Outing ALEC

Behind the scenes of American politics, the powerful American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been quietly pulling the strings of state legislatures. "The organization's reach is impressive: More than one-third of state legislators are ALEC members, and about 100 hold senior leadership positions," writes Nick Penniman. "Launched in 1973 by conservative activists and politicians such as Paul Weyrich, Jesse Helms, Jack Kemp, and Henry Hyde, ALEC began as an organ of the New Right." Today it "channels most of its firepower into the anti-regulatory, anti-environmental fight," drafting model legislation such as the "Prevailing Wage Repeal Act," blocking action on global warming, and stroking the egos of politicians by giving out "Legislator of the Year" awards to elected officials who show particular valiance in serving corporate interests.