Here’s Why That Movement Continues To Fail

Today, Occupy Louisville sent out a… press release?… About ALEC – the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Here’s a taste:

Occupy Louisville members and other local residents will participate, along with over 70 cities, in a National Day of Action organized by the Occupy Wall Street Movement to expose the corporate influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in state legislatures. Local residents will rally from 4:00-7:00 pm at 201 W. Main Street, outside the KFC YUM! Center. The goal is to stop the influence of ALEC and its 800 corporate members, such as KFC Yum! Brands, UPS, Humana, Koch Industries, and Monsanto, in the making of state laws.


YUM! Brands co-chairs ALEC’s Labor and Business Regulation Subcommittee. At ALEC’s annual meeting in 2011, this subcommittee focused completely on the subject of paid sick leave. At the meeting, those in attendance were given model bills to override paid sick leave legislation in the states. ALEC targets labor, education, immigrants, animal right, prisons, the environment, women and voting rights. ALEC has worked on behalf of the banking industry, recommending that seniors be forced to give up their homes by reverse mortgages in order to receive Medicaid.

According to, there are five state representatives from Jefferson County who are members of ALEC, including the chairman of the ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development task force, Rep. David Osborne [R-Dist. 59]. The others are:

  • Sen. Denise Harper Angel [D-Dist. 35]
  • Sen. Julie Denton [R-Dist. 36]
  • Sen. Dan Seum [R-Dist. 38]
  • Sen. Tim Shaughnessy [D-Dist. 19]

Occupy Louisville opposes ALEC because the corporate-funded Council and state politicians meet behind closed doors to craft “model bills” which the elected representatives take back to their states, working to pass them into law. These corporate-approved laws negatively affect almost every facet of American life while providing direct benefits to huge corporations.

So let’s get the obvious out of the way. State Senators are not State Representatives. Tim Shaughnessy is retiring and doesn’t matter.

While we obviously support their mission for transparency in government and the end of corrupt corporate influence in politics?

It’s tough to take anyone seriously when they issue press releases and media alerts that are both poorly written and horribly inaccurate.

And, really, “Shut Down the Corporations dot Org”? Because all corporations are bad?

Head – desk.

9 thoughts on “Here’s Why That Movement Continues To Fail

  1. Copied from Page One…

    “Shut Down the Corporations dot Org” is apparently the name behind the national effort, and the local Occupy is aligning with it. I do agree that they could have chosen a better name, like “Shut Down Corporate Abuses dot Org”.

    But even if the press release is messy, I think it would be worthwhile for all your readers to look into ALEC. This is an industry group that basically writes model legislative language working to their advantage, out of the sight of the public. From there they feed this legislation to sympathetic legislators, usually Republican but also Democratic in some cases. In my view, this lack of transparency works against representative governance. Anyone who cares about how their government operates might ought to be concerned about ALEC.

  2. Agree with Steve — even though the press release is not up to standards, it’s still interesting to find out which of our local electeds are part of ALEC.

    The fact that there is an organization writing bills that are then handed to state legislators to introduce as their own might be a little troublesome, as Steve says, if those same legislators act like its their own idea and not handed to them by another party. You could argue, of course, that that is what lobbyists do — but even the most connected lobbyist doesn’t just hand the bill to the Senator and say “put your name here and file it.”

    My larger problem with ALEC, though, is not the in-the-shadows bill authoring — it’s the bills themselves. ALEC’s agenda is the entire corporatocracy wet dream: privatizing schools, allowing pollution, busting unions, protecting big business — you name it, it’s probably in there. Over 800 bills, all written up with smart-sounding names, just ready to be filed.

    So, while the Occupy people are coming off as more jester than justice, remember — sometimes the jester is the only one telling the truth.

  3. No one said paying attention to ALEC wasn’t a good thing…?

    The point is they look childish and uninformed with everything else wrong with their release. And most people – particularly the meemaws and poppops who vote – aren’t going to be listening to anything (the ones who listen, not Fox News drones) that isn’t packaged, explained well and not riddled in inaccuracies.

  4. Well, that’s where Citizenship comes in, Jake. Citizenship requires that people look past the packaging and look at the soundness of the contents. In other words, not judging books by their covers (or in the case of OL, judging protesters who sometimes look unkempt).

    No matter the reader’s ideology, I would ask the reader to look up ALEC on Google or Wikipedia, and explore. Consider whether what they’re doing fits into the American model of representative governance. Decide for yourselves.

    On top of that, decide whether it’s prudent for industries to 100% get their way in legislation, without other considerations figuring into it.

  5. Who is judging a book by its cover or ideology?

    I’m judging their press release based on the content of that release. Content that isn’t simply mixed up but wholly inaccurate.

    It’s an illustration of why meemaw and poppop still don’t understand the “movement” – because it can’t be easily explained to them and no one is trying to do so (outside of pushing misinformation from within their own ranks).

  6. “Meemaw and poppop” need to stop waiting for things to be explained perfectly for them, and get the initiative to research these things on their own. I just gave them some basic info to go on. Now, go, granny, go, granny, go granny go! 🙂

  7. Meemaw and poppop get their news from the teevee, which reads straight from a press release. They don’t have the ability or know how to research issues.

    And they’re primarily the only people who vote.

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