Should Iowans Hear Gov. Branstad's Speech to ALEC?

email inboxFrom Matt Sinovic of Progress Iowa, Aug. 5, 2013.

The Speech Gov. Terry Branstad Doesn’t Want You to Know About

Branstad to deliver private address this week at the annual meeting of ALEC, the “stealth corporate lobbyist” front group

DES MOINES– Governor Terry Branstad will deliver a featured address this week at the 40th annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). However, his speech to the controversial organization has not been publicized by the governor and is not listed on his public schedule.

“It’s no surprise that the governor wants to keep this a secret,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “The more the public learns about ALEC and their secretive influence in our legislature, the more controversial it becomes. But despite his desire for political cover, the governor should be inviting the public to participate in the democratic process, not attempting to deceive them.”

“The public has a right to know what the governor is saying to this controversial group, whether tax dollars are being spent on his trip to Chicago, and what other legislators are attending the meeting. Unfortunately, as a founding member, the governor has played a major role in ALEC’s 40-year effort to undermine democracy, and it appears he will continue those efforts this week.”

Branstad’s picture appears on the ALEC website as a featured speaker, with no date or time listed for the general public to attend. In the past, ALEC meetings have been closed to the general public despite the use of Iowa tax dollars for legislative memberships in the organization.

ALEC has received mounting criticism over the past year and a half, due to their promotion of legislation such as the “shoot first” laws that gained national attention after the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida. In Iowa, ALEC has provided model legislation to suppress voter rights, withdraw from regional environmental partnerships, and require intellectual diversity reporting from our college campuses.

Branstad is a founding member of ALEC, the group media has called a stealth corporate lobbyist for its secretive influence and extreme conservative agenda. Branstad received ALEC’s Pioneer Award in 1996 and has received more than $200,000 in campaign donations from ALEC’s corporate funders.

In March of this year, Progress Iowa released ALEC Exposed in Iowa, a report detailing the history and influence of the organization in our state. To read the full report, click here.

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