PA Newspapers Miss Story On ALEC Defections

››› ››› SALVATORE COLLELUORI

Pennsylvania's five largest newspapers have generally failed to cover the mounting defections of lawmakers and corporations from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing advocacy group whose membership and model legislation have had significant influence on Pennsylvania government.

ALEC Has A Strong Influence In Pennsylvania

Several Pennsylvania Politicians Who Hold Leadership Positions Participate In ALEC.* According to Keystone Progress:

These known ALEC members include:

  • GOP House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (whose participation in ALEC is paid by state taxpayers)
  • GOP House Majority Caucus Chair Sandra Major
  • GOP House Caucus Administrator Dick Stevenson
  • GOP House Judiciary Chair Ronald Marsico
  • GOP House State Government Chair Daryl Metcalfe
  • GOP Senate Majority Caucus Secretary Robert Robbins
  • GOP Senate Judiciary Chair Stewart Greenleaf
  • And GOP Chairs of numerous committees, including Representatives Matthew Baker (Health), Stephen Barrar (Veterans Affairs), Paul Clymer (Educational), John Evans (Game & Fisheries), Robert Godshall (Consumer Affairs), Kate Harper (Ethics), Dick Hess (Commerce), Ronald Miller (Labor & Industry) and Senators Charles McIlhinney (State Government), Jeffrey Piccola (Education), John Pippy (Law & Justice)
  • Rep. John Evans (R- Crawford, Erie) currently serves as ALEC's PA chair.

[Keystone Progress, 4/9/12, emphasis original]

*(As We Note Later, Several Of These Members Have Disavowed Their Memberships In ALEC.)

Other Pennsylvania Legislators Also Have Connections To ALEC.* According to Keystone Progress:

Other PA ALEC Legislators:

  • Rep. William Adolph (R, Delaware)
  • Rep. Karen Boback (R, Columbia, Luzerne, Wyoming)
  • Rep. Scott Boyd (R, Lancaster)
  • Rep. Jim Cox (R, Berks)
  • Rep. Gary Day (R, Berks, Lehigh)
  • Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R, Cumberland)
  • Rep. Matthew Gabler (R, Clearfield, Elk)
  • Rep. Richard Geist (R, Blair)
  • Rep. Mauree Gingrich (R, Lebanon)
  • Rep. Glen Grell (R, Cumberland)
  • Rep. Seth Grove (R, York)
  • Rep. Marcia Hahn (R, Northampton)
  • Rep. Sue Helm (R, Dauphin)
  • Rep. Scott Hutchinson (R, Butler, Venango)
  • Rep. Thomas Killion (R, Chester, Delaware)
  • Rep. Jerry Knowles (R, Berks, Schuylkill)
  • Rep. Nick Kotik (D, Allegheny)
  • Rep. Mark Mustio (R, Allegheny)
  • Rep. Tina Pickett (R, Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna)
  • Rep. Kathy Rapp (R, Forest, McKean Warren)
  • Rep. Harry Readhsaw (D, Allegheny)
  • Rep. Stan Saylor (R, York)
  • Rep. Curtis Schroder (R, Chester, Delaware)
  • Rep. William Todd Stephens (R, Montgomery)
  • Rep. Jerry Stern (R,Blair)
  • Rep. John Taylor (R, Philadelphia)
  • Rep. Marcy Toepel (R, Montgomery)
  • Rep. Tarah Toohil (R, Luzerne)
  • Sen. Leanna Washington, (D, Montgomery, Philadelphia)

[Keystone Progress, 4/9/12]

*(As We Note Later, Several Of These Members Have Disavowed Their Memberships In ALEC.)

At Least 6 Bills Introduced In Pennsylvania In 2011 Were Linked To ALEC Model Legislation. According to ALEC Exposed:

  • HB 1349 (referred to State Government 4/13/11) "amending the act of June 25, 1982 (P.L.633, No.181), known as the Regulatory Review Act."Compare to ALEC's "Regulatory Flexibility Act."
  • HB 250 "Council on Efficient Government Act" Referred to STATE GOVERNMENT: 12/26/11 in House. (Sponsors: GROVE, BOYD, CLYMER, DENLINGER, GRELL, KAUFFMAN, PYLE, SWANGER, MURT, KAVULICH and TRUITT). Looks like ALEC's "Council on Efficient Government Act."
  • HB 2053 (sent to State Government 1/26/11) "establishing the Council on Efficient Government."Compare to ALEC's "Council on Efficient Government Act."
  • HB 42 (sent to Appropriations committee 2/8/11) "providing for the rights of individuals to purchase private health care insurance."Compare to ALEC's "Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act."
  • HB 934 (referred to State Government 6/28/11) "known as the Pennsylvania Election Code, in preliminary provisions, defining "proof of identification"; in the Secretary of the Commonwealth, providing for requirements relating to voter identification; and, in preparation for and conduct of primaries and elections, further providing for manner of applying to vote, persons entitled to vote, voter's certificates, entries to be made in district register, numbered lists of voters and challenges." Compare with ALEC's "Voter ID Act"
  • SB 218 (referred to Banking and Insurance committee 1/21/11) "establishing the Pennsylvania High-Risk Health Insurance Pool, the Pennsylvania High-Risk Health Insurance Pool Fund and the State Comprehensive Health Insurance Pool Board." Compare to ALEC's "High-Risk Health Insurance Pool Model Act." [ALECExposed.org, accessed 5/2/12, emphasis original]

HB 934 Subsequently Became Law When It Was Signed By Gov. Corbett (R) In March. According to NBC Philadelphia:

Pennsylvania became home to one of the nation's toughest voter identification measures Wednesday, a prelude to a likely legal challenge just as judges at various levels move to analyze a number of other new state laws that make similar demands of voters.

Republican-controlled legislatures in Pennsylvania and around the country have actively pursued photo ID laws ahead of the 2012 presidential election in what supporters say is an attempt to stop voter fraud. [NBC Philadelphia, 3/15/12]

Since January 25, 14 Corporations And At Least 30 Pennsylvania Legislators Have Disassociated Themselves From ALEC.

14 Companies Have Severed Ties With ALEC Since January. According to Source Watch:

  • Coca-Cola Company: Gave a statement to the Washington Examiner on April 4th stating that it had "elected to discontinue its membership with the American Legislative Exchange Council"
  • Pepsi: Informed Color of Change in a letter dated January 25th that they would not renew their membership in ALEC in 2012.
  • Kraft: Announced in an email on April 6th that "Our membership in ALEC expires this spring and for a number of reasons...we have made the decision not to renew."
  • Intuit: Told the Center for Media and Democracy on April 6th that they did not renew their membership when it expired in 2011.
  • McDonald's: Initially defended its membership in ALEC, Announced on April 10th that they had made the decision to withdraw from ALEC at the end of March.
  • Wendy's: Sent an email to the Center for Media and Democracy on April 11th confirming that it is no longer a member of ALEC
  • Mars: Sent an email to Color of Change on April 12th, stating that they had ended their membership with ALEC
  • Arizona Public Service: Told the Arizona Capitol Times on April 12th that their membership expired that summer and they would not renew it.
  • Reed Elsevier: Told Reuters on April 12th that they had withdrawn "after considering the broad range of criticism being leveled at ALEC,"
  • American Traffic Solutions: Told the Arizona Capitol Times on April 13th that they would not renew their ALEC membership.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield: Announced on April 19th that it had not renewed its membership in February 2012.
  • YUM! Brands: Told Color of Change that they would not renew their membership on April 19th.
  • Procter & Gamble: Told Color of Change that it would not renew its membership on April 20th.
  • Kaplan: Wrote Republic Report on April 26th, 2012 to confirm that they were no longer a member of ALEC.

[SourceWatch.org, accessed 5/2/12, emphasis added for clarity]

At Least 30 Legislators From Pennsylvania Have "Publically Rejected Membership" In The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). According to Keystone Progress:

The following legislators publicly rejected membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Please thank them for standing up for the people of Pennsylvania. *Former ALEC member, no longer affiliated w/ALEC. [...]

  • Rep. Bear, John (R) H97
  • Rep. Brendan Boyle (D) H170
  • Rep. Brennan, Joseph (D) H133
  • Rep. Caltagirone, Tom (D) H127
  • Rep. Cohen, Mark (D) H202
  • Rep. Costa, Dom (D) H21
  • Rep. Daley, Peter (D) H49
  • Rep. Davis, Tina (D) H141
  • Rep. DePasquale, Eugene (D) H95
  • Rep. Fabrizio, Florindo (D) H2
  • Rep. Gerber, Michael (D) H148
  • Rep. Harkins, Patrick (D) H1
  • *Rep. Harper, Kate (R) H61
  • Rep. Hickernell, David (R) H98
  • Rep. Josephs, Babette (D) H182
  • *Rep. Major, Sandra (R) H111
  • Rep. Matzie, Robert (D) H16
  • *Rep. Mustio, Mark (R) H44
  • Rep. O'Brien, Michael (D) H175
  • Rep. Pashinski, Eddie Day (D) H121
  • Rep. Payton, Tony (D) H179
  • *Rep. Readshaw, Harry (D) H36
  • Sen. Brewster, James (D) S45
  • Sen. Dinniman, Andrew (D) S19
  • Sen. Erickson, Edwin (R) S26
  • Sen. Folmer, Mike (R) S48
  • Sen. Leach, Daylin (D) S17
  • *Sen. Pippy, John (R) S37
  • Sen. Schwank, Judith (D) S11
  • Sen. Washington, Leanna (D) S4

[Keystone Progress, accessed 5/2/12]

Five Pennsylvania Legislators Publically Announced In April That They Have Left Or Are Distancing Themselves From In ALEC. According to Source Watch:

  • Rep. Kate Harper (R-61) - Harper announced in April 2012 that she is no longer an ALEC member
  • Rep. Sandra Major (R-111) - Major announced in April 2012 that she does not plan to renew her ALEC membership
  • Rep. Mark Mustio (R-44) - Mustio announced in April 2012 that he is no longer an ALEC member
  • Rep. Harry Readshaw (D-36) - Readshaw claimed in April 2012 that he was never an ALEC member
  • Sen. John Pippy (R-37) - Pippy's staff announced in April 2012 that he is no longer an ALEC member

[SourceWatch.org, accessed 5/2/12]

Pennsylvania Newspapers Never Covered Legislator's Defections And Barely Covered Corporate Defections

The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Philadelphia Inquirer Has Not Mentioned ALEC in Conjunction With Legislators Or Companies Leaving The Organization. Since January 25, 2012 ALEC has not been mentioned in conjunction with Pennsylvania legislators or companies leaving the organization. [LexisNexis, 1/25/12 - 5/1/12]

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Pittsburg Post-Gazette Has Not Mentioned ALEC in Conjunction With Legislators Or Companies Leaving The Organization. Since January 25, 2012 ALEC has not been mentioned in conjunction with Pennsylvania legislators. One mention of companies leaving ALEC was found in a reprint of a Bloomberg News article published on April 24, 2012. [LexisNexis, 1/25/12 - 5/1/12]

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The Pittsburg Tribune-Review Has Not Mentioned ALEC in Conjunction With Legislators Or Companies Leaving The Organization. Since January 25, 2012 ALEC has not been mentioned in conjunction with Pennsylvania legislators or companies leaving the organization. [LexisNexis, 1/25/12 - 5/1/12]

Allentown Morning Call

The Allentown Morning Call Has Not Mentioned ALEC in Conjunction With Legislators Or Companies Leaving The Organization. Since January 25, 2012 ALEC has not been mentioned in conjunction with Pennsylvania legislators or companies leaving the organization. [LexisNexis, 1/25/12 - 5/1/12]

Harrisburg Patriot-News

The Harrisburg Patriot-News Has Not Mentioned ALEC in Conjunction With Legislators Or Companies Leaving The Organization. Since January 25, 2012 ALEC has not been mentioned in conjunction with Pennsylvania legislators or companies leaving the organization. [LexisNexis, 1/25/12 - 5/1/12]

SUMMARY/METHODOLOGY

The following is a record of mentions of ALEC in the pages of Pennsylvania's five largest newspapers (ranked by total circulation, based on numbers provided by the Audit Bureau of Circulations) since January 25, 2012 (based on a Nexis search using "ALEC" or "American Legislative Exchange Council") [Audit Bureau of Circulations, Accessed 5/2/12]

(NOTE: Wire service reports appearing in a newspaper are not always included in the Nexis database.)

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