As The Nation notes this week, after successfully pressuring ALEC to pull back its involvement in social issues, liberal groups are launching the next iteration of their fight against the influential conservative legislative outfit. The good government group Common Cause is alleging that ALEC is running what amounts to a tax scam for some of America's largest and most well-known companies. In a whistleblower complaint filed with the IRS, Common Cause charges that ALEC's lobbying for "model" legislation is designed to boost the profits of its corporate members and is thus a violation of its tax-exempt status.
Common Cause's tax filing focuses on ALEC's undermining of basic democratic practices: ALEC practices stealth advocacy; it writes bills for legislators, refines that legislation through task forces where its business members wield veto power, then quietly shepherds the finished "model" bills to passage. Their mission accomplished, ALEC’s business members reward the group with massive contributions – nearly $400 million from 2000-10, according to Common Cause. Help Common Cause expand its work on ALEC and contact the IRS on your own using this form which the Service set up for the public to register suspicions of organizations not complying with the tax laws. After you've weighed in, share this post with family, Facebook friends, Twitter followers and your local media outfits.
This report from Accounting Today explains the legal basis for Common Cause's complaint to the IRS.
This episode of The Young Turks shows how extensive and influential ALEC's lobbying has been.
A weekly guide to meaningful action, this blog connects readers with resources to channel the outrage so many feel after reading about abuses of power and privilege. Far from a comprehensive digest of all worthy groups working on behalf of the social good, Take Action seeks to shine a bright light on one concrete step that Nation readers can take each week. To broaden the conversation, we'll publish a weekly follow-up post detailing the response and featuring additional campaigns and initiatives that we hope readers will check out. Toward that end, please use the comments field to give us ideas. With your help we can make real change.