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Flurry of Voter ID laws tied to conservative group ALEC

A growing number of conservative Republican state legislators worked fervently during the past two years to enact laws requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

Lawmakers proposed 62 photo ID bills in 37 states in the 2011 and 2012 sessions, with multiple bills introduced in some states. Ten states have passed strict photo ID laws since 2008, though several may not be in effect in November because of legal challenges.

A News21 analysis found that more than half of the 62 bills were sponsored by members or conference attendees of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Washington, D.C., tax-exempt organization.

ALEC has nearly 2,000 state legislator members who pay $100 in dues every two years. Most of ALEC’s money comes from nonprofits and corporations — from AT&T to Bank of America to Chevron to eBay — which pay thousands of dollars in dues each year.

33 Corporations Which Paid No Taxes from 2008-2010 Have Ties to ALEC

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting—which many linked to Florida's "Kill At Will" or "Stand Your Ground" law—a number of corporations have pulled their support for the American Legislative Exchange Council, the pro-corporate, right-wing organization responsible for pushing the law in two dozen states. ALEC responded by backing off of issues such as guns and voter identification laws and refocusing its efforts on economic issues. This strategy shift may not actually be that big of a deal, though, as they heavily focused on economic issues in the past and, instead, it may help undercut opposition to ALEC as grassroots opponents have focused on the organization because of those social issues. ALEC has done the most damage in the past, however, on economic issues and the decline in opposition to the group could boost their chances at further success.

Kraft Drops Membership In Conservative Group ALEC

Under pressure from the advocacy group ColorofChange, Kraft Foods Inc. said Thursday night it would end its support for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the conservative lobbying group that has backed state "Stand Your Ground" gun laws.

In its statement, Kraft said that it will not renew its membership in ALEC when it expires this spring. The global food manufacturer said there were a "number of reasons" for the split, but did not specifically mention the advocacy campaign against ALEC:

We belong to many external groups, including ALEC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes growth and fiscal responsibility.

ALEC covers numerous issues but our involvement has been strictly limited to discussions about economic growth and development, transportation and tax policy. We did not participate in meetings or conversations related to other issues.

Our membership in ALEC expires this spring and for a number of reasons, including limited resources, we have made the decision not to renew.


For Leap Year, Occupy takes on ALEC

February 29 comes but once every four years, and the Occupy movement has chosen to make good use of the extra day this month. In some 60 cities across the nation, Occupiers will be protesting the insidious ALEC—the American Legislative Exchange Council—and the corporations it benefits and which fund it. Very worthy targets. The New York Times editors offer a succinct summary:

The American Legislative Exchange Council was founded in 1973 by the right-wing activist Paul Weyrich; its big funders include Exxon Mobil, the Olin and Scaife families and foundations tied to Koch Industries. Many of the largest corporations are represented on its board.

ALEC has written model legislation on a host of subjects dear to corporate and conservative interests, and supporting lawmakers have introduced these bills in dozens of states. A recent study of the group’s impact in Virginia showed that more than 50 of its bills were introduced there, many practically word for word.

The damage done by the corporations that fund ALEC and its stable of mostly Republican legislators is immense and on-going.

Color of Change Launches Campaign Against ALEC-Inspired Voter ID Laws

Activist group Color of Change launched a campaign on Thursday to combat right-wing voter suppressionlegislation pushed across the country by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Conservatives say that voter identification laws and other legislation are needed to stop voter fraud. But with little to no evidence of any significant voter fraud anywhere in the country, the real intent of the legislation is to suppress voter turnout for groups that typically vote for Democrats, including minority groups.

Interested citizens can visit the Color of Change website to send the following letter to corporations that are funding ALEC's programs: