Over the weekend, the Oregonian finally got around to reporting on the insidious influence of ALEC - the innocuously-named American Legislative Exchange Council. Despite sounding like a lovely little gathering of public-spirited legislators, it's actually a place where corporate lobbyists press the flesh with state legislators and they "work together" to spin up "model legislation" to be introduced back in the states.
Now, I'm not one who subscribes to the dark conspiracy theories about ALEC. The stuff that's right on the surface is bad enough. If legislators - left and right - want to exchange ideas between states, I'm all for it. But that the whole thing is underwritten by tobacco companies, oil companies, polluters, Wall Street banks, gun manufacturers, insurance companies, and more... and it's all considered a charitable activity, rather than lobbying, well that's what's so gross.
It certainly seems to me that the definition of lobbying should include anytime someone is being paid to talk to a legislator about legislation - whether it's happening in Salem, or at a conference center at some resort. I'd like to see some clarity about this from the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.
In any case, ALEC's Oregon co-chair shared with the Oregonian the list of the 22 Republicans that are members. It took a little public pressure, but the O's Michelle Cole has now revealed the list:
- Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day
- Sen. Larry George, R-Sherwood
- Sen. Fred Girod, R-Stayton
- Rep. Katie Eyre, R-Hillsboro
- Rep. Kevin Cameron, R-Salem
- Rep. Jason Conger, R-Bend
- Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford
- Rep. Tim Freeman, R-Roseburg
- Rep. Bruce Hanna, R-Roseburg
- Rep. Wally Hicks, R-Grants Pass
- Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles
- Rep. Mark Johnson, R-Hood River
- Rep. Bill Kennemer, R-Oregon City
- Rep. Shawn Lindsay, R-Hillsboro
- Rep. Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte
- Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point
- Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio
- Rep. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer
- Rep. Jim Thompson, R-Dallas
- Rep. Matt Wand, R-Troutdale
- Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver
- Rep. Matt Wingard, R-Wilsonville
I haven't really studied the list closely yet, but it strikes me that a healthy number are rookie legislators (along with leadership). And of course, it's mostly from the House. Any other patterns that occur to you?