• Letter was incomplete
    April 21,2014

    Letter was incomplete

    Vermont State Rep. Bob Helm recently wrote an article (“Good Policy comes from sharing ideas”) in The Times Argus encouraging participation in and support of the American Legislative Exchange Council. The article left out some fundamentals about ALEC that anyone reading the commentary should have known.

    Helm’s characterization of the organization seems hopeful, neutral to positive, and innocent. These characterizations are seriously lacking. ALEC is not simply a community forum about limited government, but rather a distinctly far-right organization focused on deregulation and deinstitutionalization. The trick with ALEC is not that it is supportive of “independent thinking,” as Helm posits, but rather that it gives the illusion of democratic problem-solving. ALEC is almost entirely funded by private corporations and billionaires. The big-money oligarchs who our independent Sen. Bernie Sanders has been warning us about? This is one of their most insidious fronts.

    When Helm offers sound bites such as “increase jobs and opportunities for all Americans,” he is offering them in the same ways establishment Republicans offer them. The American Association for Justice characterizes ALEC as “ghostwriting the law for corporate America,” because it develops legislation funded by those corporations, which is subsequently introduced in legislatures across the country and in our nation’s capital by participating representatives.

    The Guardian recently reported that, in addition to its powerful presence in national government, ALEC is increasing its influence at the state and local levels. ALEC’s promotion by Helm should be a red flag to those who wish to keep as much local control as possible in post-Citizens United America.

    David Quigley


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