Few people outside the realm of state government have ever heard of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – though the organization is responsible for bringing uniform laws that affect millions of citizens throughout the United States.
So what is this group?
Not surprisingly, it depends on whom you ask.
Keep reading.ALEC describes itself as a bipartisan organization whose members support the Jeffersonian principles of “limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.”
While the leaders who are invited to address annual ALEC gatherings are overwhelmingly conservative (this summer’s featured speakers included George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and Dick Armey), ALEC claims that Democrats comprise one-third of its 2,400 members, who are elected state officials from across the United States..
The organization does not publicly identify the major funders who pump an estimated $5 million into its coffers every year. Nor does it publicly identify its membership (See related story for past and current Colorado members).
Numerous investigations conducted over the past many years by news organizations and government watchdog groups reveal that most, if not all, of ALEC’s money comes from corporations representing big industry – including drug, tobacco, insurance and gas and oil –