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The Center for Media and Democracy publishes this wiki, SourceWatch.

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Lisa Graves, Executive Director

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Featured Work

ALEC Fumes: Transparency Threatens Corporate Free Speech!

by Brendan Fischer

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After spending hundreds of millions of undisclosed funds on state and federal elections, the corporate members of the American Legislative Exchange Council are demanding that state legislators preserve their "right" to anonymously spend money on politics and curry favor with elected officials, and to thwart shareholder efforts to hold the corporations they own accountable.

A December 3 workshop titled "Playing the Shame Game: A Campaign that Threatens Corporate Free Speech," held at ALEC's meeting this week in Washington, DC, warned of "an increasing chorus of anti-business activists calling for an end to corporate political participation in the name of ferreting out so-called 'dark money," according to an agenda obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy. Panelists set their sights on campaign finance disclosure laws and shareholder proposals aimed at promoting transparency in corporate political spending.

It is little surprise that corporate interests would peddle secrecy to the hundreds of Republican state legislators at ALEC.

Read the rest of this item here.


Koch-Tied Group Pushes New Union Busting Bill in Wisconsin

by Brendan Fischer and Mary Bottari

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Just weeks after Wisconsin's controversial Governor Scott Walker was elected to a second term, a group with ties to the billionaire Koch brothers has launched a new effort to destroy unions.

In 2011, Wisconsin passed Act 10, a complex bill that forced public sector unions to re-certify annually, made it harder for unions to collect dues, and eliminated the incentive of people to join unions by severely limiting issues on the bargaining table. The bill was designed to destroy public sector unions, a powerful force in Democratic politics in the state, and subsequently union membership dropped dramatically.

Now out-of-state special interests and the Wisconsin GOP will use that drop in membership to argue that private sector workers deserve the same "choice." The poison pill for private sector unions likely be a model bill from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) with the Orwellian name of "right to work." Read the rest of this item here.


President Walker? Five Things You Should Know About Scott (Calvin) Walker

by Mary Bottari

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is walking and talking a lot like he is running for President of the United States. The Wisconsin governor who famously told his cabinet that he was inspired by Ronald Reagan to kill Wisconsin unions is throwing his hat into the ring, and Walker is garnering kudos from good friends like government-slayer Grover Norquist.

Grover is banging the drum for a Walker presidency, writing rapturously about how Walker is much like Calvin Coolidge, who busted the police unions as governor of Massachusetts. He fails to note that Calvin’s minimalist approach to his presidency between 1923 and 1929 helped bring about the Great Depression. Read the rest of this item here.


Monsanto Sues Maui for Direct Democracy, Launches New PR Campaign

by Rebekah Wilce

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Residents of Maui County, Hawai'i voted on November 4 to ban the growing of genetically modified (GMO) crops on the islands of Maui, Lanai, and Molokai until scientific studies are conducted on their safety and benefits. Monsanto and Dow Chemical's unit Mycogen Seeds have sued the county in federal court to stop the law passed by the people.

In Vermont, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA, of which Monsanto and Dow were recently listed as members) has sued the state over its law requiring GMO labels. And Monsanto has a history of suing to prevent consumer labeling regarding its products.

Read the rest of this item here.


What Rightwing Media Gets Wrong about the Reagan and Bush Immigration Orders

by Brendan Fischer

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Republicans and right-wing media are in panic mode. They've spent weeks describing President Obama as an "emperor" or a "monarch" for using his executive authority to grant a reprieve to some undocumented immigrants -- and are now faced with evidence that Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did the same thing.

They are trying, and failing, to claim that Reagan's and Bush's uses of executive authority on immigration were different than Obama's. Here is what they get wrong. Read the rest of this item here.


Should Obama Use Executive Action on Immigration? Ask Ronald Reagan

by Brendan Fischer

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Republicans and right-wing groups like the Heritage Foundation are howling that President Obama will use executive action to defer deportation for some undocumented immigrants -- and trying to deny that Republican presidents like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush led the way, and in some ways extended their authority even beyond Obama's plans.

Obama's planned executive action would not grant undocumented immigrants a "green card" or citizenship -- only Congress can do that -- but would instead grant a reprieve for the same people that would be affected by the comprehensive immigration reform bill, which passed the U.S. Senate and likely has majority support in the U.S. House.

Read the rest of this item here.


Recent Articles from PRWatch.org

Broad Coalition Supports Petition to Protect Monarch Butterflies

by Rebekah Wilce

The world's population of Monarch butterflies has been declining for at least the last ten years, according to researchers at the University of Kansas. Some estimates suggest a 90 percent drop since 1994.

Scientific studies by the University of Kansas, University of Guelph, and others point to the increasing use of Monsanto's herbicide Roundup and the rise of genetically modified crops (GMOs) designed to resist such herbicides as one possible cause of the decline. Read the rest of this item here.


Fat on Restaurant Cash, Democratic Lawmakers Float Minimum Wage Preemption in IL

by Brendan Fischer

Democratic state legislators in Illinois are mulling an effort to thwart Chicago's effort to raise its minimum wage, even as they raise the state wage above the national average. And the state National Restaurant Association affiliate is eating it up.

Efforts to "preempt" local governments from enacting a higher minimum wage is most closely associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which counts the National Restaurant Association among its members and has long pushed bills like the “Living Wage Preemption Act." At ALEC's meeting next month in Washington, DC, "Minimum Wage Preemption Policies" will be at the top of the agenda. Read the rest of this item here.


Edelman TransCanada Leak: Aggressive PR for Keystone Alt

by Lisa Graves

Leaked documents expose a plan by Edelman for TransCanada to launch an "aggressive" American-style policy/politics PR campaign to persuade Canadians to support a Canada-based alternative to the stalled Keystone XL pipeline to get controversial tar sands oil to refineries in eastern Canada for export.

But, according to the documents, this Canada-centric campaign would actually be run out of an office in Washington, DC. And the digital campaign is being led by a rightwing American political operative employed by the world's largest public relations firm. Read the rest of this item here.


ALEC Support Drops 19 Percent in 2013

by Brendan Fischer

The embattled American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) lost nearly 20 percent in grant revenue between 2012 and 2013 according to new tax filings, reflecting the financial hit that the "corporate bill mill" has suffered as it has been dragged into the sunlight and its corporate members have fled.

ALEC's contributions and grants dropped from $7,216,208 in 2012, to $5,825,882 in 2013, according to the organization's tax filings made available November 14. This amounts to a loss of $1,390,326, or a 19 percent drop. This is about the lowest its been since 2009, after numbers are adjusted for inflation.

The group's expenses remained largely unchanged, and ALEC ended 2013 with a $1,188,421 deficit. Read the rest of this item here.


Emerson Electric Latest to Confirm ALEC Exit Change, Renewables and Voting Rights

by Nick Surgey

Emerson Electric is the latest corporation to confirm it has ended funding for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), joining a notable wave of recent corporate defectors that has included Microsoft, Google, Facebook, AOL and Yahoo.

Emerson first revealed that it ended its association in discussions with Walden Asset Management, which has engaged the corporation over its affiliation with ALEC. An Emerson spokesperson confirmed this to CMD, but refused to provide further details about the reason for its decision or precisely when the relationship ended. The equipment manufacturer, which employees more than 131,000 people and has annual revenue of nearly $25 billion, has faced pressure from shareholders for several years over its relationship with ALEC. Read the rest of this item here.


ALEC and Big Oil Work to Overturn Denton Fracking Ban

by Jessica Mason

The residents of Denton, Texas, had a remarkable victory over Big Oil in the midterm elections, becoming the first town in Texas to pass a ban on hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. But now state officials with ties to energy interests and to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the pay-to-play corporate bill mill, are threatening to undermine local democracy by refusing to follow the ban.

The chair of the Texas Railroad Commission, Christi Craddick, stated that she would not abide by the ban at an event held by the Texas Tribune on November 6. “It’s my job to give permits, not Denton’s. We’re going to continue permitting up there because that’s my job,” Craddick said. Read the rest of this item here.


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Editors' Pick

More Corporations Flee as ALEC Rolls Out Its Legislative Agenda

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Only nine funders of the American Legislative Exchange Council's annual winter meeting in Washington, DC, are listed on ALEC's conference brochure this year.

The small number comes at a time when ALEC is crowing about the November 4 elections, which swept in more Republican legislators and potential recruits for ALEC's operations--where elected lawmakers vote as equals with corporations behind closed doors on "model' bills to change Americans' rights.

The way ALEC works has been called a "corporate dating service" by U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, who has observed ALEC's closed-door votes of corporate lobbyists and state legislators. But with nearly 100 private sector funders having left ALEC since CMD launched ALECexposed.org in 2011 and citizens across the country began learning about how special interests wine and dine lawmakers through ALEC to push controversial bills into law, ALEC brochures listing corporate sponsors are not as full as they used to be. (The list of sponsors is here.)

Read the rest of this item here..


An Embattled ALEC, Buoyed by Election Results, Lays Blueprint for 2015

by Brendan Fischer

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The midterm elections may have given the embattled American Legislative Exchange Council a new lease on life. ALEC has been bleeding corporate members, but with Republicans now in control of 68 out of 98 state legislative bodies, there are fewer impediments to the enactment of the corporate-friendly legislation that ALEC peddles -- and in early December, ALEC and the corporations that still fund it will likely lay out the legislative blueprint for 2015 at the ALEC States & Nation Policy Summit in Washington, DC.

Yet, the actual policy ideas that ALEC promotes are less popular than ever. Republican and Democratic voters across the country voted overwhelmingly in favor of increasing the minimum wage on election day -- which ALEC and ALEC funders like the National Restaurant Association have long opposed -- and not surprisingly, a top agenda item at ALEC's December meeting is aimed at thwarting efforts to raise the wage.

Read the rest of this item here.


Follow the Money! Wiki Resource

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The Center for Media and Democracy, publisher of ALEC Exposed, brings you this unique wiki resource on the billionaire industrialists and the power and influence of the Koch cadre and Koch cash.

Read about Koch Funding Vehicles:

The Kochs' Anti-Civil Rights Roots

Vist Koch Exposed for more.

Watch the Video!

Watch Lisa Graves talk about her new article, "The Koch Cartel: Their Reach, Their Reactionary Agenda and Their Record."

Read the article here.


Featured Video

Outsourcing America, Privatization Bites Back

Outsourcing America, Privatization Bites Back




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