The Nation: ALEC Exposed

-By John Nichols

July 12, 2011- “Never has the time been so right,” Louisiana State Representative Noble Ellington told conservative legislators gathered in Washington to plan the radical remaking of policies in the states. It was one month after the 2010 midterm elections. Republicans had grabbed 680 legislative seats and secured a power trifecta—control of both legislative chambers and the governorship—in twenty-one states. Ellington was speaking for hundreds of attendees at a “States and Nation Policy Summit,” featuring GOP stars like Texas Governor Rick Perry, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Convened by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—“the nation’s largest, non-partisan, individual public-private membership association of state legislators,” as the spin-savvy group describes itself—the meeting did not intend to draw up an agenda for the upcoming legislative session. That had already been done by ALEC’s elite task forces of lawmakers and corporate representatives. The new legislators were there to grab their weapons: carefully crafted model bills seeking to impose a one-size-fits-all agenda on the states.

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Huffington Post: Congressional Democrats Seek Corporate Disclosure Post-Citizens United

-By Paul Blumenthal

July 13, 2011- Congressional Democrats are stepping up support for transparency in corporate political spending ahead of the 2012 elections.

On Wednesday Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) held a press conference to introduce a bill that would put more power in shareholder hands in decisions over corporate political spending, as well as require public disclosure of those spending decisions.

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Think Progress: Rep. Chris Murphy: Thomas Gift Scandal ‘Undermine[s] The Integrity of The Entire Judiciary’

-By Ian Millhiser

June 23, 2011- ThinkProgress has obtained a draft letter Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) circulated this morning to his fellow members of Congress asking the House Judiciary Committee’s leadership to hold a hearing on the Supreme Court Transparency and Disclosure Act, a bill that will end the Supreme Court’s immunity to judicial ethics laws. As Murphy’s letter explains, his bill addresses the bevy of recently revealed ethics scandals involving members of the Supreme Court, including the Clarence Thomas gifting scandal: 

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Washington Post: Roberts Court rulings on campaign finance reveal shifting makeup, forceful role

October 31, 2010- Sometimes, it takes years to see the impact of a Supreme Court decision on American life, and sometimes a ruling lands with an explosion.

The Roberts Court's game-changing decisions on campaign finance reform have been both.

Almost from the moment Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the bench five years ago, the court's conservatives have acted systematically on their deep skepticism of campaign spending restrictions. They have repeatedly questioned the ability of Congress to regulate the role of wealth and special interest involvement in elections without offending the First Amendment guarantee of unfettered political speech.

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