USA: Lawsuit filed against network accused of pushing corporate agenda on conservative law makers behind closed doors
Author: Ed Pilkington, The Guardian, Published on: 13 December 2019
"Lawsuit could force secretive network promoting rightwing laws into the open" 4 Dec 2019
Alec, the secretive “bill mill” responsible for spreading rightwing legislation across the US, is facing a legal challenge to force it to open up to public scrutiny in a test case that could threaten the existence of the controversial network.
A lawsuit filed on Wednesday in a superior court in Maricopa county, Arizona, questions the way that local state legislators are allowed to participate in Alec events. The filing is timed to mark the opening of Alec’s annual summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, in which elected lawmakers will be teaming up with corporate lobbyists to frame business-friendly legislation in sessions closed to the general public.
The suit argues that Alec – renowned for propagating virulent rightwing laws that attack unions, immigrants and protest groups among others – undermines democracy by replacing the allegiance of legislators to voters with allegiance to big business. It states: “Members of the Arizona public are precluded from presenting their views and interests in a critical stage of the legislative process, addressing policy implications, or otherwise engaging in a robust discussion necessary to the democratic process.”
The suit seeks to leverage Arizona’s “open meetings” law which requires all public bodies in the state to make their events accessible to citizens. Arizona state and the Arizona state legislature are defendants in the case...
Reports suggest that more than 1,000 bills based on Alec templates are introduced into state assemblies each year with more than 100 passing into law.