DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy are pleased to announce the release of the “ALEC centralized source materials archive.” This archive contains well over 10,000 pages of documents gathered from the offices of ALEC public sector chairs and other ALEC member lawmakers in several states over the past several years.
All of the materials contained in the archive were obtained through public records requests submitted to the offices of these lawmakers. Such materials include: documents listing ALEC donor corporations, documents listing ALEC member lawmakers, pieces of ALEC ‘model legislation,’ ALEC ‘scholarship fund’ disbursements to lawmakers– and much more…
In October of 2010, DBA Press submitted the first of a long and as-yet-unended chain of public records requests to ALEC member lawmakers (most of these requests were submitted to the offices of state public sector chairs). While the strategies behind these requests have shifted somewhat over the years– some requests seeking drafting materials behind specific bills, some requests seeking all records pertaining to ALEC, some requests seeking all records pertaining to the state’s ALEC private sector chairs, some requests a permutation of all of the above– the intent has always been the same: to make public what ALEC and its members work so hard to keep private.
The ALEC public records road has been an interesting one. Records returned from the offices of ALEC public sector chairs in Arizona, Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin have lifted the veil on much of ALEC’s interaction with these lawmakers and their staff. These records have also shown the extremely close-knit relationship cultivated through ALEC between the offices of these lawmakers and scores of lobbyists– who, in turn, represent hundreds of corporate special interests.
Such materials returned to DBA Press per these requests have included detailed records of state scholarship fund activity (records of donations and records of lawmaker disbursements), lists of donors to state-specific ALEC events, pieces of model legislation (and discussions surrounding such legislation), lists of legislative ALEC members– and an unending sea of think tank propaganda.
If read through, page by page, as a whole, these archives show the absolute immersion of ALEC member lawmakers in a world wholly pieced together of slanted think tank reports, exclusive flights in corporate jets and near constant diner and dancing opportunities with lobbyist friends.
If you are a constituent who feels that your representatives live in a world entirely severed from reality, this archive will bear your sentiment out.
If you are a constituent who feels that your representatives will listen if you raise an issue– if you believe our representative democracy has survived the constant pressure of monied interests intact– you might not want to read through these archives. They may break your heart– the pages upon pages of unanswered angry constituent letters in the Florida and Wisconsin archives that go unanswered or that are answered only with a generic form letter, while nearly every email from an ALEC employee, lobbyist or think tank luminary is quickly and enthusiastically answered by an actual human (be it a staffer, lawmaker, or both). The records contained in these archives might make you mad.