Last year, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) attracted attention when reporters revealed Arizona's SB1070 anti-immigration law was pre-approved by ALEC corporations that stood to benefit from its passage. As ALEC's legislative and corporate members descend upon Arizona for meetings this week, a new report (pdf) shows that ALEC's influence in Arizona goes beyond SB1070 to include bills that suppress voting, attack worker's rights, privatize public education, and limit environmental protections.
On the same day activists began collecting signatures to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Republican legislators took steps that could allow the governor to reverse the state elections board on rules that would protect student voting and make it easier for recall proponents to circulate petitions. Democrats allege the move is a politically-motivated attack on the independence of the non-partisan board, made possible by an American Legislative Exchange Council-inspired law that ties the hands of state agencies and gives the governor unprecedented power.
The effort to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker begins today, and organizers and volunteers are readying their clipboards to begin collecting more than half a million signatures throughout the holiday season. But as volunteers celebrated the launch at midnight "recall-themed" pajama parties, the many challenges ahead were underscored by a deliberate, grinch-like cyber-attack on a key recall website.
Ohio voters dealt a severe blow to the agenda of Governor John Kasich and other anti-union governors by voting to overturn Senate Bill 5 (SB5) by a 61 to 32 percent margin.
by Brendan Fischer and Sara Jerving
The Center for Media and Democracy filed a letter this week requesting that the Internal Revenue Service investigate Prosperity USA, a charity founded by Herman Cain's Chief of Staff Mark Block, for potentially violating the Internal Revenue Code by fronting tens of thousands of dollars worth of Mr. Cain's campaign travel expenses. But Prosperity USA is only one node in a network of charities and nonprofit organizations associated with Mr. Block, the former head of the Wisconsin arm of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity.
PRESS RELEASE, NOVEMBER 7, 2011
CONTACT: NIKOLINA LAZIC (312) 731-1292
Madison -- Today, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) filed a letter requesting that the Internal Revenue Service investigate a charity operated by Wisconsin political veteran Mark Block that spent over $40,000 of tax-exempt donations to pay for private jets, travel, and computers for Herman Cain's presidential bid. CMD also requested an examination of other Mark Block-related groups sharing the same address or other commonalities. Mr. Cain, who has denied knowing who paid for his various travels, is not the target of these requests to the IRS.
Republican efforts to inoculate themselves against recall hit a snag Monday when a moderate Republican announced his opposition to a plan that would permit recalls to happen in newly-drawn partisan districts.
Senator Mary Lazich introduced two bills on Friday that opponents say will rig recall elections in favor of Republicans. Democrats plan to start collecting signatures on November 15 to recall Governor Scott Walker, as well as state Senators who voted in favor of collective bargaining limits. Lazich's bills are the latest in a series of moves by Wisconsin Republicans to change the recall election rules in their favor.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's new internet ad features a tight head shot of his campaign's "chief of staff," Mark Block, telling viewers how great Cain will be for the country and how much confidence he has in Cain. In the ad, Block looks directly at the camera, says, "We've run a campaign like nobody's ever seen." Then, at the 40-second mark in the 56-second political spot, Block unexplicably takes a long, prominent drag from a lit cigarette and then exhales, blowing the smoke directly at the viewer. The ad highlights Cain's connections to the tobacco industry, and Block's position in the campaign belies Cain's connections to David Koch. Until earlier this year, Block was the long-time leader of the Wisconsin arm of the David Koch-funded astroturf group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), following a scandal that barred him from electoral politics for a time. A number of Cain's other aides have also worked for AFP, and Cain's old work and email addresses used to be with the Koch group. But what's the cigarette connection?
Governor Scott Walker's new "Reforms and Results" website touting the successes of his policies is allegedly a campaign website funded by taxpayers, according to a complaint filed Tuesday by the Wisconsin Democratic Party.
Wisconsin's American Legislative Exchange Council-inspired voter ID law, which will make it harder for students and people of color to vote, is being challenged under the state constitution by the League of Women Voters.
The law requires potential voters to show a valid state-issued driver's license or identification card before they can cast a ballot, rendering many state residents ineligible to vote. Wisconsin, like thirteen other states, passed the law earlier this year based on the ALEC "model" voter ID bill.