NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t



A batch of recently leaked to The Guardian has revealed new insights into the goals and finances of the secretive group called ALEC. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a group that brings together state legislators and representatives of corporations. Together, they develop model bills that lawmakers introduce and try to pass in their state legislatures. Through these model bills, ALEC has worked to privatize public education, cut taxes, reduce public employee compensation, oppose Obamacare and resist state regulations to reduce global warming gas emissions. “ALEC is like an incubator of predominantly conservative legislation,” Guardian correspondent Ed Pilkington tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “The vast majority of the model bills are conservative in their inception and those bills then spread right across America.” Pilkington broke the story of these documents last week in his article He’s the chief correspondent for The Guardian US, which is the American website edition of the British newspaper The Guardian. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: Several news organizations have taken a closer look at an organization, the , that has been exerting its influence on state lawmakers in an effort to get similar if not identical pro-business laws enacted around the nation. Attention is being paid to ALEC now because an organization insider, concerned about some of the non-profit group’s activities, passed internal documents to a watchdog group, the which, in turn, invited the media outlets to review the documents. Terry Gross, host of , produced by NPR member station WHYY, journalist John Nichols of The Nation who had a chance to comb through the documents. An excerpt of a web story based on Terry’s interview with Nichols:

Nichols, a political reporter for The Nation, recently wrote about the relationship that state-based legislators have with a group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a group that brings together state legislators and representatives of corporations to draft model bills that can then be introduced at the state level of government. An was recently leaked to the Center for Media and Democracy.

“All of those pieces of legislation and those resolutions [in the documents] really err toward a goal, and that goal is the advancement of an agenda that seems to be dictated at almost every turn by multinational corporations,” Nichols tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “It’s to clear the way for lower taxes, less regulation, a lot of protection against lawsuits, [and] ALEC is very, very active in [the] opening up of areas via privatization for corporations to make more money, particularly in places you might not usually expect like public education.” MORE

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