The American Legislative Research Council is celebrating 40 years of protecting profits from democracy this week in Chicago. ALEC will host hundreds of members of the legislatures they have co-opted to further instill in them the values of crony capitalism.
South Dakota legislators wishing to drink more of the corporate Kool-Aid will have the pleasure of attending ALEC's Chicago bash on our tab. Recall that South Dakota Republicans decided this spring to use your tax dollars to pay for their ALEC dues and travel expenses. That odious decision drew due fire from sensible Republicans and voters (whose memories I hope are long!), but the GOP leadership did not change this policy.
For further irony, put it this way: South Dakota does ALEC's anti-union bidding by imposing "right-to-work" policies that prohibit employers from forcing employees to pay union dues. But South Dakota's ALEC legislators who are your employees can force you to pay their ALEC dues.
So keep an eye out around town. If you don't see your legislator from August 7 to August 9, he or she may be off in Chicago, partying and plotting plutocracy on your dime.
Related: ALEC also supports suppressing wages and weakening support for public schools with shoddy research. And you wonder why ALEC likes South Dakota legislators?
Update 12:58 CDT: I come in for lunch and find a reply from the Legislative Research Council to my morning e-mail query about ALEC reimbursements. "To date, no legislator has asked for not received a reimbursement for dues paid to ALEC," says LRC director Jim Fry. "The same is true for requested reimbursements for ALEC related travel." If any of our legislators are traveling to this week's ALEC meeting in Chicago, their reimbursement requests would be filed later. But so far, the ruckus many South Dakotans raised this spring appears to be scaring legislators away from transferring our tax dollars to ALEC.