For Immediate Release
March 15, 2012
Report details full effect of American Legislative Exchange Council on Maine's public policy
Corporate lobby group's influence extends far beyond model bills
Portland, ME - Maine's Majority Education Fund released a report today showing the extent to which the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has infiltrated Maine's lawmaking process. The report tells the story of how Maine legislators and out-of-state corporations have colluded to put forth a host of big business-friendly policy initiatives, particularly since Republicans took control of state government in 2010.
The 24-page report is available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/85472333/Who-is-Writing-Maine-s-Laws.
Founded in 1973, ALEC brings conservative state legislators and corporate lobbyists together to craft and advance model legislation on the local level. It is no secret that several LePage-era bills – including attacks on health care consumer protections, labor unions, and voting rights – have ALEC fingerprints on them. Until now, however, we have not known just how many public policy initiatives are traceable to ALEC, or the extent to which the same corporations which wrote these laws have also funded the campaigns of Maine elected officials and Governor LePage himself.
Among the report's findings:
- The LePage Administration and members of the 125th legislature have introduced at least 20 bills with clear ties to ALEC model legislation. Portions of the governor's recently introduced plan to revamp Maine's education system are also attributable to ALEC.
- At least 8 current Maine legislators are known to be ALEC members, including both the House and Senate's assistant majority leaders. Another 13 legislators served as lead sponsors of ALEC-linked bills.
- ALEC's elite private enterprise committee, which includes corporations like Pfizer, Altria (Philip Morris), R.J. Reynolds and Walmart, has poured more than $750,000 into Maine political campaigns over the last 10 years. More than 76% of this money has gone to Republicans. Of $177,350 spent in 2010 alone, at least $96,000 went to efforts to elect Paul LePage.
- ALEC member corporations have signaled a clear intent to influence Maine's 2012 elections. 2011 saw the largest-ever influx of ALEC cash to Maine in an off-election year. Of nearly $48,000 that went to fill campaign war chests, more than 81% was earmarked for Republican candidates.
"ALEC pretends to be a charitable organization that helps generate ideas for lawmakers in the form of model legislation. In reality, it is a vast special interest machine designed to expand the influence of big business lobbyists at all levels of government." said Maine's Majority Education Fund director Chris Korzen. "Maine's laws are now literally being written by large corporations who wish to enact policy that helps their bottom lines. These same corporations are also funding the campaigns of Paul LePage and House and Senate Republicans. We must ask ourselves, 'who's interests do they really have in mind?'"
In the coming weeks, Maine's Majority Education Fund will release a public database that allows users to see where ALEC campaign contributions have been directed.