Koch: ALEC Another Lobbying Group that is Affecting You, Wi-Fi and Cable
Note: I was just finishing this up last night when the massive earthquake hit Japan. It is important to continue our vigilance on the Koch influence in recent union busting and attacks on public education.
The Koch brothers spread their money around. They back all kinds of lobbying groups – minions – to do their bidding. These guys are the poster boys for collective cultural narcissism.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was established in 1973 by Paul M. Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation. Superficially, ALEC’s membership is mostly made up of thousands of state legislators, each of whom pays a nominal membership fee to attend ALEC’s retreats and receive model legislation. ALEC’s corporate contributors, though, pay far more to gain access to legislators and distribute to them corporate-crafted legislation. Thus, while ALEC’s membership appears to be mostly from the public sector, the groups funding is almost entirely private sector. In reality, ALEC’s public-sector membership dues account for only around one percent of ALEC’s annual revenues. 81.7% of ALEC’s income comes from corporations, while just 1.3% comes from legislator dues.
ALEC claims to be nonpartisan, but its free-market and pro-business goals are clear. The result of ALEC’s efforts has been a consistent pipeline of special interest legislation being funneled into state capitols across the United States. In 2009 ALEC was responsible for 826 bills being introduced into state houses across the country, of which 115 were enacted into law.
ALEC’s budget was previously reported to $5,025,388. According to Media Transparency ALEC had received 53 grants over the period 1985-2002 totalling $2.836 million from a handful of right-wing foundations.
The foundations that have donated to ALEC include:
* Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
* Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation
* Allegheny Foundation
* Castle Rock Foundation
* JM Foundation
* Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
* John M. Olin Foundation
– Anti-healthcare reform
– Telecom fronting
– Tobacco Industry Ally
Let’s look at Telecom fronting — do you like your iPhone? Think again. And does your city want to offer broadband and Wi-Fi? Think again. I have seen these law suits to block their implementation.
“In telecommunications and broadband ALEC’s private sector members include AT&T, BellSouth, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, SBC Communications (now merged with AT&T), Sprint, Verizon Communications and more,” wrote TeleTruth’s Bruce Kushnick in November 2007.
ALEC’s model legislation on telecom issues includes the “Advanced Voice Services Availability Act of 2007,” “Broadband Parity Act,” “Cable and Video Competition Act,” and the “Municipal Telecommunications Private Industry Safeguards Act.”
These “bills have been showing up in states to block municipalities from offering broadband, to give AT&T and Verizon statewide cable franchises with no restrictions, to wipe out public accountability and gut consumer protections. They would block competitors and eliminate as many regulations as they can get away with,” Kushnick wrote. He gave the example of ALEC’s broadband bill, which according to Muniwireless.com, would “make it easier for state legislatures to pass anti-municipal broadband laws.”
Kinda makes you sick……eh?