Good government group renews case against ALEC

The good government group Common Cause is redoubling its attack against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the non-profit group they say is designed to act as a quiet lobbying organization for its corporate members

The group announced on Tuesday that they were submitting to the IRS what they said was new evidence showing that ALEC was violating the IRS’ requirement that non-profit charities not engage in lobbying. The evidence was produced as part of an IRS complaint first submitted in 2012 that seeks to have ALEC’s tax-exempt status revoked.

“We really believe that it’s time for the IRS to act,” Common Cause President Miles Rapoport told reporters.

The group provided what it said were statements from former ALEC members that indicated the companies joined in the group to influence the legislative process. Companies in the filing include AT&T, Verizon and Comcast. In many cases, companies appear to say that they are interested in particular issues ALEC is working on.

ALEC’s membership includes businesses and legislators who support conservative policies and distributes model bills for legislators to use. Some say their model bills show that the group has an unclear position on whether human actions have caused climate change.

ALEC called Common Cause’s submission a “desperate rehashing of an otherwise ignored complaint from three years ago.”

“ALEC does not lobby,” a spokesman said in a statement. “ALEC conducts academic, nonpartisan research, study and analysis.”

“The submission invalidates itself in its articulation of past or present members joining or terminating membership based on success or failure of abstract, model policies. It quite simply proves the point that ALEC is only a forum for discussion of ideas,” he said.

Though the IRS case is still pending, the Common Cause announcement comes as ALEC has seen several major members leave the consortium.

Google left the group in September and its chairman said that ALEC was “just literally lying” about climate change.

Other tech firms to leave have included eBay and and T-Mobile.


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