ALEC’s Little Brother

Most readers of this blog know about ALEC–the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is an arm of corporate America, and writes “model” legislation for lazy legislators (most of them beholden to those corporations for sizable campaign contributions) to introduce as their own. Once ALEC began to receive a good deal of public scrutiny, it began to bleed members, but it is by no means incapacitated.

Now, ALEC has a municipal-level sibling. 

American City County Exchange (ACCE) was spawned by ALEC in 2014 to spread ALEC’s ideas about “limited government, free markets, and federalism” down to the most local levels of government.

The linked report, from the Mayor of Fitchburg, Wisconsin, describes what he learned about the organization from a meeting he attended:

ALEC leaders intend to hire a membership/fundraising director and researcher in 2017 and make ACCE a profit center by 2018. This, presenters said, will require ACCE to solidify relationships with traditional allies, such as the bail-bond and telecommunications industries. ACCE must also find new allies, including those who would privatize historically municipal services, often by adding technology that is easily replicated but new to municipal clients.

For example, we heard presentations from “smart cities” vendors selling information and communications technology at the meeting, in a sales pitch format called a “workshop” by ALEC.

The priorities of ACCE, as one might expect, mirror those of ALEC: privatization of government functions, evisceration of public unions…the group is evidently working hard to expand both its membership and the number of corporate sponsors, but it is already cranking out cookie-cutter “model” ordinances intended to move local governments toward their goals.

Sometimes, just keeping track of the corporatists and crony capitalists is exhausting.


  1. It would help if the people had a political party who represented them, but they don’t. Many Americans woke up to this fact in 2016, when the only presidential candidate not corrupted by corporate influence was killed off by both the DNC and establishment owned media.

    Sanders showed Americans who represents corporate interests last week by proposing a bill allowing Americans to buy cheaper meds from overseas providers. The bill would have opened up the playing field in the USA and saved Americans millions/billions.

    Of course the republicans played along to kill the bill, but so did democrats, including Indiana Senator, Joe Donnelly. Like many politicians in Indiana, Joe is a lap dog for Eli Lilly, bringing in $245K in the last five years in campaign contributions from the Big Pharma giant.

    And, the democrats wonder why they are losing elections in the U.S.. Maybe, it’s because they are sellouts. Cory Booker was another sellout and he wants to run for Prez in 2020. They just don’t get it, but by all means, keep voting for these cowards, expecting different results. 😉

    Einstein would call you insane.

  2. “This, presenters said, will require ACCE to solidify relationships with traditional allies, such as the bail-bond and telecommunications industries. ”

    Regarding telecommunications industries and, please keep in mind I am a high school dropout with a GED, would ALEC or ACCE have any connection to the loss of service of C Span and the Russian disruption of their service two days in a row? Also; Thursday afternoon (yesterday) I lost my Bright House (Spectrum/Charter Communications, Inc.) cable signal and Wednesday afternoon I lost my Internet connection. I carry the Bright House “bundle” with cable, Internet and land line phone (in case I need to call 911). Strange that there was national and local loss of telecommunication service on the same two days.

    The C Span interruptions seem to have caused little interruption and few questions regarding investigation for the source of the problems during the Senatorial hearings – a vital issue at this time. Trump’s castigation of news and media at his SNL version of a “news conference” seems to have only drawn snickers and a few Facebook insults and jokes.

    The biggest joke of all is the Congressional vote to repeal the ACA with no replacement – contrary to Trump’s statement of a simultaneous repeal/replacement by Congress. This action was done overnight as the public slept; believing their health care was safe – if only temporarily. What is the ultimate outcome TODAY of that vote; what is their actual coverage status? This situation and the C Span “technical difficulties” takes us back to yesterday, “Politics Is Local” as it was our red state elected officials who sat through the C Span shutdown and Russian takeover and the vote to repeal the ACA. Apparently ALEC and ACCE, led and fed by corporations and crony capitalists have taken over even before the inauguration…and we are as in the dark as the C Span hearings during the blackout and Russian takeover of the airwaves.

  3. Todd,

    You are so right, and it particularly shows with the Democrat Party here in Indiana. They don’t have a clue about what standing for something means. Groveling is the only thing that unites them. Donnelly was weak to begin with and has only become more so over the years.

  4. JoAnn,

    “Apparently ALEC and ACCE, led and fed by corporations and crony capitalists have taken over even before the inauguration…..”

    NOW, they are like serial RAPISTS who have no deterrent. Obama is no longer in the picture.

    And does anyone in their right mind believe that Trump/Pence is going to permit freedom of speech after all of this? They’re not that stupid; I don’t think so, since they will continue their RAPING non-stop.

    rape (rap) n. [prob. < L rapere, seize] l. the crime of having sexual intercourse with a person, forcibly and without consent 2. the plundering (of a city, etc.), as in warfare—vt. raped, rap'ing l. to commit rape on, violate 2. to plunder or destroy—vi. to commit rape—rap'ist n.

  5. Welcome to the total corporatization of every American institution at every level of government, my greatest fear. The Democratic Party of yesteryear with its labor and farm base in full bloom was a sight to behold, Keynesian, broad-based, liberal in outlook. Then came the notorious memo of Lewis Powell in 1971 with advice to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on how business could take over the political process and things have not been the same since.

    What Todd is writing about today is in my view and in essence not a party but a personnel problem. We disastrously allowed some of our people to become Republican Lite as self-styled New Democrats who became captive of Wall Street interests and luke warm to the working class. Result? Repeal of Glass Steagall, the rise of ALEC, a flurry of right to work state statutes, libertarian greedhogs such as the Kochs, worsening wage inequality, complicit judicial decisions such as Citizens United to facilitate corporate takeover, etc. Time and space prevent me from laying out all of the atrocities committed in the name of winning by Democrats, whereas Republicans needed no cover; they lost their political souls long ago to the forces of greed and power. We needed another choice then and now on whether to vote Republican Lite or Republican Heavy with the latter’s authoritarian greed and now even with a fascist face given their election of a disturbed man as president. We need a good dose of Bernie thinking. E and a return to the New Deal of FDR and the Fair Deal of Harry Truman. Old thinking not relevant today’s realities? Wrong. Democracy and fair play are never out of fashion as means rather than ends. Ends morph with time; not so with means.

    What to do? Keep our party intact but elect new people dedicated to the Democratic Party as it was before “New Democrats” took over its reins. Can’t be done? Wrong. It must be done.

  6. Todd,

    You obviously keep yourself well educated on the polital activity in this state and country.

    My question for you is – have you considered starting a local grass roots action committee to educate the public about what actually goes on? Just writing a blog only preaches to the choir.

    We all need to make the effort to educate the general public. I believe this is the only way that we can hope to eventually turn this country around.

  7. ALEC and ACCE are funded by the koch bros. They have paid for lawyers write koch bros favorable legislation and hand these off to wingnut legislators to introduce at the state level where they gain control. These so called model legislations run the gamut from soup to nuts as long as they are anti-worker, pro-korporation, anti- public schools, pro-taxcuts etc.

  8. This last week, I watched a couple of great old movies that I received as gifts for Christmas. One was “Blade Runner” and the other and old James Caan film called “Roller Ball”. Both depict our future society as a backdrop for the plots of these respective films. Both represent very dark depictions of that future. “Blade Runner” depicted a future where everything was very hi-tech but also dark and twisted in terms of just about everything. “Roller Ball” depicts the same thing where the public’s attention is also distracted away from all the graft and corruption running rampant through a very bloody and violent version of roller derby that has replaced football as our national past time. Both films scared me when I first saw them, not due to their plot lines but what is depicted as their respective backdrops, a totally unrecognizable, at the time, America.

    Now, here we are where we have catching up fast with the backdrop of both films in many ways in reality, minus the flying cars in “Blade Runner”, where both seem prescient given what we are seeing now and what we are likely to see if this current course is not stopped. Unless we want a future that plays out like the horrific depictions in these films we’re going to have to stand and fight, stand against what all of you have stated so well. It’s going to be up to us, all of us, and the question right now is if we will ultimately be up for such a fight and whatever it ultimately entails. I sure hope so since no one is going to do it for us and the alternative will likely be the societal death of this country.

  9. Blaming the “party” is pointing the finger at an entity, not a person or people. Keep in mind that the disengagement, cynicism and self-righteousness, often religiously driven, of voters have put the people they think represent them in office repeatedly. Whether we are actually registered voters who go to the polls or whether we have never voted and think it is a waste of time, it is within our power to change it. We don’t. The gerrymandered districts throughout the country as well as the Citizens United ruling that opened the deepest pockets in our history to those only too willing to dip into them have ensured that the wealthy and their lackeys, toadies, and stooges are the only ones elected because they are the only ones running.
    There is legislation introduced in the current state session that addresses redistricting. The author of this blog sat on the study committee that recommended legislative changes. State and federal officeholders hold meetings for constituents. Attend them. Ask questions, express opinions. At least make them uncomfortable with their willingness to do the bidding of their wealthy corporate handlers. Nothing will change until there is real competition for office. It starts at the grass roots.

  10. From Wikipedia:

    Franklin Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address

    After taking the oath of office, Roosevelt proceeded to deliver his 1,883-word, 20 minute-long inaugural address, best known for his famously pointed reference to “fear itself” in one of its first lines:

    “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”

  11. Nancy,

    In our community, we have two democratic parties, one is under investigation by the FBI, but is strongly supported by public employees and their families, relatives, etc.

    We also have the Ball foundation(s) which controls about everything else.

    I’ve been black balled from employment opportunities at the university because God forbid someone holds them accountable. The previous University Senate prez called the Board of Trustee’s a “politburo”. He was replaced after a handful of profs were invited into a private meeting with the board chair and interim Prez.

    I tried working with the local chamber to create a community owned media entity, but it was taken to a Ball friendly radio station. The Ball Foundation keeps the local chamber afloat. ?

    As for my blog, I set up Google Alerts for a variety of “keywords”, including my own name. Amazingly, I never get any hits for my name unless the local newspaper uses it. Facebook has already tweaked their algorithms for “news” sites.

    So yes, I’ve tried lots of ways, but the “establishment” has many ways to defeat you. They have the money, power and influence. They own most of the major institutions, including both political parties, our press and universities. They also control the intelligentsia community which we are witnessing right now on the national stage.

    It’s all forms of obstruction to keep their power. The Koch brothers empire is a privately owned conglomerate and they finance the populists on the right.

    The people have all the power but they don’t have a party or a financier. Until that happens, it’s the Establishment versus the Koch brothers.

  12. Thank you Todd…I saw the roll call yesterday and called Donnelly and Booker. Sell outs.. I saw a report where Booker received something like $250,000 in campaign contributions from Big Pharma. I have not seen Donnelly’s excuse. We must get these dollars out of the system. What are the thoughts from all of you out here. I keep stating a cap on what you can spend and is it option to make it publicly funded. I’ve had a Representative confide in me that they hates a certain Bill and was trying to find an excuse to vote it down, but felt trapped because an organization gave money to his campaign and you have to have money to run. I did give him an analogy that hit home personally and he used that personal story to vote down a bill. Thoughts?

  13. Marv; Franklin Roosevelt’s “…fear itself…” can paralyze us or it can spur us to action as we are TRYING to do on this blog and through qualified organizations willing to work for us. And as you are doing on the legal battlefield. That old “fight or flight” reaction to fear; I’m trying to control my level of being too pissed to take action and keep up with the few “truths” or “facts” we can sort out from the BS we are buried under. My “Pence Must Go” yard sign worked in a manner that he was going to lose the gubernatorial election here but pushed him to a higher level of control as vice-president-elect. He “took flight” to “fight another day” and look where we are now.

    Your comment about losing our freedom of speech is one of the fears I have had as you know; my earlier comments today appear I am into “conspiracy theory” level of fear regarding our local and federal government control escalating. Will we even be notified of the changes and losses of our Constitutional or Amendment rights or will we learn of them when we have violated them? “Conspiracy theory” or “fight or flight” syndrome? ALEC or ACCE; how do we fight either or both between now and 2018? Will we be able to tell them apart? Are they separate or two sides of the same coin?

  14. There was a time and a place called democracy where a requirement to be a public servant was the ability to sell your self to the electorate. One had to build credibility and name recognition and reputation and those who did it best earned the title of “statesman”.

    President Obama may well prove to be the last of that species.

    Democracy went extinct with the advent of mass media advertising which obsoleted “statesman” with their product of “brand”.

    Now those who earn media attention are products of a business process called branding thus proving humanity’s “shiny object” attention span inadequate for democracy.

    So now what?

  15. Todd,

    Thanks for your response and for your thwarted efforts to bring positive change in your community. The paragraph below, that I copied from your post, pretty much explains why we all seem to be banging our heads against brick walls –

    “So yes, I’ve tried lots of ways, but the “establishment” has many ways to defeat you. They have the money, power and influence. They own most of the major institutions, including both political parties, our press and universities. They also control the intelligentsia community which we are witnessing right now on the national stage.”

    If you try to go up against the R establishment that is owned by the Kochs and other powerful corporate interests, you will either be silenced or financially punished.

    I still believe that it will take a violent revolution in this country to make a change. I stated that 20 years ago and still stand by it.

  16. Todd, et. al,
    Citizens United isn’t going away. Thus, the Koch brothers’ and other wealthy corporations and Wall Streeters’ money is going to continue to flow to the politicians in even larger amounts — mostly to the Tea Party/Repubs, but to Dems who will play ball too.

    Today, money is the life-blood of being able to get elected in this country. If Dems, such as Donnelly and Booker, turn down the money from the “Special Interests,” how do they replace it sufficiently to be competitive in elections? So called “Grass Roots” campaigns funded primarily by small donations, such as the one Bernie ran in the primaries have limitations, and if he had obtained the nomination, Bernie probably couldn’t have raised enough from small donors to be competitive in the general election.

    I don’t have any answers, but it, along with gerrymandering, are two major problems that any party opposing the Tea Party now in control will have to figure out a way to effectively deal with in order to kick their butts out of power.

  17. No question that Bernie is among the last of the statesmen too. He reminded America of that and that will be his legacy. He built reputation instead of business “brand”.

    Unfortunately the timing of his peak will always be an issue as to which side he helped in the epic battle between business and society underway in our days.

  18. JoAnn,

    “ALEC or ACCE; how do we fight either or both between now and 2018? Will we be able to tell them apart? Are they separate or two sides of the same coin?”

    Todd answered that with, “It’s the Establishment vs. the Koch Brothers.” Their’s no difference between the two. They will attempt to reinTrump in. They’ll have to in order to save themselves. “Santa Claus” is totally incompetent to be President.

    The Koch Brothers are not going to win this one. Try to relax. It’s going to take awhile before things turn around. But they will. America is fundamentally different than the Germany of the 20’s and 30’s. All the Nazis had to worry about were the Jews and a few Gypsies. The Jews were less than 1% of the population.

    Just think what our chances would have been if Ted Cruz had been elected President instead of Trump.

  19. JoAnn, I didn’t mean to imply that most of us are not going to be hurt by the RAPISTS. Our goal then has to be to STOP their crime spree, as quick as humanly possible, in order to minimize the damage.

  20. Todd @ 7:05 am, and BSH @ 7:56 am, the Corporate Wing of the Democratic Party represented by our local yokel Joe Donnelly and the supposed new star of the Democratic Party Cory Booker joined Mitch McConnell in voting against Senator Sanders. Schumer the supposed leader of the Democrats in the Senate voted with Bernie Sanders.

    From the Kos article >> Booker, who has received more money from the pharmaceutical industry over the past six years than any other Democratic senator ($267,338). Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) received $254,649; Robert Casey (D-PA) received $250,730; Michael Bennet (D-CO) received $222,000. All these D’s voted against Sanders.

    Once again when the Democratic Party has a chance to move in a Progressive Direction they fail!!!!! The sign post on the DNC should be >> “All hope abandon, ye who enter here.”
    ― Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

  21. This is just one of dozens of “foundations” or “agencies” or other “cleverly” labeled propaganda mills. Every state as something that sounds like “Public Policy Foundation”. First, they are in place to act as a tax dodge down the road for the heirs of those funding these things. Second, most of this stuff is funded by the billionaires club headed by the Koch brothers.

    These organizations have a purpose, and that purpose is to overthrow the U.S. Government and the Constitution for the sake of the oligarchs wanting all the money in the world. Jane Mayer’s great book, “Dark Money” chronicles this egregious attempt to subvert democracy.

    If we don’t become active and take back the framing of the argument, the next generation will be living in a 1984 environment. Orwell didn’t write “1984” as a field guide. He wrote it as a warning. Well, 1984 is at hand TODAY.

  22. Jo Ann:
    News media are reporting today that C-Span was interrupted for about 10 minutes yesterday and their feed was replaced by the feed from RT, the Russian government backed propaganda channel.
    Strangely, C-Span is claiming it wasn’t hacked. It says it was an “internal routing” mix up.

    What do you think are the chances of that happpening?

  23. Vernon,

    I believe what we’re being sold by the Republican Party could best be described as CATASTROPHIC GRADUALISM:

    “There is a theory which has not been accurately formulated or given a name, but which is very widely accepted and brought forward whenever it is necessary to justify some action which conflicts with the sense of decency of the average human being. It might be called, until some better name is found, the Theory of Catastrophic Gradualism. According to the theory, nothing is ever achieved without bloodshed, lies, tyranny and injustice……”

    “In Front of Your Nose 1945-1950: The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of Geroge Orwell, Volume 4” edited by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus ( New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1968 ) p.15

  24. Strange thing is you can watch Russia Today (RT) is certain parts of the USA on cable, like Seattle Metropolitan Area, Washington DC Metro Area, Comcast Sacramento and Central California, Time Warner Cable Greater Los Angeles, Time Warner Cable San Diego and North County, Comcast Chicago and Midwest region, Comcast Philadelphia Metropolitan Area (via Mind TV) or Comcast San Francisco Greater San Francisco Bay Area.

    RT is not carried in Indiana on cable from what I can find.

  25. David F; the chanced of that happening are as likely as Donald Trump suddenly saying his election was all a joke, he doesn’t want the job and is turning it over to Bernie Sanders.

  26. Louie…I was watching Rachel Maddow and she had brought up that earlier in the day one of the hearings just as they were talking about Russia lost power and CSPAN went dead. At first I’m like…okay get to the point.

    Later in the day, si m I later thing happened where a Representative (maybe Senator) started to bring up Russia and CSPAN who was televising had technical difficulties where portions of Russian Television commercials were being displayed. CSPAN has no clue what happened but instead of broadcasting the hearing people saw the broadcasting of RT.

  27. You have to wonder whether we’re headed for another Civil War. The Republicans passed a measure making it illegal for the VA and Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. Now, we have the lobbying group on the city and state level writing their own statutes and pushing for passage. All of this is to guarantee profits to corporations. Does Congress have balls enough to pass laws banning campaign contributions and consideration of legislation drafted by special interest groups? See, none of them wants to take the risk of loss a business venture. They know that the government can coerce citizens to pay taxes, so they scheme to come up with ways to get their fingers into the public coffers. This has to stop.

  28. Wouldn’t it be something if the drug war turned into a war of people leaving the country to buy their prescription drugs abroad and getting arrested for it? I know for a fact that my thyroid medicine that I take (the only one I can tolerate) is 29 bucks for 100 pills here in Switzerland (it’s made here) and over 100 bucks (with insurance) for a 30 days supply in the states. Why is that? Surely, shipping isn’t that expensive, right? But wait…Sander introduces the bill to fix this and the blue dog D’s won’t vote for it. Ya, Booker and Donnelly are toast in my book. I can’t remember but Donnelly voted for something else against the Ds right after he came into the Senate…I can’t remember now what it was. I’m going to have to write him about my displeasure with him. Damn it!

  29. And starting Monday, let’s prepare to play the game under the new rules or better stated the NEW CONTEXT. That shouldn’t be too difficult. Let’s don’t forget who won the majority vote in the last presidential election.


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