December 3, 2013

 

Documents leaked today from an ALEC annual board meeting from August show at least 50 members of the Indiana General Assembly are members of the rightwing lobbying group. The internal documents cast a negative light on the inner workings of the group.

 

The documents highlight, among other things, a decline in legislative and corporate membership. By ALEC’s own account, the organization has lost almost 400 state legislators as members in the last 2 years. However, ALEC highlights Indiana in its report as having an over 40% gain in legislative members.

 

The leaked documents also include an agreement for the organization’s “State Chairs,” which consist of state legislators from each state. The state chair agreement contains language stating that the state chair must commit that: "I will act with care and loyalty and put the interests of the organization first."

 

The ALEC state chairs for Indiana are Sen. Jim Buck and Rep. David A. Wolkins.

 

According to the British newspaper, The Guardian, who reported on the leaked documents:

• Alec has set up a separate sister group called the "Jeffersonian Project" amid concerns over possible government inquiries into whether its activities constitute lobbying – which would threaten its tax-exempt status;

• the network has suffered a decline in its membership among state-based Republicans and among big corporations following the Trayvon Martin controversy;

• its income raised from conferences, membership fees and donations has fallen short, leaving the group with a potential funding crisis;

• a draft agreement prepared for the board meeting proposed that Alec's chairs in each of the 50 states, who are drawn from senior legislators, should be required to put the interests of the organization first, thus setting up a possible conflict of interest with the voters who elected them;

• Alec also considered extending its remit to include the gambling industry, particularly online gambling, as a possible source of new members and revenue.

As we wrote yesterday, Governor Mike Pence who is also a member of ALEC, is the group’s keynote speaker at its annual policy summit on Friday.