NY Times: The Big Money Behind State Laws

-Editorial

February 12, 2012- It is no coincidence that so many state legislatures have spent the last year taking the same destructive actions: making it harder for minorities and other groups that support Democrats to vote, obstructing health care reform, weakening environmental regulations and breaking the spines of public- and private-sector unions. All of these efforts are being backed — in some cases, orchestrated — by a little-known conservative organization financed by millions of corporate dollars.

The American Legislative Exchange Council was founded in 1973 by the right-wing activist Paul Weyrich; its big funders include Exxon Mobil, the Olin and Scaife families and foundations tied to Koch Industries. Many of the largest corporations are represented on its board.

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Politiscoop: Bill would force ALEC to disclose corporate contributors

-By Paul I. Tascoupe

February 13, 2012- MADISON – Today, Democratic legislators formally submitted a bill for introduction that would clamp down on special interest organizations that write bills for legislators.

Recently, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has drawn criticism for acting as lobbyists for corporate legislation while being exempted from registering as a lobbying group with the Government Accountability Board. Many ALEC bills became law this session, including several of Governor Walker’s special session bills that made it harder for victims to sue corporations for wrongdoing.

“Last August, I infiltrated the ALEC convention and got a first-hand look at what they are up to,” said Pocan. “ALEC is like a speed dating service for lonely legislators and corporate executives. The corporations write bills and legislators sign their names to the bills. In the end, we’re stuck with bad laws and nobody knows where they came from.”

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Common Cause: ALEC Exposed, for 24 hours

What is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)?

-By: Nick Surgey

January 31, 2012- For almost 40 years now, up to 300 of the largest US corporations—including Koch Industries, Verizon, Bank of America and Exxon—have used ALEC to push model legislation, which is beneficial to their corporate interests, into law in the states. ALEC boasts that a third of all state legislators in the US are members, introducing around 1,000 ALEC bills every year. By using ALEC to pursue their agenda, they are able to hide their fingerprints, avoid lobbying disclosure, and evade the kind of increased scrutiny that comes when citizens know it’s actually corporationsthat draftedsome of their most important laws. Recent ALEC bills have rolled back voting rights, reduced environmental protections and stripped away collective bargaining rights for workers around the country.

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Occupy For Accountability: Virginia Thomas And The Liberty Central Quagmire: Laughing All The Way To The Bank

Liberty Central.org a C4 corporation that listed as its CEO Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and funded by Texas billionaire Harlan Crow released its form 990 which we are now looking over. Some of the problems we see with it are in the financials. I shall highlight them here:

1. Compensation of Virginia Thomas set at 120,511.00

2. Listed 25 employees of which only 3 others were paid out of donated funds. Total salaries were for Chief Operating Officer Sarah Field at 83,750.00 dollars. Tracy Price as Treasurer, who was paid 22,000.00 dollars. And Sue Hamblin as Secretary, who was paid 33,510.00 dollars. The rest of the boards of directors were paid nothing. Total salaries were reported at 259,771.00.

3. Money that went to Information Technology was 141.717.00 dollars.

4. Fees for services listed as OTHER was 389,306.00 dollars. This other is totally unaccounted for and is not disclosed at all on how it was paid, or who it was paid to, or even what was paid for.

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Virginia Thomas’ Liberty Central Tax Return Released—POE Asks For Criminal Investigation

After three extensions, Virginia Thomas finally filed her Liberty Central 2010 990 tax return with the IRS. It is readily apparent why she delayed its release as long as legally possible. First, Liberty Central took in close to a million dollars in 2010 and spent a majority of its income on salaries and wages. Second, Virginia Thomas took a whopping $120,000+ in salary herself. Third, Liberty Central lists “other” for $389,306 and “other salaries and wages” for $285,412. Third, Liberty Central spent $140,717 on information technology.

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Huffington Post: Rick Perry Supporters Start Non-Profit That Can Accept Unlimited, Secret Donations

-by Paul Blumenthal

September 28, 2011- Supporters of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential bid have organized a non-profit under the 501(c)(4) section of the tax code to aid his candidacy, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity's iWatch News.

The group, Citizens for a Greater America, will be able to accept unlimited contributions from corporations, unions and individuals without having to publicly disclose those donations. A fact sheet obtained by iWatch News highlights this feature to donors. The new non-profit was revealed to iWatch News by a person who raises funds for both Perry and the pro-Perry super PAC, Make Us Great Again.

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Huffington Post: Political Groups Are Flouting IRS Rules To Keep Donors Secret, Reformers Say

-by Dan Froomkin

September 28, 2011- Good-government advocates on Wednesday asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate four groups they say are blatantly flouting the law by claiming tax-exempt status as "social welfare" groups when they are in fact overtly political organizations.

The so-called c4 designation, in addition to exempting organizations from taxes, also allows groups to keep their donors secret — even while accepting unlimited funds.

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The Brad Blog: Quick Follow-Up to Part 1 of Our Koch Exclusive

Kochs respond, the story is advanced, my appearances on CNN and MSNBC, and even a response from the White House…of a sort…

-by Brad Friedman

September 6, 2011- A few quick follow-up items, for now, in advance of tomorrow morning's Part 2, from Part 1 of my exclusive secret Koch tapes scoop at Mother Jones this morning which went very viral, very quickly today, as I figured it probably would.

• As I noted in UPDATE to my short stub story this morning linking over to the MoJo article, the Kochs finally decided to respond today, first to Jake Tapper at ABC News, after days of their refusing to give me a response — even though I pressed them, multiple times in advance, for an explanation of Charles Koch's seeming comparison of "Saddam Hussein" to Barack Obama and the 2012 election as the "Mother of All Wars." See their response, and my response to it, in that UPDATE.

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