Editor’s note: The local Democratic Party kicked off a weekly blog last week with a call to action in response to the July meeting of the American Legislative Council in San Diego. We’re told there are several more articles in this same vein coming, so we’ll be sharing them with our readers as a public service over the next few weeks. We think you’ll agree that it’s important to stand together to voice opposition to these purveyors of reactionary legislation as they meet in San Diego.
By Francine Busby
Communications and coalition-building are both essential to the success of our Party, so it’s fitting that my first post shares the news about the upcoming San Diego meeting of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), a shadowy front group that spawns anti-woman, anti-voter, anti-environmental, anti-worker, and other extreme legislation across the country.
On Wednesday, July 22, we have an opportunity – here in our own back yard – to educate, organize, and loudly oppose ALEC along with the corporate interests that fund it and the harmful policies it promotes. I invite you to join the Democratic Party, workers, community groups, faith leaders, and other allies in a massive protest when the organization holds its annual meeting at the Manchester Grand Hyatt downtown.
It’s time to pull back the curtain and shine a bright light on this organization’s methods and reach. The watchdog group ALEC Exposed puts it well:
ALEC has long been a secretive collaboration between big business and “conservative” politicians. Behind closed doors, they ghostwrite “model” bills to be introduced in state capitols across the country. This agenda – underwritten by global corporations – includes major tax loopholes for big industries and the super-rich, proposals to offshore U.S. jobs and gut minimum wage, and efforts to weaken public health, safety, and environmental protections.
The resulting laws have reshaped American life state by state, from curbing consumer rights and gun safety to privatizing schools and prisons. Meanwhile, the true authorship and funding behind ALEC bills is rarely disclosed to the public.
Most insidiously, ALEC strikes at the heart of our democracy by undermining voters’ rights everywhere it can. When Barack Obama was first elected President, it used Republican state legislative majorities to pass voter ID laws across the country, effectively disenfranchising millions of students, people of color, and elderly or disabled voters.
The Supreme Court case that gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013 was driven by Ed Blum, whose “Project on Fair Representation” is funded by the same donors as ALEC. (He’s at it again with case that would redraw political districts based on the number of voters rather than people, cutting some 50 million unregistered voters out of representation altogether.)
It goes without saying that ALEC has pushed to oppose public financing of elections, political contribution disclosures, and laws that would limit misleading statements in campaign ads.
We must mobilize to expose and shame the group’s corporate backers, which include Exxon Mobil, Pfizer, Altria, and Koch Industries, as well as politicians like San Diego County’s own Senator Joel Anderson, who serves on ALEC’s Board of Directors.
When ALEC comes to town, we’ll have a chance to stand up, speak out, and say “Not in California! Not in San Diego!” Click here to show your support and sign up to get more information about the protest on July 22. And please spread the word! We can help reclaim rights for all Americans by coming together for this important cause.