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Friday, April 27, 2012

A Fight Bigger Than ALEC | Editorial, The Nation

This journal editorial is about the wealthy, powerful American Legislative Exchange Council, a certified, supposedly "nonprofit" organization that has operated for nearly 40 years with little notice. The editorial describes ALEC's goals and methods--and the consequences after they became public. ALEC is:
... quietly connecting corporate interests with conservative legislators to impose one-size-fits-all “model legislation” on the states. Since ALEC’s secrets began leaking last year, however, its corporate members have been subjected to the sort of scrutiny—and antipathy—that CEOs and investors find most unsettling.
Fortunately, various corporations--from Pepsi and Coca-Cola to Kraft Foods and Intuit, as well as the Bill and Medina Gates Foundation--have announced they're dropping their memberships.

The Nation highlights the success of the campaign to reveal ALEC publicly:
[O]n April 17 ALEC announced it would shut down the Public Safety and Elections task force, which had spawned “shoot first” laws, voter ID rules, prison privatization schemes and measures to crack down on immigrants.
This is a big deal. A year ago most Americans had never heard of ALEC. ...
However, the editorial describes other continuing concerns, such as ALEC's IRS designation as a charity that can accept tax-deductible contributions, and it concludes this way [emphasis added]:
The Nation has teamed up with Colorlines.com to cast a vigilant eye on such anti-democratic efforts in the coming months, while also campaigning for universal voter registration. The best way to undo the damage done by ALEC is to replace voter suppression laws with voter engagement laws, which give power to the people—and remove it from ALEC’s backroom dealers.
If you're interested in getting into the act and need some help, check out Garbl's Action Writing Links. It's an annotated directory of websites that can help you get people to read your writing, keep readers interested and persuade them to respond while they're reading or afterward. In a democracy, we each have the right and the responsibility to speak out on matters that concern us.

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