TEA Partier Testifies that his ALEC Bill Has Nothing to Do with ALEC, Public Records Show Otherwise
A TEA Party lawmaker with ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC has been caught coordinating with the organization on an ALEC model bill after claiming that the corporate bill mill had nothing to do with his legislation.
The bill in question is SB 314 a bill Sen. Roger Webb is sponsoring which would create an “Interstate pipeline compact.” During a hearing on that bill, a witness pointed out that this was an ALEC boilerplate bill. Senator Webb then testified on the record that this was not an ALEC bill, and that he did not know where this idea came from. You can hear him say this by playing the audio clip below.
However, take a look at this image from the public bill drafting file known as the “junque” file. It’s a note on Senator Webb’s letterhead directing Sonja Nowakowski (the bill drafter) to call “ALEC.” More specifically, that she get in contact with “Carla,” an employee of ALEC who I have been told is ALEC’s international and federal relations representative.
It’s not clear why Webb is suddenly trying to hide his ties to ALEC now, since in the past he has proudly endorsed pushing boilerplate bills on behalf of out-of-state corporations. I don’t think this bill even had any proponents – just Webb himself.
In a PBS expose on ALEC influence in the Montana Legislature (Brought to You by ALEC) a reporter tags along with Webb, Wittich, and other Montana legislators to an ALEC conference.
The PBS expose includes some telling interviews with Webb, including at 7:05 minutes in, when Webb admits the bulk of ALEC’s revenue comes from corporate donors with a vested interest in the legislation they’re pushing. He says this doesn’t bother him in the least, because to him ALEC funding this is no different than businesses supporting Girl Scouts and Little League – two organizations that, I would point out, lack the power to make state laws we all must abide by.
SB314 passed the senate floor today 28-22 with Sen. Tudvedt (R-Kalispell) joining the dems in opposition.