One Wisconsin Now Blog

One Wisconsin Now Exclusive: WI Senators Paying Corporate ALEC Membership with Tax Dollars

Even this one, I have trouble believing.

The breaking news: One Wisconsin Now has obtained documents showing that 12 current Republican members of the State Senate are forcing you to pay the cost for their private membership in one of the nation's most powerful and influential corporate policy outfits - the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

ALEC is the corporate front group that has concocted and supported disastrous attacks on the middle class like ending collective bargaining, privatizing public schools, preventing access to affordable health care and starving local governments - taking police officers and firefighters off the streets.

When you think about how the people on this list, such as Dan Kapanke, Alberta Darling and Scott Fitzgerald have claimed over and over that Wisconsin is broke and we have to cut workers' rights, dismantle public education and raise health care costs for seniors, children and working families, their hypocrisy is enough to make your blood boil. Use this link to the see the Senate's Dishonorable Dozen:

http://www.onewisconsinnow.org/blog/WI%20Senate%20Republicans%20ALEC%20Membership.pdf

You are probably well aware ALEC was founded nearly 40 years ago to create pro-corporate legislation at the expense of the middle class. Among the many corporate and conservative interests to finance the group is the Koch Foundation and Milwaukee's Bradley Foundation. All 23 members of its public board are identified Republicans and 71 of its 73 state legislative chairs are Republicans.

Not only have Senate Republicans spent tax dollars on ALEC memberships, but also there are substantial ties between ALEC and Gov. Scott Walker, as well as the Republican Assembly Majority. Walker has served previously as a speaker at ALEC, Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald was appointed Wisconsin Chair of ALEC in 2008 and Republican Assembly Joint Finance Chair Robin Vos is current Wisconsin ALEC chair. [ALEC website; Fond du Lac Reporter, 12/28/08]

Let's not mince words here. The American Legislative Exchange Council is nothing more than a corporate propaganda machine and Kapanke, Darling and the other 10 Senate Republicans should immediate return the taxpayers' money and apologize for this improper use of our tax dollars.

If past is prologue, ALEC and its minions may retaliate against One Wisconsin Now. After all, when a University of Wisconsin professor criticized the group, the Republican Party of Wisconsin launched an unprecedented attack on him.

But we are not going to back down from any corporate special interest group or any political party. The stakes are simply too high.

As a final note, One Wisconsin Now also uncovered this: According to the IRS, ALEC, which says on its State Budget Reform page that, "states face structural deficits created by overspending," spent more than it raised in both 2008 and 2009.

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If you check the campaign finance reports of these guys and the assemblymen, (ie John Nygren) you will fond all kinds of questionable expenses like memberships to organizations including ALEC.

ALEC just had their spring conference in Cincinnatti and at least one assemblyman was there. New Orleans is next!!

Interesting that when they attend these ALEC meetings, sometimes their families are along for the trip, they don't declare any of the thousands of dollars spent on them by ALEC in any Wisconsin state forms. I guess this ALEC situation doesn't qualify as lobby influence despite the blatant appearance of such.


Wonder if they claim the trip cost that the receive as an income on their income taxes??

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