Prodigal Son: Broke ALEC Asks Sponsors to Please Come Home

Abby Zimet

Even as the corporate lobbyists at ALEC meet in D.C. this week to hear from Cruz and Ryan and discuss how best to undermine democracy, The Guardian got its enterprising hands on internal documents charting ALEC's schemes, dreams and financial troubles. Since Trayvon Martin's impolitic death under Florida Stand-Your-Ground laws and the ensuing unpleasant publicity, ALEC has reportedly lost the support of almost 400 state legislators and over 60 corporations, resulting in a budget hole of over a third of its projected earnings. To make it up, ALEC wants to coax back corporate sponsors under a so-called Prodigal Son Project, in part by creating a sister group called the Jeffersonian Project that would help ALEC more smoothly avoid pesky legal and ethical challenges to its tax-exempt status - challenges increasingly raised when it does the kind of lobbying it's set up to do but which regardless it still swears it doesn't do. Explains a helpful letter from their lawyer Alan Dye, "Though we do not believe that any activity carried on by Alec is lobbying, the IRS could disagree."

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