In response to recent attacks on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), former Kentucky legislator Richard Roeding penned an Op-Ed in defense of the organization. The piece appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader on July 23, 2012.
Roeding addresses current criticisms of the organization and offers his take on why ALEC is an invaluable resource for legislators all over the nation:
As ALEC’s state chair during my 18 years in the Kentucky legislature, I can personally testify to the effectiveness of the public-private partnership made possible by ALEC’s approach. Unlike NCLS, ALEC gives its member legislators more understanding about how business is affected by laws and regulations. It produces model legislation with equal votes from legislators and business representatives. Proposed legislation is thoroughly discussed and researched. Reaching consensus sometimes takes years. With this process, most of ALEC’s legislation will not only be conservative but also constitutionally sound.
Richard Beliles and his Kentucky Common Cause group, funded nationally by George Soros, well known for giving billions to extremist political and environmental projects, claim ALEC violates its non-profit tax status by lobbying. Since when did giving legislators and business interests in the private sector a forum in which to meet and discuss policy constitute lobbying? ALEC advocates for policy, something IRS rules allow.
Refusing ALEC that right would be tantamount to denying all legitimate policy organizations the freedom to exercise First Amendment rights.
Is the forum that ALEC provides a venue for policy discussion or an exercise in lobbying? ALEC’s detractors would have you believe they are violating their nonprofit status by lobbying. As Roeding illustrates, that seems like a bit of a stretch to me.
You can read the full article here.