Magazine article In These Times

ALEC and Its Tea Party Sugar Daddies

Magazine article In These Times

ALEC and Its Tea Party Sugar Daddies

Article excerpt

ALEC claims to be an independent, non-partisan, public-private partnership, but the best metaphor for the organization is an aspen grove. An aspen grove appears to be a cluster of individual trees, but a look beneath the surface reveals that each tree is an offshoot of the same large root network, each tree genetically identical to the other.

In the case of ALEC, a common filament in that network is the Koch brothers, Charles and David. Through the profits of Wichita, Kan.based Koch Industries (and other Koch-controlled corporations), the two billionaire brothers fund myriad right-wing public policy foundations.

ALEC has received significant funding from the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF), which also funds the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. In 1974, Cato was originally incorporated as The Charles Koch Foundation. David Koch is currently on its board of directors.

David Koch is also a trustee of The Reason Foundation, a libertarian public policy institute and prominent ALEC member that promotes the privatization of government (and also receives CKF funding). Michael Flynn, Reason's current director of government affairs, served as a director of ALEC policy and legislative activities/strategic initiatives for several years ending in 2003.

David Koch also currently chairs the Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF), formerly known as the Citizens for a Sound Economy Educational Foundation (another prominent ALEC-contributor), largely funded by CKF and Koch Industries. Joining him on that board is Koch Industries Executive Vice President Richard Fink, who is also the former executive vice president of the Mercatus Center, yet another Koch-funded, right-wing ALEC public policy member.

In 2003, AFPF incarnated two more foundations: Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. As noted in AFPF's 2003 tax records, the group paid U. …

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