Don't Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.

The ABC’s Legislative Guides from 2009 and 2010 Contain Dozens of Bills Listed as “Property of ALEC”

When we stumbled across news on May 18th that the FBI was investigating the John Kasich administration for bribery relating to gubernatorial appointments we rushed to post and comment on what we’d read. Buried in the story, though, was mention of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a big business lobby that claims to represent non-union contractors in the construction sector.

This weekend, an article on the Because I Can blog connected some more dots:

Maggie Cook, of Warren County, told the Plain Dealer that her job with Associated Builders and Contractors, was threatened if she didn’t withdraw from the central committee race in which the governor put up his own slate. She refused to resign from the committee. She was later fired.

Pause to catch your breath while I report that Bryan Williams, former director of the Summit County Board of Elections, is a lobbyist for said Associated Builders and Contractors and a likely suspect in trying to influence Cook.

The author then goes one further, connecting Williams to an Ohio coalition pushing “Right-to-Work” legislation:

A group seeking to bring a November statewide vote to make Ohio a “right-to-work” state got the OK to circulate its petition yesterday. The final green light came from the Ohio Ballot Board, which ruled that the proposed constitutional amendment is a single issue. … The coalition behind the Ohio ballot measure includes Chris Littleton, co-founder of the Ohio Liberty Council; Maurice Thompson, executive director of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law; and former state Rep. Bryan Williams of Akron, director of government affairs for the Associated Builders and Contractors of Ohio.

This caused the author to wonder if the ABC had a relationship with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the group on the forefront of the “Right-to-Work” fight. The results were damning:

The ABC’s 2009 Chapter Legislative Guide contained 18 bills listed as “property of” ALEC, while the ABC’s 2010 Legislative Handbook included 10 examples of copyrighted ALEC model legislation.

A review of the legislation in the ABC’s 2010 Legislative Handbook sreveals that even though the legislative handbook is dated 2010 – the ALEC legislation is from 2003 – which means that someone was a member back in 2003 to get ALEC “model” legislation out of the secret ALEC vault in 2003.

We have attempted repeatedly to highlight the unscrupulous nature of the ABC and the anti-worker policies they promote. We have drawn the connection between the ABC and ALEC, not in terms of members but in terms of ideology. Now there is evidence of a true connection, of sharing model legislation.

Recently, a study was released that pinpoints the degree to which the ABC is mired in disinformation about its membership and it goals. A few facts and figures from the study appear below:

In 2008, ABC’s Free Enterprise Alliance contributed $334,692 to two ballot initiatives in Colorado, one on a right to work law and one on paycheck protection.

The total number of ABC’s member-contractors (sub and general) amounts to only 1% of the total number of licensed or registered construction contractors in the United States.

At the time this analysis was completed, there were 44 Chevrolet dealers included in the ABC membership, as well as 673 insurance brokers/dealers and 59 banks.

There were 429,578 individual apprentices enrolled in the JATC (union) programs from 2002–2011. During the same period, there were 22,260 individual apprentices enrolled in ABC programs in participating states.


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