Progress Iowa launches campaign to demand Legislators stop sending tax dollars to ALEC

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Campaign launches on tax day calling on Legislators to opt out of taxpayer-funded memberships

DES MOINES – Progress Iowa today called on all Iowans to contact their Legislators and demand they opt out of a taxpayer funded membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing corporate front group.

“Today we are asking every Iowan to contact their legislator and tell them that sending taxpayer dollars to ALEC is unacceptable,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “Our legislators need to opt out of ALEC immediately. If a legislator has already opted out of ALEC, they need to speak out against the organization. We have a right to know that our tax dollars aren’t being spent on a shadowy group promoting an extreme right-wing agenda.”

Yesterday State Representative Kevin McCarthy spoke about the issue on Iowa Public Radio, saying “39 of (the) 40 members of our caucus have opted out so that we’re not having taxpayer dollars sent to this organization that advocates for things like ‘Stand your Ground’ which is why the Gates Foundation, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, and other entities are withdrawing their financial support from this organization.”

ALEC is a secretive, corporate front group that drafts legislation, allowing Iowa legislators to pass it off as their own. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, ALEC has provided model legislation in Iowa to suppress voter rights, withdraw from regional environmental partnerships, and require ‘intellectual diversity’ reporting from our college campuses.

During the past few weeks, ALEC has received mounting criticism for their role in promoting controversial legislation, such as “Stand Your Ground” laws, which have been implicated in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

As a result, a number of high profile corporations and organizations have ended their financial support of ALEC, including: Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft, Intuit, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Mars, Inc.

To view the call to action and to contact your legislator, click here.


Additonal information:

Click here for audio of Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s radio interview on Iowa Public Radio

ALEC-modeled legislation in Iowa (click here for full information including links to Iowa legislation and ALEC model legislation):

  • HF6 (introduced 1/11/11) “an act requiring the development of a searchable budget database.” Compare to ALEC’s “Transparency and Government Accountability Act.”
  • HR4 (introduced 1/26/11), a “A resolution calling for the withdrawal of the State of Iowa from the Midwestern Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord.” Compare to ALEC’s “State Withdrawal from Regional Climate Initiatives.”
  • HF95 (passed by the House 1/27/11) “establishing a requirement for voters to provide certain identification when voting in person.” Compare to ALEC’s “Voter ID Act.”
  • HSB19 (recorded 1/20/11) “concerning state preemption of firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition regulation by political subdivisions and providing a remedy.” Compare to ALEC’s “Consistency in Firearms Regulation Act.”
  • HF285 (introduced 2/15/11) “relating to intellectual diversity in community colleges and institutions of higher education under the control of the state board of regents and providing a reporting requirement.” Compare to ALEC’s “Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education Act.”

Known ALEC Members in Iowa (According to SourceWatch):

  • Sen. Sandra H. Greiner (R-45)
  • Sen. Tim L. Kapucian (R-20)
  • Sen. James A. Seymour (R-28)
  • Rep. Richard T. Anderson (R-97)
  • Rep. Richard Arnold (R-72)
  • Rep. Betty De Boef (R-76)
  • Rep. Dave Deyoe (R-10)
  • Rep. Greg Forristall (R-98)
  • Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa (R-99)
  • Rep. David Heaton (R-91)
  • Rep. Stewart E. Iverson, Jr. (R-9)
  • Rep. Mark S. Lofgren (R-80)
  • Rep. Linda Miller (R-82)
  • Rep. Steven Olson (R-83)
  • Rep. Kim Pearson (R-42)
  • Rep. Dawn E. Pettengill (R-39)
  • Rep. Brian J. Quirk (D-15)
  • Rep. Thomas R. Sands (R-87)
  • Rep. Charles Soderberg (R-3)
  • Rep. Linda Upmeyer (R-12)
  • Rep. Ralph Watts (R-47)