How To Use A Freedom Of Information Request To Expose ALEC

Democracy lovers, below is an article that lays out how to do a FOI request to expose legislators who belong to ALEC.  We already know that in Iowa, all House members’ ALEC dues are paid automatically at taxpayer expense.  House members have to opt out, rather than opt in.  At last check, every Democrat had opted out of ALEC except one, Brian Quirk of New Hampton.  But this is not the case for Republicans who as of last session were all members of ALEC including Governor Branstad (founding member).  In the Iowa senate,  dues are not automatically paid out of taxpayer money, so we do not have any idea who belongs to ALEC.

The following is an excerpt from an article from PoliticsUSA by Dennis S.,  who used a FOI request in South Carolina.

“Here’s what needs to be included in an FOI request: it should be mailed to one of the legislative chairs of the state ALEC organization. [BFIA Editor’s Note: In Iowa  Rep. Linda J. Miller is listed on the ALEC website as state chair

find her info. here:

Send your FOI through the postal service. Your letter must identify it as a Freedom of Information request. Mail it to his/her legislative office address.

If possible, try to research state ethics filings or whatever heading applies, to learn of any ALEC trips, fees, gifts and reimbursements that involve the object of your request. It will be helpful in formulating your FOI.

An FOI request is for paper records and documents.  Always include requests for hard-copy documentation to be mailed by the postal service to your enclosed home address. It is helpful to put a time limit on your request as well.

Caveat: If money is an issue (of course it is). You will likely be charged fees for processing, research, copies, etc. You should include a fee waiver request in your letter based on why the FOI answers regarding the operation of  state government would be of significance to the general public.

Good luck fellow believers in democracy.”

Click here to read the entire article and to see a template of the author’s FOI request.




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