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Many people have never heard of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC – but for 50 years, the group has been the driving force behind some of the most extreme policies in this country. Behind closed doors, ALEC brings corporate lobbyists and state politicians together to draft and vote on model bills that aim to free corporations from regulations, regardless of the impacts on people and the planet. Labor law, environmental law, health and safety, voting — no cause is off-limits. Our guests say ALEC and its wealthy pool of funders are a real threat, but there are ways to take action and progress has already been made. In 2023, a diverse coalition of groups, including Greenpeace, Color of Change, the Center for Media and Democracy and more, is calling out the anti-democratic impact of ALEC by using the hashtag #50YearsOfHarm. Congressman Ro Khanna of California’s 17th Congressional District, a leading progressive in the House, and Lisa Graves, Executive Director of True North Research and Board President of the Center for Media and Democracy, two of the preeminent national watchdog groups investigating dark money, join Laura Flanders to unpack it all. And in her closing commentary, Laura fills us in on the other side of the story in state houses: the Democrats have their own project in place these days. But is it any match for ALEC?

“I still believe that for many people, not all people, knowledge is power, facts matter, and knowing who the real special interests are behind this can help expose and block them.” – Lisa Graves

“ALEC recognizes that on many of these issues, there’s a 70, 80, 90% consensus against them and they’re trying to distort the democratic process by the use of big money.” – Ro Khanna


Portions of this interview are featured in our episode, “#50YearsOfHarm: Rep. Ro Khanna & Lisa Graves Call Out ALEC / The American Legislative Exchange Council”.

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