Statement of Adrian Shelley, Director, Public Citizen’s Texas Office
Note: Starting today, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will hold its annual meeting at the J.W. Marriott hotel in downtown Austin. Attendees at the Koch brothers-funded conference will plot ways for corporate interests to gain influence over state governments. The group has an outsized influence in Texas, with 59 elected officials in the state claiming membership, according to the Center for Media and Democracy. Many of those elected officials – including members of the Texas Legislature – will attend the three-day ALEC conference. In 2019, ALEC bills in the Texas Legislature were introduced to criminalize protest, stifle free speech and more.
The American Legislative Exchange Council is leading the corporate takeover of statehouses across the country. Regressive Texas legislation, from our shameful voter ID law to our recent criminalization of peaceful protestors, often comes with ALEC fingerprints. ALEC’s followers push pro-corporate legislation that harms millions of Texans.
The success of ALEC shows how easily special interests can buy legislation. The corporate bottom line gets richer and middle-class taxpayers foot the bill. This isn’t how democracy is supposed to work.