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Right-wing Group Spawns "Jeffersonian Project" to Sidestep Non-profit Restrictions

That loud whirring sound you’re hearing is Thomas Jefferson, the founding father and fierce champion of Democracy, spinning in his grave at the news the radical right-wing group – the American Legislative Exchange Council (or ALEC) – has created a code-named “Jeffersonian Project” designed to let it skirt restrictions on political giving that come with its status as a 401(c)3 “charitable organization.”

ALEC, a collection of business organizations, other deep-pocket political givers, and radical right politicians, has a clear agenda – privatizing public schools, corporatizing government functions and outsourcing them to the private sector, and gagging the voices of working women and men by gutting their unions and killing off their union rights.

The Guardian and Esquire  both have long pieces about ALEC and its efforts to refurbish itself in the wake of its disastrous championship of the “stand your ground and shoot” laws that forced a jury to acquit George Zimmerman of criminal charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. You’ll recall that the unarmed teenager was slain in Florida for misdeeds including wearing a hoody and “packing” an arsenal of snack foods.

The publications are reporting that ALEC has suffered a loss of membership and revenues as a result of its lead position on these laws.  But like a wounded animal, the group is still very dangerous. It is seeking both to shore up its image and to get around political giving restrictions by recasting itself as a 401(c)4,  a “social welfare” organization, instead of as a 401(c)3 charitable organization.

The Esquire’s Charles Pierce writes, “Nobody has any excuse any longer. Reporters -- local and national -- no longer have any excuse to treat ALEC and its work product as anything more than corporate-funded propaganda designed to exist outside the imperatives of democratic self-government. Voters -- local and national -- no longer have any excuse that they were somehow fooled by their representatives, who were acting out of loyalty to some distant boardroom and not to the people who elected them. Democratic parties -- local and national -- no longer have any excuse to keep from crushing this organization in whatever new guise it chooses to camouflage itself and its agenda.”

Learn more about ALEC from a growing list of exposes….

The Guardian, ALEC facing funding crisis from donor exodus in wake of Trayvon Martin row (12/3/2013)

Salon, ALEC tries to claw back support lost after Trayvon furor (12/3/2013)

Gawker, The Secret Misspelled Comeback Plan of America's Creepiest Lobbyists (12/3/2013)

Esquire, THE ALEC DOCUMENTS EXPOSED (12/3/2013)

Talking Points Memo, Report: ALEC Has A Funding Problem After Trayvon Martin Saga (12/3/2013)

The Kansas City Star, ALEC sought a loyalty oath from key state lawmakers (12/3/2013)

Think Progress, Three Signs That The Power Of Secret Lobbying Group ALEC Is Fading (12/3/2013)

Office of U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan, Pocan Comments on ALEC’s New Attempts to Shield Itself against Tax Laws (12/3/2013)

Daily Kos, ALEC crawls from under rock to do damage control (12/3/2013)

Alabama.comReport: Corporate supporters abandoning GOP advocacy group ALEC over stand-your-ground laws(12/3/2013)

Blue Virginia, ALEC in Crisis; Virginia Speaker Bill Howell Tasked With Helping Save It (12/3/2013)

Common Dreams, ALEC Facing 'Funding Crisis' Following Public Scrutiny (12/3/2013)

Crooks and Liars, Explosive ALEC Documents Reveal Budget Woes, New Front Group (12/3/2013)

Desmogblog, Leaked Documents Reveal IRS Concerns, Funding Crisis At Corporate Lobbying Group ALEC(12/3/2013)

Democratic Underground, Great News-ALEC is hurting due to loss of sponsors and legislators (12/3/2013)

Beach Peanuts, Sunlight Sends ALEC Cockroaches Scurrying To New Funding Schemes (12/3/2013)

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