Is ALEC on the Ropes? As Companies Flee, Critics Target IRS

Another bad day for the secretive conservative group that's spread pro-corporate and Tea Party-style legislation around the country. Common Cause challenges its tax exempt status.

By Kai Wright Apr 23, 2012

The hits keep coming for the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Today, AP reports that [Common Cause]( has filed a complaint with the IRS challenging ALEC’s tax-exempt status. Common Cause points to the obvious lobbying that the conservative organization conducts in state legislatures around the country, to push a mixture of pro-corporate and Tea Party policies. The complaint comes as big-name companies like Coke, Pepsi and Kraft have been ditching the group. Color of Change and other civil rights advocates began hammering away at those companies for backing ALEC after it became clear the group helped spread the Kill at Will laws that protected George Zimmerman. The pressure led [ALEC to announce last week]( that it’s scrapping its public safety and elections task forces. As [Brentin Mock has reported]( for, the elections task force has helped spread photo ID laws around the country that may disenfranchise millions of voters of color, young people and seniors this year. Here’s [Common Cause on ALEC’s lobbying]( >"It tells the IRS in its tax returns that it does no lobbying, yet it exists to pass profit-driven legislation in statehouses all over the country that benefits its corporate members," said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, in a statement. "ALEC is not entitled to abuse its charitable tax status to lobby for private corporate interests, and stick the bill to the American taxpayer." [Julianne Hing reports for]( this morning on another area in which ALEC is working hard: Education "reform." ALEC has drawn up a playbook for state legislators to overwhelm opponents with bills that privatize public education. Hing profiles the way in which Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal–an ALEC star–used that playbook in the most recent legislative session to give his state the nation’s most expansive school voucher program. (h/t [Huffington Post](