Paul M. Weyrich
Almost two years after the American Legislative Exchange Council was founded in Illinois in 1973, Weyrich took over its operations and moved the group to Washington, DC, co-housing it with the Heritage Foundation, which he founded. He was not a founder of ALEC, but he directed it in the late 1970s and played a key role in advising its operations in its first two decades.
He was also the founder and president of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation from 1977 to 2002 and continued to help lead that organization until his death. For a brief period, from 1989 to 1996, Weyrich led the Kreible Institute of the Free Congress Foundation, which focused on former Eastern bloc nations.
Weyrich was also a National Chairman of Coalitions for America.
Weyrich Famously Urged Making It Harder for Americans to Vote
One of ALEC’s founders was right- wing political apparatchik Paul Weyrich, a Racine native who famously said: “I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people – they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Weyrich made this statement while he was helping to steer ALEC and other rightwing groups in the early 1980s.
This spirit is reflected in ALEC’s push for legislation to make it harder for Americans to vote through strict “voter ID” laws, which purport to address the statistically insignificant existent (but greatly hyped) issue of voter fraud and which has the very real effect of making it harder for students, people of color, and the elderly to cast ballots. University of Wisconsin professor Kenneth Mayer testified that more than 220,000 people in Wisconsin lack the specific kinds of identification required to vote under Wisconsin's version of that ALEC bill. 
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our ExposedbyCMD.org site.
"A former reporter and radio news director, Mr. Weyrich [was] a regular guest on daily radio and television talk shows. A sought-after writer, Mr. Weyrich has published policy reports and journals on a variety of conservative issues and has contributed editorials to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.
"He [was] described by The Economist as 'one of the conservative movement's more vigorous thinkers.' Voted three years in a row from 1981 - 1983 by readers of Conservative Digest as one of the top three 'most popular conservatives in America not in Congress,' Mr. Weyrich was named by Regardie's Magazine as 'one of the 100 most powerful Washingtonians.'"
"He has been married since 1963 to the former Joyce Smigun, is the father of five children, and serves as a deacon in his church. Age: 57. Born in Racine, Wisconsin, married to Joyce Smigun Weyrich, July 6, 1963."
In an interview with The Hill, Weyrich noted that the rise of conservatives within Congress had led to groups such as his having greater influence through groups such as the Conservative Working Group (CWG) and the Senate Republican Steering Committee.
Weyrich headed the CWG when it was first established in 1974. "When we first started [in 1974], we didn't really have anyone in leadership favorable to our point of view," he said. 
"We had to figure out ways to get around them. â?¦ Today, it's entirely different. Today, we have the most conservative leadership group in the modern history of Senate. â?¦ The Steering Committee under these circumstances is taken very seriously," he told The Hill. 
Mr. Weyrich died December 18, 2008 at age 66.
- "We are different from previous generations of conservatives. We are no longer working to preserve the status quo. We are radicals, working to overturn the present power structure of this country." (John Soloma's 1984 book, Ominous Politics: the new conservative labyrinth, Hill and Wang, New York ISBN: 0809072955 0809001594).
Background and positions
- President, Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, 1977 - 2008.
- President, The Krieble Institute of Free Congress Foundation (responsible for training democracy movements in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Empire) 1989 - 1996.
- Member, Board of Directors, Open Debates.
- Member, Board of Directors, The Freedom and Democracy Institute of Russia, 1997 - 2008.
- Executive Committee, Council for National Policy, through 2008.
- Treasurer, Council for National Policy, 1981 - 1992.
- National Chairman, Coalitions for America, 1978 - present.
- Director, American Legislative Exchange Council, 1975 - 1978, and advisor 1975-1995.
- Founding President, The Heritage Foundation, 1973 - 1974.
- President, Chief Operating Officer, NET - now America's Voice, public affairs cable channel, April 1991 - October 1997.
- Host, Direct Line (Daily talk show on America's Voice), December 1993 - December 1998.
- Co-host, Endangered Liberties weekly syndicated TV show on the privacy/technology issues, April 1999 - present.
- Executive Producer and Host, Public Disclosure syndicated Investigative show, February 1995 - present.
- Member, Board of Directors, NET - now America's Voice, 1991 - 1998.
- Political Commentator, BBC, 1989, 1992.
- Executive Co-Publisher, Conservative Digest, 1988; Senior Editor, 1985 - 1988; Columnist, 1980 - 1990.
- Member, Board of Advisors, Texas Review, University of Texas, Austin, 1986 - 1991.
- Radio Commentator, Listen America Radio Network, 1985 - 1988.
- Member, Board of Directors, Helen Broadcasting Corporation; WEEI Newsradio, Boston, Massachusetts, January 1984 - May 1990.
- Publisher, Election Politics Journal 1983 - 1988; Journal of Family and Culture, 1984 - 1988; and Empowerment!, 1991 - 1994.
- Publisher, Family, Law & Democracy Report, 1979 - 1990; The Political Report, 1977 - 1990.
- Moderator, Colorado television show from U.S. Senate, 1967 - 1972.
- Substitute host, The Michael Reagan Show, The Alan Keyes Show, WMAL, Newstalk 630, Washington.
- Press Secretary, U.S. Senator Gordon Allott (Republican, Colorado), 1967 - 1971.
- News Director, KQXI, Denver, Colorado, 1966.
- Political Reporter, Weekend Anchorman, CBS - Milwaukee, 1964 - 1965.
- Reporter (City Hall, state politics), Milwaukee Sentinel, 1963 - 1964.
- News Director, Announcer, Program Director, WLIP, WAXO-FM, Kenosha, Wisconsin, 1960 - 1963.
- Op-ed Contributor, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, etc.
- Former advisor, Cedars Cultural & Educational Foundation
Also see Free Congress Foundation web site for Weyrich's connections to the Transportation industry and more on his political connections.
Related Sourcewatch resources
- Paul M. Weyrich (attributed to), The most important legacy of Joe Coors, web posted March 24, 2003.
- Josephine Hearn, "Quietly, the right shapes its agenda", The Hill, October 5, 2004.
- ALEC Exposed in Wisconsin: The Hijacking of a State, ALEC Exposed, May 2012
- Maria Stainer, Washington Times  December 18, 2008