After all the food is eaten and the shopping has been started and after Americans return at least for a while to there workaday reality, corporations will wine and dine state legislators from across the land quietly in Washington DC. The ultimate objective for this meeting is for ALEC to hand pre-written legislation that greatly favors corporations. These bills will then be taken back to the 50 state legislatures – including Iowa’s – and introduced as legislation.
This is what has become of our so-called representative democracy. We as voters elect people whose philosophy we think we agree with. But then something happens. Those with money come in to hijack the process by using what is essentially a form of bribery to change the process to their favor. In the instance of ALEC, the process is almost exclusively Republican players.
ALEC is so repugnant to American ideals that no company really wants to be publicly associated with it. When stories of Walmart’s involvement in ALEC started circulating a couple of years ago, even they could not weather the stench of being associated with ALEC and withdrew from the organization. One would hardly look at Walmart as a bastion of good corporate behavior.
Yet, behind closed doors, with no press to report goings on, members of ALEC will hand their legislative wishes to compliant Republican legislators who will take them back to 50 state capitols where they will be pushed to become new laws that the citizens must obey. Many of these bills will also destroy publicly held commons such as parks, libraries, prisons, swimming pools and even cemeteries so some capitalist can make a buck on them.
If it sounds sleazy, that is because it is. Just ask Walmart or any of the other former members who decided that being associated with ALEC would hurt the bottom line.
Access to any government official should be in the open with only rare exception.