ALEC to be investigated

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First I heard from DFL legislators complaining that during committee hearings some Republicans were unable to answer questions about bills they authored. I remember one Representative quipping “it was like he didn’t even write the bill himself.”

In a world where corporate lobbyists often draft bills for their Republican allies, this sounded sadly typical of the MNGOP. But it turned out to be far more insidious.

Republican legislators across the nation actually just copy-pasted boilerplate language that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) approved. All many MNGOP legislators had to do was change [Your State Here] to Minnesota and the like.

Eventually, the word started to get out about the extent of ALEC’s control of Minnesota Republican legislators. Alecexposed.org is a great starting point. They have a MN page listing all bills they are aware of that are ALEC bills.

ALEC files as a tax-exempt charitable organization. However, they behave much more like a lobbyist. Charities cannot lobby.

Common Cause cause has been tracking ALEC’s MN activity and filed a complaint with our Campaign Finance Board.

Today, the Campaign Finance Board agreed to investigate ALEC:

The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board says it will investigate the American Legislative Exchange Council’s lobbying status in Minnesota.

The board disclosed the investigation in a letter to Common Cause Minnesota, the local arm of a national group that is asking many states to probe whether the conservative organization has violated its tax-exempt status.

Hopefully, Attorney General Lori Swanson and the IRS will also investigate.