"Who let the Dumb ALECs lie and write bad laws?" (photo courtesy of Jim White)

Pouting Baby is talking to us again. — JW

Common Bob is doing a good thing again. Remember when he was showing how Creepy Clarence was lying? Well, today Common Bob and his friends asked the government to look at lies from the Dumb ALECs:

A group uniting corporate leaders and conservative state legislators to draft “model” legislation and turn it into state laws appears to have under-reported its lobbying activity and should be investigated for possible federal tax law violations, Common Cause said today.

In a letter to the Internal Revenue Service, the nonprofit government watchdog group said the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) may have filed false tax returns and put its tax-exempt, charitable status at risk. The council operates under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which limits its lobbying activity and allows its corporate backers to deduct their contributions to ALEC from their taxable income.

“The American Legislative Exchange Council is the mechanism through which some of America’s largest corporations are seeking to secure legislation designed to advance their bottom lines,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “They have every right to do so, but they appear to be evading lobbying disclosure laws and the tax breaks they’re exploiting constitute a public subsidy for their profit-driven lobbying. That’s not right.”

The letter (pdf) from Common Bob and his friends to the IRS is 65 pages long and was written by some very smart lawyers. It has lots of details on how the Dumb ALECs are lying about money and how they use it.

Today was a really bad day for the Dumb ALECs, because there were more stories in the news about bad things they’ve done. One article showed how they are trying to steal elections:

At least thirty-three states have introduced voter ID laws this year. In addition to Wisconsin, Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina and Tennessee have passed similar bills. Only a veto by Democratic Governor John Lynch prevented New Hampshire from enacting a law the Republican House speaker admitted was advanced to make it harder for “liberal” students to cast ballots, and that one state representative described as “directly attributable to ALEC.”

ALEC’s goal is to influence not just state politics but also the 2012 presidential race, to “give the electoral edge to their preferred candidates,” as Cristina Francisco McGuire of the Progressive States Network pointed out in March. “It’s no coincidence that they are waging the fiercest of these battles in states that are also the likeliest battleground states in 2012, where suppressing the youth vote could have a dramatic impact,” she wrote. The one class of voters that ALEC seeks to protect with resolutions and model legislation—overseas military voters—happens to be likely to vote Republican.

Another article showed how a Florida politician submitted a law drafted by the Dumb ALECs. This was a really bad law that would hurt workers and their right to band together (just like the one in Wisconsin), but the Florida legislature tried to lie about the Dumb ALECs’ involvement:

Given the similarities between HB 1021 and a rash of like-minded bills in states across the country, including Wisconsin, on March 30 a public records request was sent to Dorworth’s office seeking copies of all documents pertaining to the writing of HB 1021, including copies of any pieces of model legislation the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) may have provided.

Within an hour of submitting this request, Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon’s (R-Winter Park) Communications Director Katherine Betta responded: “We received a note from Representative Dorworth’s office regarding your request for records relating to the American Legislative Exchange Council and HB 1021. Please note that Mr. Dorworth’s legislative offices did not receive any materials from ALEC relating to this bill or any ‘model legislation’ from other states.”

But two weeks later Dorworth’s office delivered 87 pages of documents, mostly bill drafts and emails, detailing the evolution of what was to become HB 1021. Buried at the bottom of the stack was an 11-page bundle of neatly typed material, labeled “Paycheck Protection,” which consisted of three pieces of model legislation, with the words “Copyright, ALEC” at the end of each.

The Dumb ALECs should be in a lot of trouble, but does anyone really think they will be punished? Why are they allowed to lie and to write bad laws? Is it because the really rich people and big companies that give the Dumb ALECs their money can get away with anything they want?

PS from Mr. Jim: Pouting Baby almost forgot to pout this week, because he was so excited watching soccer. Pouting Baby is in love with Miss Abby!

Jim White

Jim White

Follow me on Twitter @JimWhiteGNV