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Monday, April 23, 2012

Griper Blade: ALEC: Lobbyists Who Aren't Lobbyists?

Among the most crazy claims I've seen lately is the claim that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) doesn't engage in lobbying. The whole point of the group is to get legislation passed -- legislation with such specific wording that at least one Florida bill still included ALEC language when it was introduced. They're responsible for state-level War on Women laws, anti-voter laws, anti-labor laws, and liberal gun laws like Florida's disastrous "Stand Your Ground" law. You can't introduce all this legislation and get it passed, then still pretend you're not lobbying. Yet that's exactly what ALEC is trying to do.
Associated Press: Open government advocates accused a conservative legislative group Monday of falsely claiming tax-exempt status while doing widespread lobbying. Advocacy group Common Cause said Monday it had filed an IRS complaint accusing ALEC of masquerading as a public charity. ALEC is formed as a nonprofit that brings together lawmakers and private sector organizations to develop legislation and policy. ALEC says its work is not lobbying. Common Cause disagrees. "It tells the IRS in its tax returns that it does no lobbying, yet it exists to pass profit-driven legislation in statehouses all over the country that benefits its corporate members," said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, in a statement. "ALEC is not entitled to abuse its charitable tax status to lobby for private corporate interests, and stick the bill to the American taxpayer." Common Cause wants an IRS audit of ALEC's work, penalties and the payment of back taxes...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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