The recent Guardian expose of ALEC, and the coverage it's getting everywhere else, should get Americans up to speed on what is really going on behind the scenes in politics. Instead of defending "charitable" lobbying groups, we should be getting rid of their tax exemptions. Here's coverage on MSNBC:
PoliticusUSA: The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which claims it does not lobby even though it creates model legislation that its Republican legislative members like John Boehner and Paul Ryan then implement, is concerned about being investigated by the IRS for their charitable tax status claims, according to internal documents from ALEC published by The Guardian.
The documents seen by the Guardian show that Alec is hoping to avoid legal, tax and ethical challenges by creating a separate sister organisation it calls the “Jeffersonian Project”. The new body would be categorised as a 501(c)(4) social welfare organisation, a designation that would allow Alec to be far more overt in its lobbying activities than its current charitable status as a 501(c)(3).
In the document, they list benefits of setting up the Jeffersonian Project as removing questions of ethical violations and providing further legal protection. They lay out that ALEC does not wish to be “perceived” as a lobbying group, and they do not wish to register as a lobbying group in any state. So for states with tougher standards, they will use the Project.
How could that be, when ALEC’s policy goals include “privatise public education, cut taxes, reduce public employee compensation and workplace rights, oppose Obamacare and resist state action to reduce global warming gas emissions”, per The Guardian.