"ALEC's corporate sponsors include Koch Industries with backup lobby support from the Kansas Policy Institute, Americans For Prosperity, and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce..."

Most voters have no clue who ALEC is.  No, it’s not a reference to ALEC Baldwin. It's the “American Legislative Exchange Council”, a lobby group disguised as a 501 c (3) non-profit organization that caters to special corporate interests by serving as a “corporate dating service”.

 

ALEC brings together corporate lobbyists and state legislators in a central location, like a fancy hotel, where they attend parities heavily subsidized by the same corporations that benefit from the introduction and passage of ALEC written bills the legislators take back to their home states.
 
ALEC legislative members receive ‘scholarships’ from corporate sponsors that amount to an all-expense paid vacation including families; so they can meet face-to-face with the donors to their political campaigns and vote together with these corporate sponsors to adopt model legislation, written to boost corporate profits.
 
Even though Kansas has strict rules for receiving lobbyist gifts, these lavish trips are disguised as "educational expenses."  Thirty two Kansas House representatives and sixteen Kansas State senators are listed as members of ALEC.
 
What's even more alarming, the Speaker of the Kansas House, Ray Merrick, and the President of the Senate, Susan Wagle, are members of ALEC's board of directors which includes board scholar member Art Laffer, who received a $75,000 consulting fee for his ALEC model tax cutting bill that is now bankrupting our state.  
 
During 2013-2014 fifteen (15) ALEC model bills were introduced in the Kansas Legislature including the controversial “Health Care Compact” Bill which included authority to take over the operation of Medicare by the Kansas legislature, using the block grant model that ALEC helped write. 
 
The ALEC penned Health Care Compact bill which passed in Kansas, was killed in the U.S. House of Representatives.  This Kansas approved Health Care Compact bill put more than 450,000 Kansas Medicare beneficiaries at risk and most Medicare folks had no idea the bill even passed.  
 
Attempts were made to remove Medicare from the bill, but legislators learned it would require approval from the other eight states who joined with Kansas in the compact.  This means our legislature's hands were tied because the bill was written by ALEC, using ALEC language in a cookie cutter bill that put ALEC in charge not allowing amendments to the bill leaving our elected officials standing on the sidelines not able to change a bill to represent the best interests of Medicare beneficiaries living in Kansans.  

 

ALEC’s privatizing of Medicaid model now called KanCare was successful as Governor Brownback signed the ALEC Medicaid bill into law.   KanCare has lost millions of dollars during its first two years of operation.
 
Now during a time when our state is facing the most serious financial crisis in its history, Speaker Merrick is allowing ALEC to write a letter on his behalf, as an ALEC host, to send out invitations to prospective corporate sponsors so the fun and games can be resumed in San Diego, California on July 22-24th.
 
Please open the attachment and read the letter sent from michelle@donerfundraising.com using Rep. Ray Merick as the author of the email.  Note Merrick's name was misspelled.
 
Mr. Merrick has agreed to be a member of the host committee, and lets the sponsor know he or she can give anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 to "educate our members on your platform, both during the conference and in the months ahead."
 
ALEC's corporate sponsors include Koch Industries with backup lobby support from the Kansas Policy Institute, Americans For Prosperity, and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce who are strong advocates to block Medicaid Expansion, promote privatization of education and continue to support the tax exemption for pass through business owners even though our state's general budget is dealing with an $800 million gap between revenue and expenses as was recently reported in a May 20, 2015 news release by former Kansas budget director Duane Goossen, who now works for the Kansas Center for Economic Growth.

 

As a Kansas voter who cares about the future of our state, I am outraged that the top leadership within our legislature continues to embrace the ALEC legislative models for the future, when the current ALEC “Trickle Down” tax cut model has created the $800 million dollar GAP of lost revenue in our state general operating fund.

 

Larry Weigel

 

 


 

 

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