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S.C. Democrats Target ALEC, Statehouse Members

Legislators call for others to abandon controversial group, and some are doing so.

S.C. legislators are calling for their co-workers in the state's General Assembly to distance themselves from the American Legislative Exchange Council as national pressure increases on the little-known policy organization. 

The detractors include state Rep. Ted Vick, a Chesterfield Democrat and 7th Congressional District candidate who resigned his membership from ALEC on Tuesday, calling it "part of the problem."

The conservative organization has pushed legislation in statehouses across the country, including the controversial "Stand Your Ground" law that was used as an initial defense in the Florida shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Through hundreds of legislative members across the county, ALEC has promoted conservative bills like the "Stand Your Ground" laws. Last week, the group bowed to public criticsim and the defection of corporate finances, saying it would stop working on gun laws, as well as other controversial legislation.

In a statement, Vick said he joined ALEC in 2004, but that the group had drifited from its nonpartisan goal of limited, but effective government.

"ALEC has become too partisan and too extreme," he said. "I believe we need more bipartisanship, statesmanship, and less divisive political rhetoric."

On Monday, Rep. Boyd Brown (D-Fairfield) called for his fellow legislators in both parties to abandon their association with ALEC. In a letter, Brown cited ALEC's corporate funding and its influence in crafting legislation.

"Your support for this organization is harmful to your constituents and folks all across the United States," Brown wrote. "And I urge you to withdraw your membership today."

ALEC has been losing more than just members and clout in the past few weeks. Corporate sponsors that have financed the organization are also heading for the door, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Mars, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble.

Also making news in Columbia today:

stanley seigler April 25, 2012 at 04:19 PM
re: Brown cited ALEC's corporate funding and its influence in crafting legislation. a small, welcome ,step in returning control to the people...ie, talking our country back from big business (eg, the koch bros). would be interesting to know how much ALEX/koch "crafting" went into SC voterID law...also of interest: which SC legislators (state/fed) are members of ALEX.
toto April 25, 2012 at 06:30 PM
On September 7, 2007, ALEC’s National Board Members approved a resolution, passed by its members, in support of the current Electoral College system used to elect the President of the United States. www.alec.org/docs/Electoral_College_PR.pdf ALEC’s First Vice Chairman, State Sen. Steve Faris, said “I am proud ALEC has endorsed this resolution and is committed to oppose all national popular vote legislation." A survey of South Carolina voters showed 71% overall support for the idea that the President of the United States should be the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states. Support was 64% among Republicans, 81% among Democrats, and 68% among others. By gender, support was 81% among women and 59% among men. By age, support was 81% among 18-29 year olds, 71% among 30-45 year olds, 72% among 46-65 year olds, and 63% for those older than 65. In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state. Support for a national popular vote is strong among Rs, Ds, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state. Most Americans think it's wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don't allow this in any other election. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country.
toto April 25, 2012 at 06:34 PM
With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states, like South Carolina, that now are just 'spectators' and ignored after the primaries. When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC. The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action. Despite ALEC's opposition and influence, the bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium, and large states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect. NationalPopularVote Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via nationalpopularvoteinc
stanley seigler April 25, 2012 at 06:43 PM
BTW 'Common Cause filed a lawsuit under the Tax Whistleblower Act with the Internal Revenue Service accusing ALEC of violating its status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit by "massive[ly] underreporting" its lobbying activities. The suit alleges that ALEC exists primarily to give corporate members the ability to "lobby state legislators and to deduct the costs of such efforts as charitable contributions." Non-profits like ALEC can't make lobbying a majority of their activities.'
Janis Smith April 27, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Living in Michigan under ALEC control. Everyone knows by now that ALEC took over a couple cities here and removed all elected officials; but, it's so much more bleak. Over 300+ ALEC "model" laws shoved down our throat in one year alone. Breaking up ALEC is hard due to them using the republican base for votes; but, there is another BIG concern for all of us. A company called Diebold (large contributor to the Republican party) has been exposed in California. The Voting machines made by Diebold and the software (which NO ONE is allowed to scrutinize) has been fined for failures in the machines security. Did Bush win over Gore? NO, he did NOT. Please see this lengthy video concerning what we are up against using these machines. (Gore's votes were actually counted backwards - negative votes). Diebold got fined and CA pulled the machines out; but, what machines do each state use? Does your state use them? Our votes can be manipulated!! Americans Against Alec Hacking Democracy - Full Length (Voting Machine Fraud EXPOSED) www.youtube.com When you can't control the Politicians or the voters, then you control the counting! Go back to paper votes and we will have a President that was voted in! P...
stanley seigler April 27, 2012 at 02:19 PM
@Jane Smith: "...Over 300+ ALEC "model" laws shoved down our throat...company called Diebold (large contributor to the Republican party) has been exposed in California. The Voting machines made by Diebold and the software (which NO ONE is allowed to scrutinize) has been fined for failures in the machines security." diff in MI and SC is, MI felt ALEX laws were shoved down their throats...SC legs/citizens bought ALEX/koch bro laws hook, line and sinker... useless voterID laws (written by ALEX/koch b) do nothing to correct real fraud and technical issues...eg, diebold.
stanley seigler May 08, 2012 at 05:38 PM
FYI "ALEC Gets a Break From State Lobbying Laws...The American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEX] says it's not a lobbying group. Then why have three states [SC, IN, CO] specifically exempted it from their rules for lobbyists? http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/05/alec-lobbyist-exemption How ALEC Ghostwrites the Law...eg, voterID law [CLIP] "These exemptions are just now coming to light. In South Carolina, Democratic Rep. Boyd Brown recently discovered a 2003 state law that exempts ALEC from registering or disclosing its lobbying expenditures. One of the South Carolina bill's sponsors was ALEC member Rep. James Harrison, a Republican from Richland County." james harrison and who else...WHO ARE THE OTHER SPONSERs...and which SC legs are members of ALEX...
stanley seigler May 09, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Lawmakers Exempted ALEC in S.C. Lobbying Law http://www.free-times.com/index.php?cat=1992209084141467&act=post&pid=11862604123541405 [CLIPS] at a legislative workshop for the media, Orangeburg Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter raised concerns about her colleagues cowing to the whims of ALEC and warned of its deep influence at the State House...Republican and Democratic legislative leaders in South Carolina are “very involved” in ALEC, Cobb-Hunter said. Funded largely by the libertarian Koch brothers, ALEC creates model legislation for state legislatures to adopt, such as Voter ID laws and other controversial bills like the Stand Your Ground self-defense law. It deals with everything from health care to immigration to energy policy. ALEC bills are drawn up on behalf of corporate interests and introduced in states where lawmakers are members. The group holds conferences and treats its lawmaker members to vacations. It has 2,000 legislative members and 300 corporate members, according to a report on the group in The Nation. It is such retreats where ALEC is exempt in the state’s lobbying laws. While other special interest groups would have to extend convention invitations to a discernable group from the Legislative Manual for lawmakers to accept them, ALEC does not -- the group is specifcally exempted by name. “If you’re there (at an ALEC conference) then you don’t have adhere to the group invitation rule,” says State Ethics Commission general counsel.
Donald Bailey May 24, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Gore lost but got rich telling a lie about the climate!
stanley seigler May 31, 2012 at 05:48 PM
UPDATE Walmart said late Wednesday it is suspending membership in the American Legislative Council (ALEC), which the retailer joined in 1993. FYI [REPEAT] "ALEC Gets a Break From State Lobbying Laws...The American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEX] says it's not a lobbying group. Then why have three states [SC, IN, CO] specifically exempted it from their rules for lobbyists? http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/05/alec-lobbyist-exemption BTW, ALEC Ghostwrote the voterID law...and; as mentioned and asked previously...who are the SC legs that are ALEX members who provided ALEX a break from lobbying laws...perhaps legs should follow walmart's example...

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