Republicans defend their ties to ALEC
by Jon Gillooly
jgilloolly@mdjonline.com
April 27, 2012 12:00 AM | 5678 views | 30 30 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Some longtime Cobb Republicans are lashing back at critics of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Washington-based nonprofit that touts itself as a group where business interests and lawmakers can “exchange practical, state-level public policy issues.”

Earlier this month, Coca-Cola dropped its ties to ALEC amid pressure from activists over legislation like Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which is blamed in part for the controversial shooting death there of a black teenager, Trayvon Martin.

State Sen. Chip Rogers, of Woodstock, is the national treasurer of ALEC. He is also one of two state chairs of the group for Georgia, with Rep. Calvin Hill (R-Hickory Flat).

Just six years ago, Cobb’s own Earl Ehrhart, a state representative from Powder Springs, was the national chairman of ALEC. Ehrhart says those who criticize the non-partisan group “hate free markets and individual liberties.”

ALEC, he said, “operates completely transparently and upfront, spending non-taxpayer money — unlike the avowed crazies who are part of the groups that don’t like ALEC,” Ehrhart said. “We’re not communists. We have Jeffersonian principles. It’s in the mission statement. Individual liberty. Free markets. That’s the basic stated, four-decades-old mission of ALEC, and it’s basically a restatement of our founding fathers. I’ll put that up against communists and socialists and crazed Occupy bath-needing leftists. I think the majority of the people in this state will side with ALEC.”

Rogers said the same thing in an interview with the Journal’s sister publication, the Cherokee Tribune.

“ALEC is the leading conservative legislation organization in the nation,” Rogers said. “It will continue to stand for free markets, less government and federalism. These are the principles on which America was founded, and we need more lawmakers to stand by them.”

State Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) has been a member of ALEC since he was elected to the General Assembly, and said most of Cobb’s Republican state lawmakers are members. State Rep. Judy Manning, a Marietta Republican, is also a member.

State lawmakers from around the United States pay about $50 per year to be a member of the group, while corporations pay between $2,500 and $25,000 a year for membership in ALEC. But the group’s membership list is private, spokeswoman Kaitlyn Buss said. ALEC holds three meetings each year.

“Do the private sector members get things into the ALEC conversation that the private sector wants?” Setzler said. “Absolutely they do. Just like they get it into regular legislation. They’ve got a First Amendment right to advocate anything, be it in Congress or be it through ALEC. But because of that dimension, the left has seen that as this chink in their armor that they can take a crack at ALEC. But the real motivation is because ALEC is so successful at promoting limited government, free markets and Jeffersonian federalism.”

One of those critics is Bryan Long, the executive director of another nonprofit group, Better Georgia, which says it works “for elected officials to pass sensible laws and policies that make Georgia a better state.” His organization is affiliated with a national progressive grassroots group called ProgressNow.

Long has called ALEC a “radical, right-wing group that operates in the shadows of the government,” and criticized some of its model legislation on such issues as voter ID, school choice and illegal immigration.

Ehrhart responded: “Mr. Long doesn’t like free speech, doesn’t like advocacy for anything other than what he wants. The majority of the citizens in this county and this state are going to agree with the principles of ALEC. Again, back to the founding principles of this country. I’ll stand them up against his tent principles all day long. I’m not afraid of some Occupy pansy sitting in a tent without a bath, I’m sorry.”

Should Georgia Legislators sever their ties to ALEC?


Comments
(30)
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Square Bug
|
April 30, 2012
I can't help but wonder if Judy Manning got her

information about the Mormons from ALEC.
Disgusted withit
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April 30, 2012
What in the World is guiding our politicians in their thinking? Why was their commitment to ALEC

not revealed when they ran for office? This is so

very wrong!
Ray Beckerman
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April 29, 2012
Personally I think it's Mr. Ehrhart who's in need of a bath.
Ms Take
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April 30, 2012
Flea soap?
Ray Beckerman
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April 29, 2012
The "pansies" are the dregs who belong to ALEC. They're just as afraid of "free markets" as they are of "free speech". They want the markets to be rigged in their favor, which is why they want to have secret access to legislators to rig things for them.

And the legislators who belong to such an organization should be ashamed of themselves.

"Vampires" is another good word for these blood suckers; if they ever saw the light of day, they'd shrivel up and die.
ibwilliamsi
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April 29, 2012
Is Mr. Erhart aware that Jefferson cut his Bible to bits because he found parts of it offensive? Why do they insist on comparing themselves to Jefferson and then do exactly what Jefferson would not have done? Oh, that's right. They don't teach the truth about Jefferson in Charter schools.
Ms Fitt
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April 28, 2012
So funny! ALEC members are e-mailing each other to

vote in this survey over and over again.
Too Funny
|
April 27, 2012
Clearly Representative Ehrhart picked up his astute communication skills from the "talk radio" school of public discourse.

We get it. You think people who don't share your ideas smell funny, which worked well in what, 3rd grade?
Square Bug
|
April 28, 2012
Agreed, but Ehrhart was too busy jabbering in his talk radio preparation to come out of his playpen

and attend third grade.
GOP Newbie
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May 01, 2012
But he was held back in second grade twice.
ALEC Hates Educators
|
April 27, 2012
DIRECT Quote from ALEC's "Report Card on America Education":

Across the country for the past two decades, education reform efforts have popped up in legislatures at different times in different places,” the report authors wrote. “As a result, teachers’ unions have been playing something akin to ‘whack-a- mole’—you know the game—striking down as many education reform efforts as possible. Many times, the unions successfully ‘whack’ the ‘mole,’ i.e., the reform legislation. Sometimes, however, they miss. If all the moles pop up at once, there is no way the person with the mallet can get them all. Introduce comprehensive reform packages.”

HEY TEACHERS!
|
April 27, 2012
I know a lot of you read the MDJ and I see you constantly under attack. Well, here's your chance to do something! ALEC is at the heart of everything evil Bobby Jindal is doing to teachers in Louisianna. Stop ALEC now before we suffer the same fate in Georgia. Google "Bobby Jindal and ALEC". It is literally the very first item that pops up!!
EduKtr
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April 28, 2012
... And THEN google "NEA" and "donations" to see where your CCAE and GAE dollars are going!
GOP Newbie
|
April 27, 2012
Baloney again: Please get your facts straight before you start blowing off steam! ALEC is busy

advising Georgia legislators both how to conduct

themselves and how to vote on Georgia state business. Members of ALEC have lost their way.

Refresh your thinking by reviewing the oath of

office taken by our elected officials.
Guy Bailey
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April 27, 2012
No. I like my legislators, of whatever hue, to write and read their own laws - not buy them in bulk for a discount. ALEC is the legal equivalent of Costco.
Smyrna Oldie
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April 29, 2012
More like the equivalent of the old five and dime.
Independent Voter
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April 27, 2012
So if I think the elected representatives of this state should represent the people who put them there and not corporations who may not even pay taxes here, that makes me "some Occupy pansy sitting in a tent without a bath"? Or it means I "hate free markets and individual liberties"? If what ALEC does is so transparent, then why don't the politicians who introduce their bills identify where they came from? I'm sorry, expecting my government to work for the people who elected them and not push the agenda of big corporations who could care less about the best interests of our families is not some communist idea. It's pure common sense. I would have expected Republicans to know better.
PMom_GA
|
April 27, 2012
Well, IV, your problem was expecting "common sense" and that GOP would know better.

Basically, for all intents and purposes, the only "common sense" the GOP has is "common cents" - the ones that only go into their pockets/bank accounts.
L E
|
April 28, 2012
Well stated!!
absurdity
|
April 30, 2012
Really? You expect Republicans to know better? They only are in tune to the jingle in their pockets. To heck with women and children, education and global change. Really? I do not believe that the majority of Republicans nor Democrats know much about Thomas Jefferson's truths or convictions, neither. He was not a Bible, per se, religiously person, yet was a great thinker and innovator.
Just Wait
|
April 27, 2012
Why do our elected officials have to join and/or align themselves with any organization or group. They are elected to represent their districts. That should be their only care or concern.
Misguided Elephants
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April 27, 2012
ALEC is pure corporate manipulation of the republic. This organization writes big money-backed 'model legislation' so that your elected officials don't really have to do their duty - just change some language and send right through. Individual liberties are for individual people, Ehrhart - not giants of industry. Anyone who believes in a truly free market - free of corruption and undue influence - opposes ALEC.

Vote these swine out, Cobb.
Pete Johnson
|
April 27, 2012
Earl syas that anyone against him is a "communist, socialist or Occupy type". Well I am a combat vet of Afghanistan and Iraq - guys like Earl would quelch free speeech with hate. Guys like Earl don't volunteer to join the armed forces either - or their sons/daughters.
Wrongo dude
|
April 27, 2012
Stop calling names. Earl's son is at the Naval Academy and has wanted to be in the service since he was a toddler. Earl has encouraged that and is very, very proud.

Earl himself would have been a great military man. You have no clue whether he tried to serve or not, and obviously have a problem with him or Republicans in general.

Who did you serve with? When were you there? And do you know ANYTHING about Earl Ehrhart?
Gringo Bandito
|
April 27, 2012
Earl Ehrhart would make a more persuasive argument if he could refrain from the name calling. He has the facts on his side. There is no need to sink to the level of the left.
Samuel Adams
|
April 27, 2012
To the contrary, many of us are tired of the namby pamby responses most Republicans have given when the leftists assail legitimate policy and institutions with their Alinsky tactics.

Earl, keep up the good work. You are one of the most genuine politicians I've ever known, and I'll defend you any day. Truth hurts some people, but not those with their honor still intact.
Misguided Elephants
|
April 27, 2012
'Samuel Adams' probably never heard of Saul Alinsky until he heard about him on Sean Hannity.
Let's see
|
April 27, 2012
humiate your opponent, check

GOP Newbie
|
April 27, 2012
I sincerely hope the Georgia Attorney General will

take a good look at ALEC. Our elected politicians

have forgotten their oath of office and just who

they supposedly represent. Shame, shame.
Baloney again
|
April 27, 2012
Just because Coca Cola, of which I'm a shareholder, jumped into the recent Trayvon fray, only means they've been highly sensitive to racial issues since being shaken down by Jesse Jackson years ago. Many of their decisions based on race have only served to hurt the Company, but that is beside the point. ALEC is all about free markets, as our representatives assert, and all the negatives are coming from leftist, anti-capitalist groups who are finally spending all that Soros money on the local level. We're being assailed daily by their agenda. GOP Newbie, you've gotta be kidding. Do some research before tsk tsking....
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