ALEC Responds to Deceptive Common Cause Report

By ALEC National Chairman Rep. Noble Ellington (LA)

New Orleans, LA — In its latest effort to criticize elected leaders who attend forums convened by the nonpartisan, nonprofit American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Common Cause has distorted the facts, concealed critical details, and apparently attempted to mislead the news media and the public.

The distortion by Common Cause begins on the home page of its website, where it promotes a “study” that claims to document state-level political contributions made by 22 companies, but omits the fact that it also counts contributions by workers at those companies, and spending to support or oppose ballot issues.

Absurdly, Common Cause includes all contributions made by individual employees of 22 companies. On the last page of the report, Common Cause admits that “[m]ore than 130,000 individual contributions from all 50 states were loaded into a spreadsheet” to compile the report. This included all donations –even those made to candidates who oppose the free market and limited government principles that ALEC members support. Common Cause also includes individual contributions to state political parties and state-level campaigns on ballot issues – again, without regard to the nature of those ballot issues.

Criticizing workers for exercising their constitutional rights is troubling, and Common Cause’s misleading statements are unconscionable, and even more so for an organization whose purpose is to enable “citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.”

The facts about ALEC are:

ALEC is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and diverse; it has members from state legislatures, nonprofit organizations, foundations and the private sector. ALEC members operate in a democratic way to promote economic growth, fiscal responsibility and individual liberty.

Contrary to the claims of Common Cause, ALEC does not lobby; takes no role in partisan campaign activities; and has no involvement in campaign contributions made by any individual, company, or political action committee.

ALEC operates as a nonprofit, tax-exempt §501(c)(3) organization that, as permitted by the Internal Revenue Code and regulations, provides member-approved, nonpartisan research, analysis and model legislation addressing important public policy issues.

ALEC’s 2,000 members focus on topics including economic growth, education, public safety, health care, and tax and fiscal policy. More information about ALEC is available at www.alec.org.