Last Friday, I, along with other residents in District 93, received a legislative update from my opponent in the mail. Humorously, the update touted his interest in “increased transparency.”
As I wrote in the first post about ALEC, one of the most objectionable aspects of the group is its glaring lack of transparency:
ALEC is, in short, a collaboration between private business interests and conservative state legislators. Through conferences, with expenses often paid for by “scholarships” funded by these businesses, these legislators are put in direct contact with lobbyists for these businesses. It should not be groundbreaking news to hear that legislators have been influenced by lobbyists – we already know this.
The step where this becomes problematic is through the introduction of “model bills.” Model bills are written by lobbyists from these businesses, bills that further the interests of these businesses over those of the residents of our State, which are then introduced in state legislatures by ALEC members. Again, the cynic would not be shocked to hear that lobbyists write legislation. The problem in this instance, however, is that ALEC does not have to register as a lobbying group; instead, Indiana is one of three states where ALEC has been specifically exempted from lobbyist status.
In short, out-of-state business interests write legislation that is then introduced by their funded legislators, and often passed in conservative states.
When my opponent discusses transparency, don’t lose track of his ties to ALEC, which is, by definition, as opaque of a political actor as one can find.