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Rep. Buzz Brockway defends corporate-funded ALEC membership

Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Lawrenceville) isn’t a happy camper this week. Although the American Legislative Exchange Council is too toxic for Coca-Cola — and a growing list of companies — Rep. Brockway is standing tall as a defender of the group that operates in the shadows of our government.

On Wednesday, Rep. Brockway took to his blog at Peach Pundit to fume about a Twitter exchange with Executive Director Bryan Long the night before. The quick summary of Rep. Brockway’s blog post is that he bent the truth about that Twitter exchange. He told some whoppers when discussing Better Georgia. And he reached pants-on-fire level when he tried to defend ALEC.

I’m not going to spend any time correcting his careful editing and hand-picked selection of the Twitter exchange. (You can read the full exchange on Twitter — April 10 and 11 — to draw your own conclusions). And I won’t respond the ones about Better Georgia except to say he invented some scenes when discussing our Pee Cup Video. I assume he invented two scenes to make his colleagues look better. If Rep. Brockway wants to continue that fight, I will be glad to release the raw, unedited video. We have nothing to hide.

But we can’t let Rep. Brockway wrap an American flag around ALEC and cloak it in Buzz-words like “Jeffersonian principles.”

The American Legislative Exchange Council is a radical, right-wing group that operates in the shadows of government.

Until last year, few people outside of conservative political circles knew anything about the group. What we’ve discovered is that ALEC is a powerful group of corporations and lawmakers that sit at the table together to write our laws without our knowledge.

Last week, Coca-Cola announced that ALEC was too toxic for them and the company quit ALEC. Since then other companies have followed, including McDonald’s, Kraft, Inuit (which makes Quicken), Pepsi, the Gates Foundation and, yesterday, Wendy’s.

These companies were OK paying to run ALEC only as long as the public didn’t know about their involvement. It’s telling that these companies left ALEC once you, the American voter, caught on to the $7 million scam they are running.

But Rep. Brockway still hasn’t learned that lesson. He claims that ALEC provides an opportunity to network with other Legislators and share good ideas.

What Rep. Brockway doesn’t want you to know is that ALEC sends these same Legislators home with ghostwritten bills in their suit pockets. These cookie-cutter bills are often rushed through the General Assembly in the final days of the session. I would bet that Rep. Brockway doesn’t even know the full impact ALEC has on the Georgia Legislature and our state economy. He doesn’t know how many bills come out of the ALEC factory.

That’s part of the game. Deception and misdirection is the key to ALEC’s power.

ALEC is playing Rep. Brockway like a fiddle. These corporations give him free drinks and a chance to network with other lawmakers and he comes back to Lawrenceville feeling that ALEC is swell.

Jeffersonian principles! Good ideas! Free drinks!

What’s important for Georgia voters to understand is that ALEC doesn’t want you to know what they’re doing. They never label their legislation. In fact, ALEC goes to great lengths to cover their trail. (In Florida, ALEC recently slipped up for 24 hours).

Facts are difficult to come by when you talk about ALEC. Everything we know about ALEC has been pieced together from slivers of public documents.

The powerful, corporate-run organization operates in secret. We aren’t even sure we know every lawmaker who is a member but we’ve uncovered at least 56 Georgia lawmakers who are, including Rep. Brockway.

In Georgia there are three clear examples of ALEC bills becoming law. One is Sen. Cecil Staton’s push to require the extra burden of a photo ID to access a voting booth. Last year’s crackdown on immigrants is another example. And this year, Georgia became the first state to pass a ghostwritten bill from ALEC that helps some corporations get around minimum wage and overtime requirements.

There are many, many more.

But Rep. Brockway doesn’t seem to understand that his service in the General Assembly is a public duty. That public duty is put in jeopardy when he sits down with corporations to write our laws without our knowledge.

And that is precisely why the readers of his blog post on Peach Pundit turned against him and advised him to quit ALEC now.

And that is why Better Georgia is asking every lawmaker and candidate this year to make the same pledge as Coca-Cola and quit ALEC.

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