It is now the common wisdom of millions of interested parties that ALEC does not work for the vast majority of citizens, that it is a vicious corporate lobby and that it is thee main force behind the deterioration of personal liberties and workers’ rights in the United States.
Arguing against ALEC’s influence over state legislation has become more difficult thanks to efforts such as ALEC Exposed which display how similar bills advancing in GOP-controlled states are and from whence they originate. Now, Florida Rep. Rachel Burgin (R-56), a 29 year old former legislative aide and graduate of Moody Bible Institute, has made the task of indicting ALEC for undue influence in state politics that much easier by forgetting to remove ALEC’s mission statement from a bill (PDF) she suddenly “decided” to propose. This bill calls on the federal government to reduce taxes for corporations (HM 685).
Burgin discovered her error, but not before Common Blog spotted it:
All ALEC model resolutions contain a boilerplate paragraph, describing ALEC’s adherence to free market principles and limited government. When legislators introduce one of ALEC’s bills, they normally remove this paragraph. Sometimes (but only sometimes) legislators will make some slight alterations to anALEC model bill,perhaps to include something specific to them or to their state. Rep. Burgin didn’t do that. Instead she introduced a bill that was the same as the model word-for-word, forgetting even to remove the paragraph naming ALEC and describing its principles.
As a Texas Governor might say; “Oops!”
The next day, Rep. Burgin quickly withdrew the bill hoping that no one had noticed and then re-introduced it 24-hours later, with a new bill number (HM 717), but now without the problematic paragraph. Nobody seems to have noticed until now.
Politicians like Rachel Burgin are the exact reason Americans no longer have faith in the institutions of government. After working as a legislative aide, Burgin made enough corporate friends to get herself elected to the Florida State House in 2008. At 25, Burgin was elected to the statehouse two years prior to completing college. Her voting record shows a propensity for the conservative extreme.
Common Blog explains what Burgin’s mistake means for American democracy,
…states play a very significant role in setting the national agenda. Corporations know this, which is why they frequently use ALEC to secretly introduce their model bills, creating the impression of widespread popular uproar in the state houses. In recent years they have used this mechanism for both attacks on the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases (ALEC bill introduced in 22 states) and in pushing back against the Affordable Care Act (ALEC bill introduced in 44 states).
And, as you might expect, the supporters of this model legislation are not exactly model citizens:
Rep. Burgin’s (revised) bill to reduce corporate taxes has already been voted out of the Federal Affairs Subcommittee and is due to have a hearing in the State Affairs Committee soon. Only one external voice was heard at the subcommittee hearing, the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), a lobby with its own ties to ALEC. AIF is now run by notorious ex-Congressman and Florida Speaker Tom Feeney who was not only caught up in the Jack Abramoff scandal, but was once named one of the “20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress” by the organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Read the entire Common Blog piece HERE.