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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Following the corporate money; some improvement, but then there's ALEC

Posted By on Thu, Sep 27, 2012 at 6:14 AM

The Washington Post reports on a study that says a majority of Fortune 500 companies now either disclose their political spending or else have sworn off giving political contributions. In the era of Citizens United, a touch of disclosure seems the least the moneybags can do. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce naturally is adamantly opposed to transparency, much like Republican politicians, to be redundant about the seamless joining of corporate America and the Republican Party.

This link takes you to the Center for Political Accountability, which did the study. You'll see that Walmart scores at the bottom of the ranking of the 200 biggest companies on board oversight and disclosure practices on political spending.

Gold stars to IBM, Colgate-Palmolive, Goldman Sachs and Praxair for not making political expenditures from their treasuries and directing trade associations not to use their payments for political work.

THE DARK SIDE: The dark side of the corporate world is embodied in the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate (think Kochs, particularly) lobby that has co-opted mostly Republican legislators into a political juggernaut masquerading as a research institution. Bill Moyers is on the case:

This week, we report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most Americans have never heard of — ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC presents itself as a "nonpartisan public-private partnership". But behind that mantra lies a vast network of corporate lobbying and political action aimed to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge.

In state houses around the country, hundreds of pieces of boilerplate ALEC legislation are proposed or enacted that would, among other things, dilute collective bargaining rights, make it harder for some Americans to vote, and limit corporate liability for harm caused to consumers — each accomplished without the public ever knowing who's behind it.

We explore ALEC's self-serving machine at work, acting in a way one Wisconsin politician describes as "a corporate dating service for lonely legislators and corporate special interests."

It's always worth a reminder that the Republican Party of Arkansas is prepared to jam the ALEC agenda through our General Assembly if given a majority.

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