input needed, thank you.
"Stand your ground laws" are an ALEC achievement. These shoot-first-ask-questions-later decrees create deadly situations like the one in which George Zimmerman walked free after shooting unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
Shoot first laws are great for gun manufacturers, assuring no liability for hotheads who rashly use their products. Florida's shoot first law wasn't so great for Trayvon Martin. And, as it turns out, shoot first wasn't great for ALEC, which lost about 400 lawmaker members and at least 40 significant corporate sponsors as a result of publicity linking ALEC to the shoot first laws and other legislation detrimental to citizens, such as ALEC's voter suppression legislation requiring citizens to perform backflips through flaming hoops before exercising their most basic right in a democracy.
ALEC documents leaked to The Guardian newspaper reveal the shadow group's latest campaign to enrich corporate members at the expense of citizens. ALEC wants homeowners who have bought and installed solar panels or wind turbines to pay utility companies to accept the excess electricity they generate.
When utilities get power from oil or coal-fired generators or nuclear plants, they pay for it. But ALEC's energy industry members want homeowners who produce renewable energy to be treated differently. They want homeowners who produce green electricity to pay the utility to take it, and then the utility would sell it.
The utility gets paid by both the energy producer and user! It's a win-win, where the utility wins twice. For green energy producers and consumers, it's a lose-lose.
Such legislation is the reason ALEC needs that loyalty oath - to get lawmakers to swear to serve corporations and ignore constituents.
ALEC claims it didn't adopt the loyalty oath. But citizens have no way of knowing if that's true because ALEC's meetings are clandestine affairs, no reporters or citizens allowed. Documents leaked to The Guardian newspaper reveal that ALEC proposed the oath at its August meeting. It's contained in a massive list of duties for state legislative coordinators, a list so long that it's not clear when coordinators would have time to work for the citizens of their state, a list complete with an agreement signature sheet where the coordinator would swear to complete the work for ALEC.
ALEC met again last week. Maybe it adopted the loyalty oath then. Again, the public doesn't know because ALEC excluded reporters and citizens from its work sessions. It allowed reporters only to attend speeches by Republican publicity seekers such as Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who insisted on shutting down the government for 16 days in a failed attempt to kill the Affordable Care Act and deny millions health insurance.
Cruz said he loves ALEC almost as much as he loves seeing his own face on television. Then he slandered Sen. Dick Durbin, who conducted hearings earlier this year on ALEC's role in propagating shoot first laws.