Koch Brothers Group Boasts Total Control of Iowa and South Dakota Legislatures

Friday, December 13, 2013

A powerful voice among conservative lawmakers, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has reached a new milestone: control over two state legislatures.


ALEC promotes legislation serving the interests of big corporations, as well as its primary benefactors: the Koch brothers.


The organization was described recently by Iowa Public Radio as working “to privatize public education, cut taxes, reduce public employee compensation, oppose Obamacare and resist state regulations to reduce global warming gas emissions.”


ALEC boasts having members in statehouses throughout the United States. But in two states—Iowa and South Dakota—it has managed to sign up every single lawmaker, according to documents from an ALEC board meeting on August 6.


That’s 150 politicians in Iowa, and 105 in South Dakota.


Being an ALEC member means more than just carrying a card in your wallet. According to the oath to which members must swear, a person promises to “act with care and loyalty and put the interests of the organization first.”


If that’s true, then the Koch brothers have the elected state representatives from two states under their thumb.


Regarding the wording of the oath, The Guardian newspaper contacted ALEC to inquire.


“All legislators are beholden to their constituents’ interests first—if they are not, they will be held accountable at the ballot box,” Bill Meierling, ALEC’s senior director of public affairs, told the British newspaper.


But if “ALEC’s lead legislator in any state violates his oath to ALEC, he stands to lose the vast campaign contributions from the corporations that fund ALEC,” Eric Zuesse wrote for AlterNet.


“The purpose of those corporate campaign donations is to make sure that state legislators are ‘held accountable’ to ALEC. ALEC survives by persuading conservative voters to vote for the stooges the corporations that fund ALEC want to write the laws for them,” Zuesse added.


As an indication of the degree of state control that ALEC holds, the South Dakota legislature’s executive board, in April, voted for the state’s treasury to pay the $100, two-year ALEC membership dues for all 105 lawmakers, as well as the cost of unlimited out-of-state travel to ALEC meetings for those who are ALEC committee members.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Far-Right Lobby Group ALEC Brags That All Politicians in Two State Legislatures Are Members (by Eric Zuesse, AlterNet)

State to Pay Interest Group's Dues (by Bob Mercer, Aberdeen News)

How ALEC Serves As A 'Dating Service' For Politicians And Corporations (Iowa Public Radio)

ALEC Board Meeting (see page 39)

ALEC Lobbying Group Accused of Masquerading as a Charity to Avoid Taxes (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


Bill Meierling 10 years ago
You've got it all wrong here... There is no pledge between ALEC and its state chairs or member legislators. Here is my exact correspondence with the Guardian: http://www.alec.org/alec-guardian-correspondence-2/

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