The American Legislative Exchange Council is America’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism.
ALEC’s activities, while legal, received public scrutiny after being reported by liberal groups in 2011 and after news reports from outlets such as The New York Times and Bloomberg Businessweek described ALEC as an organization that gave corporate interests outsized influence. Resulting public pressure led to a number of legislators and corporations withdrawing from the organization.
ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through the secretive meetings of the American Legislative Exchange Council, corporate lobbyists and state legislators vote as equals on ‘model bills’ to change our rights that often benefit the corporations’ bottom line at public expense. ALEC is a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on ‘task forces’ to advance their legislative wish lists and can get a tax break for donations, effectively passing these lobbying costs on to taxpayers.
Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board. (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.) Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations.
Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills.
ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law. ALEC describes itself as a “unique,” “unparalleled” and “unmatched” organization. We agree. It is as if a state legislature had been reconstituted, yet corporations had pushed the people out the door.
- 1 ALEC FAQ
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 PRWatch.org site.
For a more complete list of current and former ALEC formerly “Private Enterprise” Advisory Council (formerly “Private Enterprise” Board of Directors) members, see the “Private Enterprise” Board of Directors list. Advisory council corporations have included (members as of June 2014 in bold):
- SAP America, Steve Seale – National Chair – Resigned from ALEC on November 6, 2014 (due to ALEC policies on climate change, renewable energy, guns and voting rights.)
- American Bail Coalition, William Carmichael – Vice Chair
- American Water, was a “Trustee’s” level funder of ALEC’s 2016 Annual Conference.
- Altria Group, Daniel Smith, “Vice Chair” level sponsor of ALEC’s 2016 Annual Conference ($25,000).
- AT&T, William Leahy, “Vice Chair” level sponsor of ALEC’s 2016 Annual Conference ($25,000).
- Coca-Cola Refreshments, Gene Rackley (Coke announced on April 4, 2012, that it had “elected to discontinue its membership with” ALEC.) See Corporations that Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
- Diageo, Kenneth Lane
- Energy Future Holdings, Sano Blocker
- ExxonMobil Corporation, Cynthia Bergman, was a “Chair” level sponsor of ALEC’s 2016 Annual Conference ($50,000).
- GlaxoSmithKline, John Del Giorno (GlaxoSmithKline CEO Sir Andrew Witty said in a response to a shareholder’s question at the company’s annual meeting in May 2013 that the company had decided to sever its relationship with ALEC) See Corporations that Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
- Intuit, Inc., Bernie McKay. Member of ALEC’s Communications and Technology Task Force  (Intuit told the CMD April 5, 2012 that it had declined to renew ALEC membership) See Corporations Which Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
- Johnson & Johnson, Don Bohn (J&J announced it would “suspend” its ALEC membership June 12, 2012)
- Koch Companies Public Sector, Mike Morgan
- Kraft Foods, Inc., Derek Crawford (Kraft announced it would leave ALEC April 5, 2012) See Corporations Which Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
- NetChoice, Steve DelBianco
- Peabody Energy, Kelly Mader
- Pfizer Inc., Michael Hubert
- PhRMA, Jeff Bond
- Reed Elsevier, Inc., Teresa Jennings (Reed Elsevier announced on April 12, 2012, that it had resigned its board seat and dropped its ALEC membership “after considering the broad range of criticism being leveled at ALEC”) See Corporations Which Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
- State Budget Solutions, Bob Williams
- State Farm Insurance Co., Roland Spies
- United Parcel Service (UPS), Richard McArdle
- Wal-Mart Stores, Maggie Sans (Wal-Mart announced on May 30, 2012, that it is suspending its ALEC membership. See Corporations Which Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.