Today the New York Times calls out the shadowy corporate front group known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on its tax-exempt status as a nonpartisan charity despite ALEC’s clear pro-corporate, anti-consumer mission.
ALEC has been working behind the scenes for decades to push legislation with one clear purpose—provide immunity for their corporate donors by limiting Americans’ access to the political process and our nation’s courts. ALEC-sponsored legislation includes voter ID laws that disenfranchise whole groups of voters and laws that grant immunity to manufacturers of deadly products like asbestos and pharmaceuticals that harm and kill patients.
AAJ called into question ALEC’s tax status over two years ago in a report stating:
“The IRS says that no organization may qualify for section 501(c)3 status if a substantial part of its activities consist of attempting to influence legislation, commonly known as lobbying. ALEC’s interaction with legislators and legislation would seem to disqualify the group from 501(c)3 exempt status. However, ALEC is quick to deny that they violate their tax status. According to former spokesperson Bob Adams, ‘We don’t lobby. We don’t introduce legislation at the state level. We just don’t do that. We educate people and inform ideas…We are a tool for state legislators.’”