Among the politicians named in the report are Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, House Majority Leader Tim Jones, Sen. Jane Cunningham and Joplin area legislators and former legislators include Sen. Ron Richard, Rep. Bill White, former Sen. Gary Nodler, and former representatives Steve Hunter and Ed Emery.
From the Progress Missouri news release:
Progress Missouri today released a detailed research report exposing the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in creating our laws. The research report shows the effect of ALEC, which allows large corporations to write big-business friendly bills and helps legislators advance this legislation on the state level, on Missouri’s political system.
The report will be made available formally at 2:30 pm today, Monday, April 16 at a press conference in Capitol Hearing Room 6. Sean Soendker Nicholson of Progress Missouri; Charlie Elrod, union laborer; Carol Weatherford, retired teacher; and former Representative Bob Quinn are scheduled to speak at the 2:30 pm press conference.
Key findings in the report include:
- Almost 50 Missouri officials have been identified as having ties to ALEC, including Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones, Sen. Jane Cunningham, Rep. Jason Smith, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder; Senator and Former Speaker Ron Richard, Rep. Shane Schoeller and Rep. Cole McNary. Progress Missouri is urging legislators to terminate their ALEC affiliations.
- Progress Missouri has identified more than two dozen corporation-friendly bills introduced in the Missouri General Assembly that echo ALEC model bills. These include the so-called right to work laws, legislation that would undermine public education, new voter registration hurdles, the 2010 Anti-Affordable Care Act ballot measure, and even a resolution encouraging congress to undermine Social Security.
"Through ALEC task forces, unelected corporate lobbyists actually vote as equals with state legislators on 'model' bills to change our rights, in closed-door meetings where the press and public are not allowed," said Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy/ALECexposed.org, adding "Corporations also give gifts to ALEC 'scholarships' trips for legislators and their families at ALEC resort meetings where lobbyists and special interest groups give legislators their wish lists for changing the law. The ALEC corporate bill mill represents the institutionalization of a kind of corruption and distortion of our democracy that is unacceptable to a free people, especially in an era in which corporations and CEOs already have too much influence over our elections and public policies."
“The more the people of Missouri learn about ALEC, the more they wonder why their elected representatives and leading corporate citizens would be associated with such an organization,” said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause. “No business has a legitimate interest in limiting the right to vote or in undermining public education; no legislator can reasonably defend laws that protect the manufacturers of dangerous or defective products. In embracing ALEC, lawmakers and business people embrace these and other policies that betray the public interest.”
"Legislators need to be listening to ordinary people, not corporate special interests pushing an extreme agenda," said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way Foundation. "The bills being pushed by ALEC put corporate profits ahead of the well being of average Americans. It's time to make sure that ordinary people, not corporate interests, are in charge of our government."
At least ten major corporate sponsors of ALEC have indicated they will not renew their memberships in recent days. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mars,Kraft Foods, McDonald's, Wendy's and Intuit have announced in recent days that they are ending their ALEC memberships amid mounting criticism over ALEC's extreme agenda. Rep. Mike Colona announced last week that he was ending his relationship with ALEC. “Their agenda is radical and wrong for Missouri. I was a member and saw firsthand the sort of extreme legislation they push on state legislators around the country,” he said.