Progress Florida and the Center for Media and Democracy released a new report detailing how the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) uses supposedly independent front groups to get lawmakers to enact public policies designed to benefit ALEC’s corporate funders. In Florida, the two most prominent and influential of these groups are the James Madison Institute (JMI) and the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA).
Download the report: Lawmaking Under the Influence of Very Special Interests: Understanding the role of Florida “think tanks” in driving a Koch-fueled, ALEC-allied corporate agenda
“Our research shows how ALEC relies on conservative think tanks like JMI and FGA to insulate themselves against increased public scrutiny and widespread exposure of the controversial, corporate-driven policies they promote,” said Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo. “We’ve found that these organizations march in lockstep with ALEC’s anti-middle class agenda.” The report details how JMI and FGA falsely claim to be independent, local operators when in fact they are part of the State Policy Network, a national Koch-funded, ALEC-allied network of organizations. JMI, FGA and other State Policy Network member groups advocate for a national agenda driven by out-of-state corporate actors. Be it the economy, environment, education, workers’ rights or access to health care, State Policy Network member groups promote policies that are not only designed to fatten the bottom line of their corporate funders, but are consistently harmful to Florida. “Floridians need to know how these groups misrepresent themselves and their agenda, and how much influence they maintain over lawmakers,” said Ferrulo. “We will continue to shine a bright light on ALEC, front groups like JMI and FGA, and the lawmakers who are doing their dirty work rather than acting in the best interests of our state.”