The Truth vs. Debbie Lesko

Posted on November 3, 2014


Debbie Lesko says that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is “a wonderful, bi-partisan group of people working together.”

  • Number of Republican ALEC members nationally:  656 (97.2%)
  • Number of Democrat ALEC members nationally:  19 (2.8%)
  • Number of ALEC Board of Directors members who aren’t Republican: 3
  • Number of Democrat ALEC Board of Directors Members who are emeritus/retired/inactive:  3
  • Number of ALEC Board members who aren’t Republican: ZERO
  • Number of ALEC State Chairmen who aren’t Republican: ZERO
  • Number of ALEC State Leaders who aren’t Republican: 1
  • Number of Arizona’s 52 ALEC legislative members who aren’t Republican: ZERO

The prefix “bi” means “alternate” or “every-other,” such as bi-weekly. If ALEC was truly “bi-partisan,” the Democrat and/or Independent membership would be closer to 50 percent, not two percent.

Click HERE to see the names of all these members, leaders and executives of the “non-partisan” ALEC organization.

Debbie Lesko says that ALEC doesn’t generate fill-in-the-blank bill templates, written by ALEC and presented by state legislators as their own work.

  • Number of identical bills, written by ALEC, presented by state legislatures nationwide:  37
  • Number of nearly identical bills, slightly modified from the ALEC template, presented by state legislatures nationwide:  209
  • Number of bills presented to the Arizona state legislature that are identical to the ALEC template:  3
  • Number of bills presented to the Arizona state legislature, slightly modified from the ALEC template:  11

Debbie Lesko says that ALEC “doesn’t have a direct pipeline to the Arizona legislature. And yet, less than 20 ALEC bill templates have been presented for consideration by Arizona’s legislature. These bills include – but are not limited to – ALEC-written legislation that would:

  • Criminalize undocumented workers, stripping native-born Americans of their citizenship rights and requiring that all materials disseminated by state agencies be written in English only;
  • Encourage the privatization of state prisons to the benefit of the private prison industry;
  • Disenfranchise tens of thousands of Arizonans via voter suppression bills
  • Attack workers by undermining unions and collective bargaining and eliminating public employment through outsourcing and privatizing of government functions;
  • Attack public education through private school voucher programs;
  • Attempt to prevent implementation of healthcare reform, and
  • Attack federal environmental regulation by attempting to deny the federal government the ability to supersede weak state environmental legislation.

Debbie Lesko says ALEC doesn’t write bills and have state legislators pass them off as their own ideas.

  • Lesko says that the private school funding proposal she strongly advocates doesn’t promote “vouchers,” but instead promotes “Empowerment Scholarship Accounts.” The ALEC “model bill promotes “Empowerment Scholarship Accounts.”
  • SB 1070 (2010-2011) “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” mirrors ALEC’s “No Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Act” The template for what would become SB1070 was “written” by Arizona State Senate president Russell Pearce at an ALEC conference in Washington D.C in December of 2009. Pierce’s verbiage is nearly identical to the “input” to the bill by Corrections Corporations of America.
  • SB 1159 (2009) “Trespassing; Illegal Aliens,” supposedly created by Russell Pearce, Pamela Gorman and Judy Burges,  is also eerily reminiscent of “ALEC’s Immigration Law Enforcement Act,” adopted by ALEC’s board in June of 2008 and later included in ALEC’s ‘No Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Act,’ which was introduced in full in Arizona as SB 1070.
  • SB 1309 (2011) “Arizona Citizenship,” sponsored by Russell Pearce, Steve Smith and Ron Gould,  is about 70 percent identical to ALEC’s “Resolution on Fourteenth Amendment” with nearly verbatim versions proposed in Montana, South Dakota, Maine and in the U.S. Congress.
  • SB 1409 (2011) “Government Publications; English only, ” supposedly written by Lori Klein and Steve Smith is a twin to ALEC’s “Omnibus Common Language Act.”
  • SB 1466 (2009) “Council on Efficient Government,” which Pamela Gorman and Jack Harper claim to have authored, is nearly identical to ALEC’s “Council on Efficient Government Act.” ALEC alumnus Governor Jan Brewer created just such a privatization panel within the executive branch in 2010. That panel, the “Commission on Privatization and Efficiency,” released its report in July of 2011 with findings that are remarkably similar to results published by ALEC two months prior.
  • SCR 1028 (2011). supposedly authored by Gail Griffin, Scott Bundgaard, Lori Klein, Steve Smith, Rick Murphy, Steven Yarbrough, Sylvia Tenney Allen, Thomas Forese, Cecil Ash, David Gowan, J. Ted Vogt, Judy Burges, Jack Harper, Nancy Barto, Kimberly Yee and David Stevens, is a stunt-double for ALEC’s “Prohibition on Compensation Deductions Act” that imposes limits on funding for public employee unions by prohibiting public employers from deducting union dues from worker paychecks. The AZ version would “suggest limits on funding for public employee unions by prohibiting public employers from deducting union dues from worker paychecks.”
  • SCR 1058 (2010) “Claiming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over certain powers” is a dead ringer for ALEC’s “Resolution to Restate State Sovereignty,” as is the Arizona 2009 predecessor, SCR 1038.
  • HB 2024 (2011) “Clean Elections Act; Repeal,” supposedly conceived by David Smith, Cecil Ash and David Stevens inspires Deja Vu if you read ALEC’s “Resolution Opposing Taxpayer Financed Political Campaigns.”
  • HB 2068 (2009) is a spot-on match for ALEC’s “The Parental Choice Scholarship Program Act (Means- Tested Eligibility)” with the sole exception being that the ALEC template targets families eligible for reduced price school lunches and families making 250% more than the qualifying income limit, which AZ HB 2068 contains no qualifying income limits.
  • HB 2649 (2011) “Early ballots; voter rolls; enforcement,” supposedly written by Judy Burges, David Smith and David Stevens is nearly verbatim to ALEC’s “Voter ID Act,” both of which require voters to have photo identification for early voting.
  • HB 2745 (2008) “Employer Sanctions,” which was “created” by Russell Pearce, Stephen Yarborough, Eddie Farnsworth and John Kavanagh heavily parrots ALEC’s “Fair and Legal Employment Act.”

You can find details of these ALEC-issued bill templates, and more, at The Center for Media and Democracy.

And this isn’t just me persuing an anti-ALEC agenda. This is a growing (some would say festering) problem in all 50 states. It’s become prominent enough to catch the attention of John Oliver on his “Last Week Tonight” show on HBO.

The bottom line is that ALEC is a national lobbying organization, funded and driven by a very small and select group of organizations and powered by an even smaller group of Republican and TEA Party billionaires who want to recreate the United States in the image THEY want, regardless of what the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or common majority-rule guides otherwise. It’s a “bill mill,” churning out very specifically crafted agenda items and spoon-feeding them to colluding politicians who foist them upon an unquestioning, partisan and/or otherwise clueless public.

For a party that screams “States’ Rights,” the Republican-owned-and-operated American Legislative Exchange Council certainly seems to want to drive state laws and state procedure from a very highly secretive and exclusive national level.

But what are you going to believe: The documented facts … or what Debbie Lesko tells you?