The American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC, has been around as long as I’ve been in politics. ALEC is a nonprofit membership organization comprised mostly of state legislators from around the country. Its philosophy is center-right and, like other organizations serving state legislators, such as the National Conference of State Legislators, or NCSL, ALEC focuses on helping legislators craft model legislation – usually involving the protection of free markets. ALEC rarely gets involved with social issues.
The progressive left in America is engaging in an all-out attack on ALEC inspired by the recent Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida. Leftists are claiming that ALEC helped the Florida Legislature craft the “Stand Your Ground” law that they say is the basis for George Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin. The reality is that progressives are constantly on watch for any person or organization which violates their ideological standards and then seek them out to shut them up. This is the case with ALEC.
Common Cause, another nonprofit political group that’s been around as long as ALEC, has now filed two nuisance complaints with the IRS claiming that ALEC violated its nonprofit status by engaging in lobbying. ALEC has shown convincingly that it’s done no such thing. ALEC doesn’t lobby. But the attack goes beyond the mere filing of complaints. Progressives are attacking ALEC by going after its donors and, as in one recent case with Coca-Cola, actually threatening boycotts of products sold by corporations that support ALEC.
While this is their right, it surely shows how lightly progressives believe in the First Amendment and rule of law. ALEC hasn’t violated any rules according to the IRS and yet, based on the assumption alone, progressives are perfectly willing to destroy the right of free speech, and ultimately the organization, of ALEC.
As it happens, ALEC is coming to Salt Lake City for its 2012 annual meeting during the last week in July. Sutherland Institute is a co-sponsor of that conference, and wouldn’t you know that Sutherland has already received threats of protests and attacks because of our sponsorship.
At the Republican state convention last weekend I ran into a state legislator who’s a member of ALEC and also a legislator who helped to bring the ALEC annual conference to Salt Lake City this year. I mentioned that Sutherland is now a co-sponsor of the conference and he asked me, “Even in the face of the attacks from the left?” To which I replied, “Especially in the face of those attacks.”
Look, progressives are really upset that ALEC has opposed Obamacare and supports requiring valid identification to vote – both issues that progressives use as some sort of racial litmus test. Add the “Stand Your Ground” law to the mix and ALEC becomes a racist throwback group from yesteryear in crazed minds of those idiots.
If politics had a department of psychiatry, the progressive left would be classified mentally ill. In their self-righteous minds, they are the epitome of tolerance and understanding. But cross them – disagree with their worldview – and they’re quick to begin the character assassinations and political lynchings. In my experiences with them, no despicable action is beneath them as they feign to fight for justice.
I look forward to hosting ALEC in Salt Lake City in July. And while I don’t relish the protests and false accusations that will come Sutherland’s way because of its support of ALEC’s conference, we’ve never been one to back down from bullies. So, bring it on.
For Sutherland Institute, I’m Paul Mero. Thanks for listening.