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ALEC turns to front groups in bid to hold sway over Florida Legislature

New Florida report part of multi-state exposé on ALEC’s use of front groups to push national corporate agenda at the expense of middle class Florida families

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2013

Contact: Damien Filer
850-212-1858
damien@progressflorida.org

TALLAHASSEE – This morning, Progress Florida and the Center for Media and Democracy released a new report detailing how the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) uses supposedly ‘independent’ front groups to advocate for public policies designed to benefit ALEC’s corporate funders which compliant lawmakers then push into law. In Florida the two most prominent and influential of these groups are the James Madison Institute (JMI) and the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA).  The Florida report, entitled Lawmaking under the Influence of Very Special Interests – Understanding the role of Florida ‘think tanks’ in driving a Koch-fueled, ALEC-allied corporate agenda, can be found here.  Other state reports are at StinkTanks.org

“Our research shows how ALEC relies on conservative ‘think tanks’ like JMI and FGA to insulate themselves against increased public scrutiny and widespread exposure of the controversial, corporate-driven policies they promote,” said Progress Florida executive director Mark Ferrulo. “We’ve found that these organizations march in lockstep with ALEC’s anti-middle class agenda.”

The report details how JMI and FGA falsely claim to be independent, local operators when in fact they are part of the State Policy Network, a national Koch-funded, ALEC-allied network of organizations. JMI, FGA and other State Policy Network member groups advocate for a national agenda driven by out-of-state corporate actors. Be it the economy, environment, education, workers’ rights or access to health care, State Policy Network member groups promote policies that are not only designed to fatten the bottom line of their corporate funders, but are consistently harmful to Florida.

“Floridians need to know how these groups misrepresent themselves and their agenda, and how much influence they maintain over lawmakers,” said Ferrulo. “We will continue to shine a bright light on ALEC, front groups like JMI and FGA, and the lawmakers who are doing their dirty work rather than acting in the best interests of our state.”

Today’s report was released as a follow-up to last year’s report ALEC In Florida, which details the unprecedented influence ALEC holds over Florida lawmakers; and shortly following the release of ALEC v. Kids, which details ALEC’s assault on our neighborhood public schools at the behest of the for-profit education industrial complex.

Despite claims to the contrary, ALEC’s agenda is not based upon ideology, but rather upon financial rewards for its corporate funders. The resulting ALEC “model bills” that have been adopted by ALEC “task forces” have been introduced in Florida by ALEC representatives and have amended Florida statutes for the worse, harming everyday citizens in the process.

To see the full report, click here. To read the original report on ALEC’s impact on public policy in Florida, please see ALEC In Florida. To see the recent report on ALEC’s impact on education policy, please see ALEC v. Kids.

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Progress Florida is the state's largest netroots organization fighting to protect Florida's middle class. Learn more at www.ProgressFlorida.org.