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A Stealth Way a Bill Becomes a Law

With help from a quiet D.C. outfit, corporations pen GOP legislation

Kim Thatcher, a Republican state representative in Oregon, introduced a sharply worded anti-cap-and-trade bill this year that said, “There has been no credible economic analysis of the costs associated with carbon mandates.” Apparently, that view is widely shared. Legislation with that exact language has been introduced in dozens of states, including Montana, New Hampshire, and New Mexico.

It’s not plagiarism. It’s a strategy. The bills weren’t penned by Thatcher or her fellow legislators in Helena, Concord, and Santa Fe. They were written by a little-known group in Washington with outsize clout, the American Legislative Exchange Council. Corporate benefactors such as Koch Industries and ExxonMobil help fund ALEC with membership dues and pay extra for a seat at the legislative drafting table.