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Profiting from Public Dollars: How ALEC and Its Members Promote Privatization of Government Services and Assets.

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This agenda directly benefits many of its corporate members, who hope to increase their revenues and profits by dismantling public services and taking over the work through lucrative government contracts. As numerous privatization efforts show, handing over control of public functions to corporate entities can have disastrous results. In the quest to increase corporate profits, the quality of public services suffers, public costs may increase, and the ability to provide meaningful oversight over our public structures is greatly compromised.

ALEC plays an important role of providing corporations with valuable and unfettered access to state legislators. At ALEC meetings, these groups work together to craft legislation that makes privatization easier, and, in many cases, requires a state government to privatize important public functions. ALEC works with its members to draft model bills that state legislators can introduce and push in their states. Many of these bills create incentives to privatize services and call for the increased use of private financing and control of public infrastructure projects. For example, ALEC bills make it easier to create virtual public schools, encourage states to privatize vital health programs that help vulnerable populations, force state governments to sell public prisons to prison corporations, and help other industries take control of public services. ALEC’s influence on state law is undeniable. The organization estimates that each year close to 1,000 bills, based at least in part on ALEC model legislation, are introduced in states legislatures, of which about 20% become law.

This report exposes ALEC’s privatization agenda by:

1. Identifying ALEC model bills that promote the handing over of public services and assets to corporations,
2. Matching those model bills with related state legislation,
3. Drawing connections between those bills and lawmakers that are members of ALEC, and
4. Focusing on what ALEC corporate members4 stand to gain by promoting these laws.

In several cases, ALEC corporations have even secured contracts upon successful passage of model bills. We will highlight several examples.