Did ALEC Found State Policy Network? 1991 Report Suggests So, Exposes SPN Agenda
The case is strengthened by an October 1987 ALEC directory also available via the Tobacco Documents that says,
NCRP also reported that the Madison Group's annual meeting was at that time "sponsored by Heritage [Foundation] and the Free Congress Foundation," which was led by Paul Weyrich.
One of the gems found in the report is the following quote by the then-president of SPN's Pennsylvania affiliate, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives, Don E. Eberley:
This recalls a conversation SPN founder Thomas Roe allegedly had with fellow wealthy conservative donor and Heritage Foundation trustee Robert Krieble in which Roe told Krieble, "You capture the Soviet Union -- I'm going tocapture the states."
To what end would this "war" be waged? NCRP reported, "Privatization is the altar at which the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Madison Group worship. . . . For most public services, it is believed [by these "think tanks"] the private sector not only acts more efficiently, but that it has the inalienable right to the task." Elsewhere, the report continues, "The state think tanks' agenda includes privatization of most public services, from mass transit to health clinics to environmental protection, and even libraries; vouchers and tax credits to promote competition between public and private schools; deregulation of business; opposition to labor-backed policies like the minimum wage and family leave; and rollback of taxes."
The report was sent in July 1991 to the Tobacco Institute's Kurt Malmgren, then Senior Vice President of State Activities, by ALEC's then-executive director, Sam Brunelli, with a note saying he sent it "to illustrate how effective ALEC has become." Accompanied by humorous handwritten notes from someone (Malmgren?) to Margaret Rita, the Tobacco Institute's then-Manager of Legislative Issues. "Winning is what ALEC is all about," Brunelli writes. "I think whining is more opprop!" (sic), Malmgren quips, and goes on to add an "h" to five of Brunelli's seven uses of the word "winning" in the cover letter.
On a more serious note, Brunelli's cover note also makes very clear that, far from the "transparent," "educational" organization ALEC now claims to be, ALEC told its funders a different story: "One hundred percent of our energy and effort goes into winning the public policy debate and championing a free market economy . . . [elipses original] a pro-business, pro-growth, pro-freedom, limited government agenda." Why? "[B]ecause winning the public policy debate will continue to have a tremendous positive effect on the 'bottom line' of your company," Brunelli tells Malmgren (and, presumably, ALEC's other corporate funders).
The NCRP report also notes that ALEC was then
Former Amway President Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy DeVos (former chair of the Michigan Republican Party and brother of Erik D. Prince, founder of Blackwater/Xe/Academi) are long-time supporters of the Heritage Foundation and SPN affiliates such as Michigan's influential Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
The NCRP report also makes abundantly clear that ALEC's role is to facilitate what most would define as lobbying. It quotes ALEC materials saying,