When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker addresses the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in San Diego this July, it will be more than a political homecoming.
Walker was an ALEC member as a state legislator in the 1990s, and the agenda that Walker has championed throughout his long political career has closely tracked the policies promoted by arch conservatives at ALEC and its corporate funders, despite public opposition to many of those measures.
More than 200 corporations and a quarter of state legislators belong to ALEC, where corporations vote as equals with state legislators on "model" bills before they are introduced in legislatures to become binding law. The group receives 98 percent of its funding from corporations like Shell Oil, Peabody Coal, and Altria/Phillip Morris, and from sources like the Koch family foundations, and many of the “model bills” that it has promoted – from prison privatization to environmental deregulation -- directly benefit the financial interests of its funders.
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