MADISON (WKOW) -- The American Legislative Exchange Council, better known as ALEC, makes no secret of the fact it provides state lawmakers with so-called "scholarships" so they can travel to conferences where they work on model legislation with corporate members.
According to a new report called "ALEC Exposed" by the Madison-based Center for Media and Democracy, much of that model legislation has become law in Wisconsin.
"32 bills or budget provisions that have been introduced in the last year-and-a-half reflect ALEC model legislation," said CMD Executive Director Lisa Graves. "21 of these bills were passed. 19 of them became law."
That includes Voter ID and the Castle Doctrine.
Of Wisconsin's 132 legislators, 49 are members of ALEC, all of them Republicans.
According to the report, many of those lawmakers know exactly what corporations are providing which scholarships.
Jay Heck, Director of Common Cause Wisconsin, a group devoted to government accountability, said that is not allowed by state law.
"In Wisconsin for 50 years that has not been allowed. It is the cup of coffee rule, anything beyond a cup of coffee you cannot provide to a legislator, because its something of value and there would be a sense of being beholden," said Heck.
"I've been in lobbying meetings and I have never, not once, had a legislator tell me that I had an equal vote to them on whether this bill was gonna go forward, but that's precisely what happens in ALEC meetings," said Graves.
The report also shows that many of the lawmakers who receive thousands of dollars in scholarships, never report it on their campaign finance records.
"I certainly hope that Attorney General Van Hollen would rise above his partisan roots and serve in his role as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer for the State of Wisconsin and investigate the evidence we're providing," said Graves.
Two weeks ago, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) filed a complaint with the IRS claiming ALEC was violating its federal tax-exempt status.
An attorney for ALEC, Alan Dye, told 27 News they were well within federal law, but admitted he had not reviewed Wisconsin's lobbying laws.
A spokesperson for Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R-Wisconsin) said his office will review the information detailed in the "ALEC Exposed" report.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and WKOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Program Manager Jessica Miller at 608-661-2794. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.