The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) began in 1973, and has supported conservative policy ideas. It is currently focusing on lawsuit reform, tax and spending limitations, and school choice.
ALEC is made up of state lawmakers to share conservative policy ideas. Through the years, ALEC has been obscure at times, and in the forefront at times. It is now in the forefront because of the record gains by conservatives in state legislatures in 2010.
Former White House czar, Van Jones of the Obama Administration, now leads the group called Color of Change. Its members are left-wing activists and media. They are bullying big business to cut off aid to ALEC.
ALEC has a meager budget of $7 million, coming from 2,000 legislator members who chip in $50 each per year. Contrast this to the tens of millions that unions are investing in Wisconsin to recall Governor Scott Walker. Anyway, Color of Change is approaching big business, demanding they stop contributing to ALEC because it is racist. This scares them. The main thrust by Color of Change is saying that voter ID laws are racist and unworthy of their support. They also say that ALEC supports Florida’s “Stand Your Ground laws” in the wake of the killing of Trevon Martin. These “Shoot First laws” exist in 26 states, and are endorsed by former Democratic governors, including Janet Napolitano, now head of Homeland Security. Color of Change also criticizes ALEC’s support of privatized education, and they support Planned Parenthood. They are playing up the race card because they know it has the most potential to spook big business. And, it is working.
There are several big companies that have caved under Color of Change’s pressure to date, including Coca-Cola, Mars Candy, Wendy’s, Kraft and the Gates Foundation. AT&T, Walmart, State Farm and Johnson & Johnson are withstanding the attacks at present. If they cave, too, they will be abandoning one of the few voices in state capitals that support free enterprise policies.
ALEC is feeling the pressure, and announced that it is abandoning its Public Safety and Education task force on non-economic issues. It is surely a shame to see the group bending to this pressure. This ugly, anti-ALEC campaign by Van Jones and Color of Change is typical of today’s liberal activism, and they are resorting to demonizing their opponents, and trying to shut them down. The business community needs to realize that ALEC won’t be the last target of Color of Change. We, as citizens, need to know about this behind-the-scenes activity, and to encourage our state and national elected officials to support ALEC whenever possible.