Deep down inside you know somethings terribly wrong when big corporate money gets this official stamp of approval:
WSJ: A gift is not an illegal gift — if it comes from your good friend ALEC. That’s what Republican lawmakers have been told by the Government Accountability Board.
The ethics police have determined that “scholarships” financing pricey vacations — er, seminars — attended by state lawmakers held by the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council do not fall under the ban on giving gifts to state elected officials. GAB found that the legislators’ reimbursement of lodging, food and travel expenses to ALEC seminars does not constitute a gift, even though the grants are funded by corporations.
“What they said is the fact that corporations give to a slush fund for legislative scholarships is OK, so long as they don’t earmark it for a certain lawmaker,” Madison-based Center for Media and Democracy’s Brendan Fischer said. “It doesn’t strike me as in keeping with the intent or the letter of the state’s ethics law.”
Over at Tax Analysts, David Cay Johnston coincidentally picked up on this jaw dropping expansion of ALEC’s influence:
When it comes to picking taxpayer pockets, few organizations display as much chutzpaApparently, Iowa already uses state funds for ALEC memberships.
h as the American Legislative Exchange Council. It is a rich person’s anti-tax lobby, hating paying the price of civilization and in love with the idea of weak tax law enforcement. Now taxpayers, at least in South Dakota, will pay for legislators to belong to ALEC. The Legislature’s Executive Board fully embraced the American Legislative Exchange Council for the first time Tuesday.
AberdeenNews: The Republican-dominated board decided the state treasury should pay for the $100, two-year memberships for all 105 South Dakota lawmakers and for unlimited out-of-state trips to ALEC meetings by legislators who are members of ALEC committees.