Report Lifts Veil on ALEC’s Pro-Corporate, Anti-Consumer Mission

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For Immediate Release: May 18, 2010

Contact: Tricia Cooley
202-965-3500, ext. 8369
media.replies@justice.org

Report Lifts Veil on ALEC’s Pro-Corporate, Anti-Consumer Mission

Front group ghostwrites the law for corporate America on behalf of oil, drug, asbestos, and insurance interests

Washington, DC—The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has secretly taken millions of dollars in corporate money to infiltrate state legislatures and push legislation that, amongst other anti-consumer measures, would give complete immunity to asbestos manufacturers and undermine recently-passed health care reform, according to a new report released today.

On its surface, ALEC’s membership is mostly comprised of thousands of state legislators.  Each pays a nominal membership fee in order to attend ALEC retreats and receive model legislation.  But ALEC’s corporate contributors pay a king’s ransom to gain access to legislators and distribute their corporate-crafted legislation.  As a result, thousands of bills have been introduced across the country that would protect corporate interests at the expense of consumers’ rights.

“While many have read about the disturbing influence of corporations in national politics and government, corporations are also looking towards state legislatures for more immunity and less accountability,” said American Association for Justice President Anthony Tarricone.  “ALEC is the ultimate smoke-filled back room: another opportunity for corporations to buy access and protect their profits at the expense of consumers.”

One example of ALEC’s influence in state legislatures is its work on behalf of Crown, Cork & Seal which purchased a small company that manufactured asbestos insulation.  At the time of the transaction, the dangers of asbestos were well known, and Crown was in full knowledge of the future liability of asbestos claimants.  Even though its own financial filings state that claims from asbestos victims will have no material adverse effects, Crown, Cork & Seal paid ALEC to persuade state legislatures to cap its liability, leaving thousands of injured workers without legal recourse. This legislation has already been enacted in several states, allowing Crown, Cork & Seal to escape accountability and increase profits at the expense of consumers.

ALEC has also worked on model legislation with Blue Cross Blue Shield to roll back the recently-passed health care bill, as well as with ExxonMobil to challenge the science behind global warming.

For a full copy of the report, “ALEC:  Ghostwriting the Law for Corporate America," click here.

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