Special interest groups from Utah and other states gathered Thursday to voice their concerns over the corporate-lobbyist group, ALEC. The American Legislative Exchange Council is currently hosting their 39th annual conference in Salt Lake City through Saturday.
The League of Women Voters, HEAL Utah and the Alliance for a Better Utah were just a few of the groups attending the “ALEC Exposed” events. Transparency in ALEC was the main concerns of the organizations. Jenn Gonnelly, co-legislative director for Utah’s League of Women Voters, says transparency is key to having the same type of access to legislators as ALEC.
“This is about every person having a vote," Gonnelly says. "It is extraordinary access these corporations have to the legislators. I don’t have that sort of access.”
On Wednesday, ALEC ranked Utah as #1 for economic outlook as part of its Rich States, Poor States economic competitive index. Royce van Tassell, vice president of the Utah Taxpayers Association, said legislators are attracted to ALEC because of its principles in limited government, personal responsibility and the free market.
“It adds the data to the principles and that’s why I think so many state legislators are attracted," van Tassell said. "Not only is it rhetoric, the data also backs up the principles in what works in the real world.”
General Motors and Walgreens are the most recent corporations to terminate their relationship with ALEC on Thursday.