Little-Known Lobbying Group Created 115 State Laws for Industry in 2009

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Called the “ultimate smoke-filled back room,” the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is not the innocuous political body it appears to be. A professional organization that counts thousands of state legislators as its members, ALEC has been used by business interests to push hundreds of bills in state legislatures, and managed to get 115 enacted into law last year. They have been particularly effective in Indiana, West Virginia and Illinois.

“Behind the scenes at ALEC, the nuts and bolts of lobbying and crafting legislation is done by large corporate defense firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon,” says the American Association for Justice in its report about ALEC. The report adds that the firm has “strong ties to the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries” and “has long used ALEC’s ability to get a wide swath of state laws enacted to further the interests of its corporate clients.”
Those clients include pharmaceutical companies working to keep states from importing prescription drugs, the asbestos industry wanting to limit its liability in mesothelioma and other asbestos-related lawsuits, and former energy titan Enron pushing to deregulate the utility industries.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
ALEC: Ghostwriting the Law for Corporate America (American Association for Justice) (pdf)


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