A new report released by ProgressVA details the disturbing level of influence exerted on Virginia’s legislature by a secretive, corporate front group. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is funded by corporate contributions, has been writing bills that Virginia legislators are passing off as their own work on everything from education to health care to voting rights. The report was written and researched by ProgressVA, a progressive advocacy group.
Key findings in the report include:
- At least 50 bills introduced in the Virginia General Assembly that were drawn from ALEC model legislation
- Over $230,000 in taxpayer money spent on sending legislators on junkets to ALEC conferences to meet with corporate lobbyists behind closed doors
- Over 100 current and former legislators with ties to ALEC, including Speaker of the House of Delegates William Howell, Governor Bob McDonnell, and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli
“Simply put, a secretive, corporate front group is writing Virginia’s laws,” said Anna Scholl, Executive Director of ProgressVA. “Even worse, Virginia taxpayers have shelled out over $230,000 for the privilege of our representatives having exclusive access to corporate lobbyists behind closed doors. Our legislators were elected to represent Virginia families, not corporate bottom lines. Legislators who kowtow to a corporate agenda are nothing new in Virginia, but secretly copying and pasting legislation from corporate lobbyists is a step too far. This is an egregious violation of the public trust. If our representatives are so desperate for legislative ideas, they should consult the people they were elected to represent. We’ll even give them the advice for free.”
ProgressVA encourages citizens to access the online report to see if their legislator is working for their constituents or corporate lobbyists.
The full report may be obtained electronically at http://progressva.pnstate.org/alec.