What is Corporate Capture? We’re suing to stop it!
Corporate capture happens when private industry uses its political influence to take control of the decision-making apparatus of the state, such as regulatory agencies, law enforcement entities, and legislatures. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has become one of the most powerful, and lesser known platforms of its kind in U.S. politics today.
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Last month, the Center for Constitutional Rights Corporate Capture Project fought back in the Arizona Supreme Court – arguing that 26 state lawmakers are not above the law. This corporate capture lawsuit, which is a rare challenge to ALEC's enormous power in state houses across the country, argues that the closed-door deliberations and drafting of proposed laws amounted to secret decision-making by a public body, in violation of Arizona's Open Meeting Law.
"For six decades, Arizonans have relied on the Open Meeting Law to provide the essential rights of government transparency and accountability. ALEC shamelessly erodes those rights by facilitating secret, closed-door lobbying sessions, generating historically abhorrent legislation". – Angelo Guisado, Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Attorney
Throughout its history, ALEC has brought together state lawmakers, corporate leaders, conservative activists, and lobbyists to privately draft and promote model legislation that has disproportionately affected marginalized communities throughout the U.S. Our lawsuit, filed on behalf of the organizations Puente, Mijente, Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro, and the Arizona Palestine Solidarity Alliance, asks the court to make public all notes and materials from the meeting and to bar legislators from attending such meetings in the future.
"ALEC has a long history of playing a crucial role in the development of laws that have directly contributed to the further exploitation and degradation of Black and other marginalized communities. That is why Black Lives Matters Phoenix Metro is here to stand in unity with other valley groups who are directly affected by the types of laws that come from these corporate right-wing white supremacist political organizations." – Percy Christian of Black Lives Matters Phoenix Metro
Between 2010 and 2018, ALEC's model bills were introduced nearly 2,900 times, and more than 600 of them became law. Over the years, we have defended movements facing repressive laws that are affiliated with ALEC, such as animal rights activists targeted by Ag-Gag laws and water protectors that resist oil and gas infrastructure development. We continue to:
be involved in litigating to demand that ALEC no longer meet with lawmakers in private to draft legislation;
publish research into ALEC's activities; and
support communities affected by ALEC to connect with each other for joint advocacy efforts.
The Center for Constitutional Rights stands with social justice movements and communities under threat—fusing litigation, advocacy, and narrative shifting to dismantle systems of oppression regardless of the risk.