Iowa Democratic leaders challenge ALEC membership claims

Iowa House Minority Leader Mark Smith and Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal both issued statements yesterday challenging a document that listed all 150 members of the Iowa legislature as members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The group lobbies for conservative and pro-corporate policies in state legislatures around the country, often submitting model legislation that lawmakers propose on their behalf.

In an open letter to ALEC’s executive director, Smith said none of the 47 Iowa House Democrats have applied to ALEC for membership or paid dues. He questioned “why ALEC would accept payment of dues on behalf of legislators who clearly want no part of your organization,” adding that it “likely” violates Iowa ethics law for “a corporation or other entity” to pay dues to ALEC on behalf of lawmakers. I’ve posted the full text of Smith’s letter below.

Gronstal’s statement, which is at the bottom of this post, describes ALEC’s claims as “deceptive and deceitful,” since none of the 26 Iowa Senate Democrats is a member of the organization.

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Iowa House Democrat Brian Quirk cancels ALEC membership

State Representative Brian Quirk announced today that he is no longer a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which lobbies for a wide range of conservative and corporate-friendly policies in state legislatures. Up to now, Quirk had been the only ALEC member among the 40 Democrats in the Iowa House.

Follow me after the jump for background and details on Quirk’s decision, as well as recent comments about ALEC by former Iowa House Democrat Dolores Mertz.

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