by Dave Bradley
As I was writing about ALEC earlier in the year, I seemed to run into a bit of a dead end. This was not by chance but by design. Whereas
ALEC seeks to have an inordinate amount of input into legislation that will eventually affect our daily lives, they also want an inordinate amount of secrecy. Said another way, ALEC would like to control your lives without you knowing anything them.
This is, of course, quite contrary to the way that most Americans believe governmental business, especially the law making part, ought to be run. Since the early 1960s with the passage of the Freedom Of Information
Act in 1966, Americans have wanted the workings of their government to be in the open where it can be seen.
The way ALEC works is to bring lawmakers mostly at the state level together with big business. One of the main objects of ALEC is to create template state legislation that is very favorable to ALEC’s business members.
This certainly makes one wonder if creating a “crisis” that can be fixed by an
ALEC template law is only by chance of fate or is helped to the crisis stage on purpose. Based on the phony debt “crisis” currently threatening to ruin average Americans life savings, my guess is most of these crisis are manufactured.
One question that keeps coming up is who in Iowa are members of ALEC? Well since ALEC acts like a private club finding that information is like finding who is beneath the white hood. These folks want to work out of the
spotlight, out of any light at all to create their pro-business, anti-citizen
template model legislation.
A friend suggested writing to the Chief Clerk of the Iowa House. His was sure that the state paid membership dues for groups like this. So I emailed Mr. W. Charles Smithson, Chief Clerk of the Iowa House. I was a bit astounded by the reply I received:
Dear Mr. Bradley:
Technically, all House members belong to ALEC unless they choose to opt-out.
For this period none of the 60 House Republicans has opted out (the names of the House Republicans are available on the General Assembly’s Web site). Four democrats also did not opt out.
I am not much concerned by the Democrats that did not opt out. I doubt their leanings are to enact ALEC laws. However, all Republican members of the Iowa House are members of ALEC? I
was astounded. This surely helps pave the way toward making ALEC model legislation into Iowa law, whether the law fits our current situation or not. A fine example would be the model voting identification laws that have been passed in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and many others. These laws
make it mandatory that a voter have a state issued identification. Such IDs may or may not be free, but are often a burden for the poor and elderly to obtain.
Another variation on this makes it extremely difficult for college students to vote where they go to school. Most of the groups that would be affected by ID laws tend to vote Democratic.
Secretary of State Matt Schultz campaigned on changing Iowa voter ID laws and continues to work hard for them. Even though we have had few voter fraud cases in Iowa. Schultz is now
trying to create a “crisis.” Certainly an ALEC allegiant House would easily pass his bill.
I also checked with Mr. Smithson’s counterpart in the Senate, Mike Marshall, Secretary of the Senate.
Dear Mr. Bradley:
I do not know which senators, if any, are members of ALEC. The Iowa Senate has not paid for ALEC memberships for quite some time.
From the alecexposed
website (http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed) Representative Linda Miller (R-82) is the state ALEC chair.
Since ALEC wants to have such a major influence in our laws and life in Iowa, they MUST be a major campaign issue next election cycle next year. I believe every Republican legislative candidate must answer questions on ALEC:
– Are they a member of ALEC?
– If not are they aware of ALEC and their model legislation?
– Which of the ALEC legislation do they believe should be adopted in Iowa and why?
Dave Bradley is a self-described retired observer of American politics “trying to figure out how we got so screwed up.” An Iowa City native currently living in West Liberty, Dave and his wife Carol have two grown children who “sadly had to leave the state to find decent paying jobs.”
e-mail Dave here