Caught up in all the April Fool’s fake stories yesterday was an extensive Star Ledger Piece about how many of the Governor’s biggest bills match model Legislation pushed by a group called ALEC. And according to the Governor’s office, they’d like you to believe he has no clue about it:
“Our reforms have no basis in anyone’s model legislation,” Drewniak said. “The governor said to me, ‘Who’s ALEC?’
Ok then, lets humor the Governor and look at who ALEC is:
It’s called the American Legislative Exchange Council, a little-known conservative group headquartered in Washington, D.C., and funded by some of the biggest corporations in the United States – most with a business interest in state legislation. ALEC has quietly made its mark on the political landscape by providing state governments with mock-up bills that academic and political experts say are, for the most part, tailored to fit a conservative agenda. In recent years, states – particularly those with new Republican governors and legislatures – have been flooded with ALEC’s model bills. Nearly 1,000 of them are introduced every year, and roughly one-fifth of those become law, according to ALEC’s own count. ALEC’s bills are especially attractive because they are written so they can virtually be copied and pasted onto legislative proposals across the land.
Hmmm, so according to the Governor’s office there is this great service that writes all your conservative legislation for you and he knows nothing about it? That’s like my friend growing up who used to try to buy papers online and said he was just being creative to make sure he had more time to learn about other things. Basically that’s what is going on here by New Jersey Republicans:
Drawing on bills crafted by the council, on New Jersey legislation and dozens of e-mails by Christie staffers and others, The Star-Ledger found a pattern of similarities between ALEC’s proposals and several measures championed by the Christie administration. At least three bills, one executive order and one agency rule accomplish the same goals set out by ALEC using the same specific policies. In eight passages contained in those documents, New Jersey initiatives and ALEC proposals line up almost word for word. Two other Republican bills not pushed by the governor’s office are nearly identical to ALEC models.
Which leads us back to Christie’s supposed lack of knowledge regarding who ALEC really is:
Most New Jersey lawmakers sponsoring bills similar to ALEC models told The Star-Ledger that they received those bills from the Christie administration.
The whole story by Sal Rizzo really is worth a read. And the Christie administration should have to explain this amazing coincidence further, because of course there is a financial component too:
ALEC member corporations and their executives have given more than $200,000 to New Jersey officials who are in the group or have introduced bills resembling ALEC models.
And that doesn’t even count all the Governor’s secret slush funds where he doesn’t disclose his donors. So somehow an organization that the Governor “knows nothing about” is getting their Legislation passed by his minions in the Legislature who are receiving significant campaign contributions from said organization. That’s really some coincidence. (the latest NJ ALEC denial, here).