Aliya Rahman was contacted by a whistleblower from within the American Legislative Exchange Council, hours after organizing a Cincinnati protest in April.
Within two hours of helping stage a loud protest outside a spring convention of conservative policymakers, Over-the-Rhine resident Aliya Rahman got a telephone call that has now triggered a media groundswell.
“I have information about ALEC,” said a voice.
Six weeks earlier, 29-year-old Rahman had been a Miami Univeristy Ph.D. student and labor organizer who wondered why an Ohio budget clause threatening to deregulate wages and class sizes at her school, was coming so close upon the heels of a similar proposal in Virginia.
Then a link on Facebook got her attention. A Wisconsin history professor had proposed that conservative bills arising simultaneously in multiple states, like those aimed at reducing workers’ bargaining rights, were rolling quietly out of a nonprofit group known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
And ALEC was coming to Cincinnati.
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Yesterday inside the Netherland Hotel, a discreet committee drafted America’s next season of conservative state legislation. Outside, bucket drums, megaphones, and a hundred angry voices roared in protest. And three blocks away, The Cincinnati Enquirer stayed home.
ALEC members convene privately; image from an organizational brochure.
Courageous members of the American Legislative Exchange Commission (ALEC), peeked out of the hotel’s grand entrance during their recess, to survey the opposition. Until now, their organization of 2000+ state legislators and corporate executives has stayed under the public radar, while crafting 1000+ items of legislation each election cycle since 1973. *Numbers reported by ALEC.
Their goal: an economic climate friendlier to corporations. This year’s anti-collective-bargaining bills in Ohio and Michigan were two recent triumphs. Continue reading