The Mitchell Daily Republic gives Rep. Hal Wick 783 words to tell South Dakotans that the American Legislative Exchange Council is not partisan.

No. No no no. Even the conservative press acknowledges the obvious: the concerted, widespread opposition to ALEC mounted by "liberal-left/progressive sources" proves that ALEC is all about conservative partisanship.

Rep. Wick asserts that South Dakota Democrats have been active in ALEC; therefore, ALEC is not partisan. Baloney. ALEC promotes a very specific pro-corporate agenda. Democrats slip and fall for the big-money agenda, but Democrats like Rick Weiland and me are most outspoken about the improper influence of big money in politics, and Republicans like Wick and Mike Rounds are most instrumental in defending that influence.

Rep. Wick also plays with numbers:

Readers should also consider how much of their money is spent on membership to the various legislative organizations. For all 105 South Dakota lawmakers to be members of ALEC, the state would pay $10,500 for a two-year membership, but the legislators who belong purchase their own memberships. The state currently pays the National Conference of State Legislatures more than $112,000 and the Council of State Governments nearly $95,000 for all lawmakers for only one year. Membership in ALEC is cheap in comparison.

This paper, having balked at $42,500 for travel to ALEC meetings, should at least appreciate the much smaller price tag for ALEC membership. Travel reimbursement may be higher for ALEC, but that's because more legislators find value in those meetings and policy proposals for a better South Dakota [Rep. Hal Wick, "ALEC Ideas Are Not Partisan," Mitchell Daily Republic, 2014.05.31].

Let's translate that argument: because he can get more conservative legislators to help him gobble up the Legislative travel budget, that gobbling must prove that ALEC's propaganda indoctrination is as non-partisan as the activities of other genuinely non-partisan legislative organizations.

Again, baloney. Rep. Wick, Rep. Betty Olson, Rep. Jenna Haggar, and the other conservatives in Pierre go to ALEC because it confirms their worldview and campaign slogans. When they go to genuinely non-partisan meetings, they encounter more challenges to their worldview. Challenges feel like partisan attacks; therefore, NCSL and CSG must be partisan. It's the same thinking that convinces folks like Wick and Gordon Howie that objective journalists are really liberals: balanced reporting often conflicts with our conservative ideology, so let's all watch Fox News and call it fair and balanced!

For those trying to silence discussion, I have a message: come be a part of it. Bring your ideas, but leave the attacks at home. At ALEC, we only want the best ideas from everyone, because our constituents, our states and our country deserve it [Wick, 2014.05.30].

See? Rep. Wick goes to ALEC to get away from "attacks" on his worldview and only hear the "best" ideas. That's why Rep. Wick has gone to ALEC meetings since 1977: to insulate himself from counterideas and arm himself to defend his partisan agenda.