Internal documents from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) published by The Guardian provide stunning insight into the inner workings of the “corporate bill mill” — and offer new evidence about how the group has continually misled reporters, the public, and even its own members.
The notoriously secretive ALEC has been thrust into the sunlight in the two years since the Center for Media and Democracy launched ALECexposed.org, analyzed over 800 of ALEC’s previously-secret model bills, and documented the corporations and legislators pushing ALEC’s legislative agenda. It now appears that ALEC has been scorched by the sunshine.
According to the new Guardian documents, which were apparently prepared for ALEC’s board in August, over the past two years ALEC has been losing corporate members, suffering from major funding shortfalls, and anticipates legal trouble with ethics rules and its charitable tax status.
ALEC is still supported by tobacco, oil, and pharmaceutical interests, but has lost around 60 corporate members in the fallout over ALEC’s role in promoting Stand Your Ground legislation, voter ID, climate change denial, and an array of other controversial, corporate-friendly bills, the documents show. The leaked documents outline a “prodigal son” project (misspelled as “prodical son”) aimed at luring “lapsed” corporations back into the fold, and describe a $1.4 million budget shortfall that accrued as a result of ALEC’s shrinking roster of corporate backers.