Yesterday afternoon I was minding my own business when I was mentioned in this Tweet.
Who’s NOT with #ALEC? #CocaCola and #McDonalds Who is? @buzzbrockway @charlicebyrd http://bttrga.us/I0ywNQ #gapol
I responded with this Tweet and the discussion began.
The war on good ideas continues. Sad. RT @bryanlong: Who’s NOT with #ALEC? #CocaCola and #McDonalds Who is? http://bttrga.us/I0ywNQ #gapol
ALEC must be some sort of evil cabal and I’m wrapped up in it!
Bryan Long is the Executive Director of a group called Better Georgia. According to their website Better Georgia is:
We are Georgians who are ready to once again lead the South.
We want strong communities, churches and schools. We want quality jobs and a culture that attracts the best businesses.
Better Georgia is here to make sure elected officials listen to Georgia families, small business owners and real people. We want our elected officials to pass sensible laws and policies that make Georgia a better state.
Today, Georgia faces historic levels of unemployment with nearly half a million workers looking for jobs. Georgia has the 3rd highest poverty rate in nation, with two cities ranked among our nation’s 10 poorest places to live. Georgia’s students are defaulting on student loans faster than the national average. Meanwhile, businesses refuse to open in Georgia because our representatives pass laws intended to please a small, extreme group.
It’s time someone other than lobbyists and big-pocket corporations demand action from our elected officials.
Better Georgia will.
The first time I heard of this group was during the last couple of day of this year’s Legislative session when the showed up to ask Legislators to take a drug test. They produced a video of their encounters with various Republican Representatives (it’s on their website). However, the video was edited to leave out the fact that Rep. Randy Nix offered to pee into the cup and they didn’t even include their encounter with Rep. Michael Harden who offered to take the test and asked the Better Georgia folks to hold the cup for him. Obviously they learned journalism from Michael Moore.
So who is ALEC and why is the Executive Director of Better Georgia so opposed to them?
ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council. Legislators from across America gather at conferences to share ideas and talk about what has worked in their States. According to their website:
For more than 35 years, ALEC has been the ideal means of creating and delivering public policy ideas aimed at protecting and expanding our free society. Thanks to ALEC’s membership, the duly elected leaders of their state legislatures, Jeffersonian principles advise and inform legislative action across the country. Literally hundreds of dedicated ALEC members have worked together to create, develop, introduce and guide to enactment many of the cutting-edge, conservative policies that have now become the law in the states. The strategic knowledge and training ALEC members have received over the years has been integral to these victories.
Since its founding, ALEC has amassed an unmatched record of achieving ground-breaking changes in public policy. Policies such as teacher competency testing, pension reform, and Enterprise Zones represent just a handful of ALEC’s victories in the states.
Pay attention to the the phrases “Jeffersonian principles” and “conservative policies” in order to understand why Better Georgia and their left wing fellow travelers hate ALEC. The American Left has declared war on ALEC and has begun going after companies and individuals that donate money to ALEC. Bryan Long has begun targeting Lawmakers like myself who are members of ALEC trying to shame us into quitting the group.
The idea that conservative Legislators would gather to discuss good ideas and that private money would be used to help defray the costs is outrageous to groups like Better Georgia. In their minds, either conservative Legislators should not be allowed to gather, taxpayers should be forced to pay for it (some States use taxpayers funds to fund NCSL, the National Council of State Legislators, which apparently Better Georgia has no problem with), or only wealthy people should allowed to participate in groups like ALEC.
Even the AJC’s Jay Bookman has joined the cause, complaining about a bill simply because an ALEC task force thought it was a good idea. The bill passed the Georgia House and the Senate with no dissenting votes so apparently ALEC’s deceptive power has penetrated the Georgia Democratic Party as well.
At one point during my discussion with Mr. Long I asked where Better Georgia get’s it’s funding. I never got an answer. If they’re going to target those who fund ALEC isn’t it fair we know who’s funding him? Since he wouldn’t answer my question I thought I’d see what the Google turned up.
Better Georgia is an affiliate of a national group called ProgressNow. ProgressNow claims to be a “year-round, never-ending progressive campaign.”
Political campaigns are relatively short-lived; they come and they go, leaving little behind of lasting value. ProgressNow’s presence in our states never ends. There are hundreds of local and state issues that we can organize and communicate effectively literally year-round. Day in and day out, we’re working in our states to counter the right wing and create a perpetual issue advocacy culture.
ProgressNow is yet another left-wing advocacy group – nothing wrong with that, but again, don’t we have a right to know who’s funding them? Who actually cuts checks to ProgressNow and Better Georgia is hard to find. I did find this though that sheds some light on the subject.
Progress Now counts as advisers such Democratic heavyweights as Robert Borosage (Americans United for Change), David Brock (Progressive Media USA), Mike Lux (American Family Voices), Eli Pariser (MoveOn.org) and Carl Pope (Sierra Club), as well as directors of the Fund for America (Anna Burger, John Podesta, John Stocks) and several members of the Democracy Alliance (Steve Phillips, Drummond Pike, John Podesta, Rob Stein and Michael Vachon). Borosage, Lux and Phillips are also on the board of Progressive Majority, which pays rent to Progress Now.
For a chart of money and influence behind the network, click here.
Sadly the “click here” link is dead but there was this:
Progress Now was funded by the Bauman Family Foundation ($100,000), Energy Foundation ($20,000) and Boston Foundation ($10,000) in 2007, and the Bohemian Foundation ($75,000) and Denver Foundation ($30,000) in 2006.
I could not find any information on who donates to Better Georgia but given they are affiliated with ProgressNow which is run and funded by numerous left wing activist and groups, it’s safe to say Better Georgia is funded by left wing activists and groups.
Let me make myself clear – if Better Georgia wants to go after ALEC’s members and donors they have every right to do that. However, I for one am going to push back and ask that they have the courage to release the names of their members and donors so the public can give them the same level of scrutiny ALEC and it’s supporters are getting.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin wrote about this subject today as well.