Former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) are tied in the latest poll of the Virginia Senate race. Allen and Kaine are tied among likely voters with 46 percent support apiece, according to a new Marist poll conducted for NBC and The Wall Street Journal.
With Democrats scrambling to hold control of the Senate and regain the House majority in November, I’m puzzled by the lack of attention to Allen’s affiliations with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Allen has a long history of affiliation with ALEC going back to his days in the Virginia legislature.
For the past 18 months, ALEC has come under increasing scrutiny due to their involvement in advancing a partisan conservative agenda throughout the US – including that of suppressing the right to vote by minorities, the elderly and college students. Forty corporations and more than fifty legislators have dropped membership in ALEC since April of 2011. The latest to cut ties was Merck just this week.
In the case of George Allen, he was not only a former ALEC member when he served Virginia as a state legislator he was also a recipient of ALEC’s “prestigious” Jefferson Freedom Award in 1996. Allen proudly advertises this on his website in an August 2011 press release, complete with photo.
In his acceptance speech Allen stated:
ACCEPTANCE OF THOMAS JEFFERSON FREEDOM AWARD
My friends, I was a member of ALEC years ago when I was in the legislature. I always enjoyed reading about the new ideas and sharing the best practices of states from across the country. I also have benefited greatly from my involvement with ALEC and with its many women and men of character, commitment and energy.
The American legislative Exchange Council is a great organization. You do an outstanding job working to improve government for the benefit of the people in Virginia and in states throughout our great nation.
That’s why it’s heartening to receive ALEC’s Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award. I’m truly grateful that you’ve so generously bestowed this prestigious award upon me.
Your award is named after my hero. I consider myself a Jeffersonian Conservative. I did hold Mr. Jefferson’s seat in the House of Delegates. For many, Thomas Jefferson remains the spirit of freedom and liberty not only here in our country, but for people throughout the world.
I also have great respect for the six past recipients of this award, especially for another of my personal heroes, Ronald Reagan.
Other than being elected Governor by the people of Virginia, receiving ALEC’s Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award is the highest honor that I have received,
I humbly thank you very much.
Allen is also an ALEC Jefferson Scholar and in 2006 while serving in Congress Senator Allen was chosen by ALEC to serve as Co-chairman of their new Federal Forum Task Force.
The Voters Legislative Transparency Project reported in an in-depth expose last November, “American Legislative Exchange Council – Federal Government and Corrupt Practices”, that Senator Allen was instrumental in advancing ALEC’s agenda directly into the US Congress through the Federal Forum’s initiatives.
As far back as 2002 ALEC Watch listed Allen as an ALEC Alumnus yet of today’s organizations pursuing full exposure of ALEC and transparency to their actions and memberships, VLTP is the only one to identify George Allen’s ALEC connection. To date few have bothered to look back upon Allen’s legislative record to determine which ALEC model legislation Allen sponsored, supported or introduced. I would urge those organizations and activists pursuing ALEC nationwide to put some effort into announcing Allen’s ALEC affiliations to Virginia’s voters.
Allen’s opponent in the upcoming election, former Governor Tim Kaine has somehow failed to take full advantage of Allen’s ongoing relationship with an organization now seen as toxic by many Americans in such a tight race. I believe to continue to not bring Allen’s ALEC involvement to the attention of Virginia’s voters will not only be a disservice to Kaine – it is a disservice to his supporters and the voters of the Great Commonwealth of Virginia.
Please visit http://youtu.be/mKzTmkJzL90 to see a video history of George Allen, Candidate for the U.S. Senate.