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ALEC has its own little astroturf site/group: State Budget Solutions, with a Tea Party Patriots link

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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-09-11 09:57 AM
Original message
ALEC has its own little astroturf site/group: State Budget Solutions, with a Tea Party Patriots link
Edited on Sat Apr-09-11 10:04 AM by highplainsdem

Since, after all, just having corporations able to cowrite legislation to be introduced in state legislatures across the country by ALEC's tame legislator members might not be enough.

You have to make sure citizens are involved, too -- and it helps so much to make them think they HAVE to get involved since legislators won't listen otherwise.

I stumbled across the site this morning thanks to a reference to ALEC on this page:

By the way, the legislation mentioned there about early release of prisoners is another part of ALEC's legislative campaign to help the bail bond industry.

The "About Us" page for SBS

states that the group's "goal is to successfully engage political journalists/bloggers, state officials and opinion leaders in a new way of thinking about state government and budgets."

Which implies rather disingenously that these ideas won't reach state officials otherwise.

Under the heading "Why We're Here" on that page is a letter to "Fellow Activists" from Keli Carender, National Director of Outreach and Education.

The budget crises facing most states are real, and unfortunately much worse than politicians are willing to admit. Elected officials continue to live in a state of denial by using budget gimmicks and shell games to cover up the reality of the situation - our states are broke. Unfortunately, for years much of the focus has been aimed at the federal level, and our states have suffered as a result.Thus, the time has come for the citizenry to take action and reverse the course that governors and legislatures have set us on, as the course is unsustainable. The nation as a whole is dependent on strong, viable, solvent states. If politicians refuse to acknowledge the problem or seek to treat the problem superficially, then it is up to us, the people, to set things right.

Get that? The people have to get involved in this fight, according to SDS, because those elected officials just aren't listening!

There's a link on that page to read more about Bob Williams, president of SBS:

Bob is a former state legislator, gubernatorial candidate and official with the General Accountability Office. Bob is a national expert in fiscal and tax policies, election reform and disaster preparedness. Because of his unique experience and expertise, Bob is a frequent guest on talk radio and at public forums. His commentary on state budget solutions appears frequently in newspapers, journals and online publications.

Bob Williams is the Founder and Senior Fellow of the Freedom Foundation, a public policy organization in Olympia, Washington, dedicated to the advancement of individual liberty. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Pennsylvania State University. Bob worked as a GAO auditor of the Pentagon and Post Office before moving to Washington state where he served five terms in the Washington state legislature and was the 1988 Republican nominee for governor. He is a former certified public accountant. Currently Bob is the private sector chair of the ALEC Tax & Fiscal Policy Task Force.

Emphasis added. He's the private sector chair of the ALEC task force that produces their model legislation on tax and fiscal policy. None of which will ever reach ALEC's board of directors for final approval until it's also been approved by their private sector task force -- mere approval by the public sector task force consisting of state legislators isn't enough.

You can understand why he'd feel so terribly frustrated by those stubborn legislators not listening, can't you? He'd just have to create an activist group and website to finally have some influence on legislation.


Keli Carender, the SBS National Director of Outreach and Education, is also National Coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, according to this site

which says their Western Women's Summit at the Reagan Ranch Center had speakers including "author S.E. Cupp; Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011; Keli Carender, National Coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots; Ann McElhinney; conservative filmmaker; and Dawn Wildman, California Tea Party Patriots."

The "About Us" page on the SBS site lists "Activist Resources by State" -- and those resources include the usual astroturf suspects: Americans for Prosperity, Tea Party Patriots, and FreedomWorks.

This is from Media Matters on Bob Williams, back in 2005:

On September 6 and 7, numerous national media outlets featured G. Robert "Bob" Williams, president of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, falsely criticizing Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin -- both Democrats -- for their handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. But none of these media outlets disclosed that the Evergreen Freedom Foundation is a conservative think tank that espouses "limited, accountable government" and receives funding from numerous conservative donors. Nor did they make clear how Williams, who was a Washington state legislator during the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, is qualified to comment on hurricane disaster relief efforts.


None of these media outlets noted that the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, which purports to "advance individual liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government," is a conservative group that receives funding from conservative grant-making organizations such as the Scaife Foundations and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

According to one of the comments on that page, Williams "has made his living with his think tank which, as you noted, is conservative to the point of being libertarian. He has made a career in recent years of suing the state teachers union over campaign issues and other matters."

Wikipedia article on the Evergreen Freedom Foundation:

The Evergreen Freedom Foundation neither solicits nor accepts funds from public sources. All programs and activities are funded by private donations and grants. Its funding comes from individuals, corporations and numerous private foundations.


The EFF accused the Washington Education Association of unlawfully spending worker fees on politics.<2> <3> The state in turn sued the teachers union, accusing it of unlawfully spending some workers' fees on politics. The matter was taken on appeal to the US Supreme Court.<4> The Supreme court decided that states can force public-employee labor unions to get consent from workers before using their fees for political activities. However, the Legislature modified the law in a way that blunts the court's decision.<3>


EFF sponsored the "Take the Field with Glenn Beck" at Seattle's Safeco Field event.<6> About 7,000 people attended.

Link to the compilation topic with hundreds of replies and links with more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC}.
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dmr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-09-11 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
1. This looks like a deeply embedded vast rightwing conspiracy
and I don't know how we are going to be able to fight it.

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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-09-11 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. sunlight -- lots of it.
If we have to turn into proctologists and visit some journos to do it -- it has to get out there.
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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-09-11 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. +1
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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-09-11 10:17 AM
Response to Original message
2. Are you putting this in your journal so we can reference back to it?
I'm amazed at all the threads you seem to pull together so quickly! :kick: to the moon!
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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-09-11 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. I just added this to the compilation topic, which is in my journal. I might add this one to
the journal separately, but I can't add all of them or I'd never be able to find older entries there, so I'm relying on the compilation topic to keep track of the individual topics.

And every time I add a new link to the compilation topic, that bumps it.

Hector Solon, who's writing a lot about ALEC at Daily Kos, is posting in the compilation topic, too.
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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-09-11 06:30 PM
Response to Original message
6. SBS prez Bob Williams has helped ALEC w/ model legislation to steal accrued retirement benefits from
public employees.

Link to the separate topic about this new model legislation:

That topic quotes a Stateline article on the wording of the resolution and plans to introduce it. The article has this to say specifically about Williams' role:

There are a lot of things that you can try to do, says Bob Williams of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. Williams is working with American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative group comprised of state legislators and corporate representatives, on model legislation that would dramatically reduce the pensions of current employees. Some of that you expect will stand up in court; some of it you expect won't, Williams says. But you can't really know until you try."
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