Fact-Checking ALEC: Where Do Its “Model” Bills Come From?

Last fall, Marathon Petroleum lobbyist Stephen Higley teamed up with climate change denier Myron Ebell on a “model” resolution for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) praising President Trump’s “energy and environmental policy accomplishments.”

The purpose of “model” resolutions in ALEC is for legislators to introduce them in statehouses across the country to declare the official policy or position of a state. This particular resolution can be cited by President Trump to demonstrate support for his fossil-fuel friendly agenda–despite the catastrophic consequences to our environment and concerns that have been raised on behalf of millions of people.

Legislators and corporations voted in favor of the Marathon Petroleum/Ebell resolution during ALEC’s “States and Nation Policy Summit” in Washington, D.C., last November.

“Here’s a clean version of the model resolution. Myron, can you please forward in a clean email to Grant and cc Andy?” Higley asked in an email obtained by Documented to Ebell as well as to American Fuel & Petrochemical Association lobbyist John Eick (a former ALEC staffer), American Energy Alliance President Tom Pyle and Ohio State Rep. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta). Ebell and Pyle both led agency transition teams for Trump.

Ten minutes later, Ebell sent off the “model” resolution to ALEC in an email, stating “Rep. Andy Thompson has agreed to be the legislative sponsor.”

Rep. Thompson “agreed” to be the legislative sponsor to another ALEC model resolution adopted at the same meeting, which was aimed at opposing tax incentives for electric vehicles.

“Attached is a resolution for consideration supporting equal tax treatment for all vehicles. Representative Thompson has kindly agreed to be the public sector sponsor (at least for now),” Pyle stated in another email obtained by Documented to ALEC. The correspondence is consistent with an E&E News article that reported Pyle was behind a previous version of the draft resolution, which had not been adopted by ALEC.

These resolutions are just two of several recent measures initiated by ALEC’s private sector members, which contradicts claims made recently by ALEC staffer Shelby Emmett on WAMU where she asserted that the private sector does not have too much influence in part because, she said, public sector members introduce “model” legislation themselves.

“So within our organization, internally within our procedures, it’s the public sector members that introduce the legislation.” Emmett stated. She went on to stress the point again less than a minute later in the interview. “But within the organization, yes, private and public sectors come together, but it’s the public sector members that actually introduce the policy.”

Listen to the full interview here, where Documented co-director Lisa Graves informs listeners of ALEC’s damage to public policy and that many ALEC bills originate from corporate lobbyists, contrary to ALEC’s public relations’ spin.

The email correspondence between Marathon Petroleum and ALEC was obtained by Documented via an open records request to the Ohio House of Representatives. It can be viewed here:

 

The email correspondence between the American Energy Alliance and ALEC was obtained by Documented via an open records request to the Ohio House of Representatives. It can be viewed here:

 

Photograph by Joe Brusky. Used under creative commons license.

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