Get ALEC's Bribery OUT of NC Politics!

  • by: Susan V
  • target: NC Legislature
In NC, ALEC is like "Big Brother." It's taken over the legislature and is now trying to kill renewable energy and other progress.

ALEC Exposed says American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is made up of corporations that pay $7-25 thousand a year and legislators, who join for a fraction of that amount. Both vote on model bills that benefit corporations, which legislators then introduce in their statehouses as their own public policy innovations. Perks for legislators include all-expense paid convention/ vacations and a chance to hobnob with rich, prospective donors.

According to Greenpeace, "ALEC's agenda includes rolling back protections on our health, our clean air and water, public safety, public education -- public anything, really." And since Republicans, mostly funded by ALEC supporter Art Pope, took over NC, that's been the agenda, along with killing the Racial Justice Act.

Now ALEC legislators want to burn NC's renewable energy mandate (SB3) and call it "Electricity Freedom," an act written by climate-change-denying Heartland Institute, also funded by NC's new Budget Director, Art Pope.

Considering the payoff for ALEC's perks, what this amounts to is bribery, and it must end. Tell lawmakers to Get ALEC OUT of NC Politics!

We, the undersigned, want ALEC's goal to kill renewable energy stopped in NC before it spreads to the rest of the country. Also we want ALEC's influence over all politicians to end at once.

With Australia now in a heat crisis and the Southern US having just experienced the hottest year on record, this is no time to be going after states' renewable energy mandates. It is a time, instead, to be pushing harder and legislating even more support for wind, solar and other renewables.

American Legislative Exchange Council claims it's a "nonpartisan resource" that "respects diversity of thought," even though, says ALEC Exposed, only one out of 104 legislators in its leadership is a Democrat.

There's little doubt that ALECs influence was behind NC Legislature's fast-tracking of last year's fracking bill, and certainly ALEC favorite Thom Tillis picked a commission full of industry conflicts to regulate the practice. Instead of legislating to support a planned wind farm in Eastern, NC, lawmakers were fed anti-wind propaganda by Art Pope-funded groups that deny climate science - groups that are also scheming, behind the scenes, to kill renewable energy mandates in several states. The legislature is, basically, supporting Duke Energy's plans to go ahead full steam with Coal-fired and nuclear plants that will require a customer rate hike to pay for them.

Reversing these proposed actions, and being instead more supportive of renewable energy, would not only help slow our fast track toward destructive climate change, it would stimulate the economy and create "jobs that do not poison us," says Greenpeace. A report from Greenpeace last summer also shows that, instead of hiking rates, Duke Energy could save customers billions by investing more in renewables. According to NC Sustainable Energy Association's 2012 Industry Census, "SB3 has helped create the current 15,200 full-time equivalent clean energy jobs, up three percent from the previous year, and generated $3.7 billion in economic activity...."

Claims that renewables are more costly to consumers is addressed also by Greenpeace that says:"Charlotte Business Journal reports that SB3 has a "negligible impact on customer bill increases" for Progress Energy Carolinas' customers, at about 41 cents per month."

Duke Energy, also a supporter of ALEC, is now heavily represented by state legislators, McCrory cabinet members and McCrory himself, who are former Duke employees. Mike Hager, who "says he is confident that he has the votes needed to weaken or undo his state's renewable energy requirement," is "a former Duke Energy engineer and a member of ALEC," says Gibson.

ALEC's claim that it doesn't lobby, is a lot like Bush's claim that the US doesn't torture. As a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, ALEC describes itself as a nonpartisan group that does not engage in lobbying activities, which would be illegal under its 501(3)c tax code status. However, according to ALEC Exposed, "In most ordinary people's view, handing bills to legislators so they can introduce them is the very definition of lobbying."

According to Indy Weekly, "ALEC's critics say the group is flouting state and national laws in the way it extends its influence."

And NC Legislators that enjoy ALEC's perks are also "flouting" laws. Bob Phillips of Common Cause North Carolina told Indy Weekly that "We have regulations to stop a lawmaker from being wined and dined here, and I'm not certain there is a difference in what ALEC is doing...."

In Capra's film, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," William Jefferson Smith used the word "graft" to describe the corruption going on in the US Senate. It's defined as bribery. Though we don't hear it used a lot today, it's the perfect word to describe what's going on in the NC Legislature, at least since 2010. 

When legislators who team up with ALEC get all-expense paid vacations that include, "For a few hours of work on a task force and a couple of indoctrination sessions by ALEC experts," a "stay [for their entire family] in swank hotels...[with access to] cool parties -- even strip clubs...all heavily subsidized by the corporate till," then what else would you call it?

It's graft- it's bribery, and it must stop.

We request that NC lawmakers end efforts to kill NC's renewable energy mandates, and we demand that ALEC's influence on and bribing of NC lawmakers end - NOW!

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