The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) - known by its critics as a "corporate bill mill" - has hit the ground running in 2013, pushing "models bills" mandating the teaching of climate change denial in public school systems.
January hasn't even ended, yet ALEC has already planted its "Environmental Literacy Improvement Act" - which mandates a "balanced" teaching of climate science in K-12 classrooms - in the state legislatures of Oklahoma, Colorado, and Arizona so far this year.
It appears nothing is going to stop ALEC and its Koch Brother founders from using every tool available to promote their own interests in extracting as much energy from the ground as cheaply as possible with the fewest regulations imposed on their free-market business model.
And Colorado Republicans are more than happy to go along:
Colorado's Same Day Affair
One sure sign of a coordinated, ALEC-lead effort is the fact that Colorado's state legislature introduced the ALEC model on the same day as did Oklahoma's. The two states, it's worth noting, share a border on Oklahoma's panhandle.
On Jan. 18, 2013, eight representatives and four senators introduced HB 13-1089, coining the bills the "Academic Freedom Acts."
Paralleling the language in the ALEC model and the Oklahoma bill, the HB 13-1089 aims to "Inform students about scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills," also recognizing that the teaching of the concept global warming "can cause controversy."
One of the senators co-sponsoring the bill, Rep. Scott Renfroe (R-13) is an ALEC dues-paying member. He's also attended at least one ALEC meeting paid for by Colorado taxpayers, according to the CMD's "Buying Influence" report.
Of the $91,000 dollars he raised for the 2012 election, over $5,000 of it came from the oil, gas and electric utilities industry, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
This includes taking money from Chesapeake Energy, Anadarko Petroleum, Williams Companies, and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.
In the final weeks of the campaign, as we reported earlier today, Secretary of State Scott Gessler has continued his controversial anti-fraud campaign by tracking down individuals he believes are illegally registered to vote, because they are immigrants. Gessler sent them letters to 300 people asking them to verify their citizenship -- and yesterday, we reached one legal citizen who got the letter and is not happy about it, in part because he himself has done advocacy work around voter participation.
Alan Kaplan, 35, has been a citizen since 2001. But since a database of the Department of Homeland Security has him listed as an immigrant, he is one of 441 registered voters in Colorado that Gessler's office believes are illegally registered and would therefore be committing fraud if they voted on November 6. The letters are part of a larger effort from Gessler's office to eliminate fraud, which includes crosschecks with a federal database that critics fear is unreliable.
Again, Sam only goes so far in his conclusions to the undeniable facts of the situation. It wasn't only "critics" who feared the database was unrealiable, it was the DHS itself that warned of problems with the data.
But Gessler continued on and, playing against type, decided to trust Obama's DHS and use the potentially invalid data to pursue his strategy of purging as many Democratic leaning voters from the rolls as possible.
Secretary of State Scott Gessler has a Republican agenda and is trying to prevent Latinos and new citizens from voting on election day. At least that's the charge from a group of left-leaning advocacy organizations working to get Hispanic voters to the polls in Colorado. Gessler's office, however, is pushing back against their criticisms, noting that his registration drive helped sign up more Democrats than Republicans.
But there was also a fair amount of dissent and anger surrounding the Republican Secretary of State, who has faced backlash in the months leading up to the election for his efforts to weed out illegal immigrant voters and prevent voter fraud.
The groups that regularly oppose Gessler often argue that his priorities are wrong and that he is spending too much time on a wild goose chase to find voter fraud, which they believe is very rare. Some say this concern is compounded by the fact that there is a certain level of incompetence and dysfunction in his office's basic elections operations.
(Some also say this is half-assed, "fair and balanced" reporting. - z)
Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper recently told us that he thinks Gessler may be intimidating voters, but that he probably means well and doesn't actually have partisan motives in his efforts.
Tower of Pudding Hickenlooper really takes a stand. Gessler is intimidating voters, and like his fellow Republican SoS in Ohio and Republican Fraudsters in Floridahe does not mean well and is highly partisan:
Not surprised. Another Republican, another Scott, another hypocrite:
Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) told his mistress to get an abortion for the sake of his marriage, despite his pro-life views, in a conversation obtained by the Huffington Post. Rep. DesJarlais, who supported the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" - a bill that included "forcible rape" language in one of its early drafts - demanded that his lover end her pregnancy, saying, "You told me you'd have an abortion, and now we're getting too far along without one."
First let me say plainly and clearly: Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler is corrupt. He meets all 4 primary definitions according to Merriam-Webster (both of whom must have been librul!)
cor·rup·tion noun kə-ˈrəp-shən\
Definition of CORRUPTION
a : impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle : depravity (Check!)
b : decay, decomposition ((Check!) c : inducement to wrong by improper or unlawful means (Check!) d : a departure from the original or from what is pure or correct (Check!)
"We have all hands on deck from our IT division," said Andrew Cole, a spokesman for Gessler.
On Monday, the site had 85,000 visits, Cole said, double the daily traffic a week ago and five times the daily number averaged in September.
I'm surprised Gessler didn't outsource IT to India or something...
Tuesday was the last day to register to vote for the Nov. 6 general election, and Democrats angrily complained the website had repeatedly crashed the past several days.
If we're using angry adjectives, let's add "corrupt" and "incompetent", eh, Post?
"For months, Secretary of State Gessler has been focused on diversions and purging lawful voters from the rolls instead of doing his job to ensure Coloradans have the opportunity to vote," said Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio.
Lazy, he said/she said reporting by the Post will be rightly criticized.
"Coloradans are potentially being disenfranchised in a historic election because he has not handled the most basic duties of his office."
"Incompetence by elected officials is no justification for denying citizens their right to vote."
Exactly correct. But Gessler's corrupt incompetence is his reason for being, his resume for the next step up the ladder in a dying political party. The Denver Post is giving him a pass because they want to seem impartial. What they don't get is that there is nothing impartial about corrupting Colorado's elections. Gessler's corruption has confused voters and tainted the process and will absolutely, not just "potentially", cause voters to stay home or be unable to vote.
Scott Gessler: Mission Accomplished! The next election has been thrown into question by your abject incompetence and plain-to-see corruption.
PORTLAND, Maine — Energy officials in Maine say a tidal power project is delivering electricity to the U.S. power grid for the first time.
Bangor Hydro Electric Co. operates the grid where the tidal power connects. It says Portland-based Ocean Renewable Power Co.’s first underwater turbine was delivering to the grid the first commercially produced tidal power on Thursday afternoon.
88% of challenged Colorado voters are U.S. citizens, check shows
At least 88 percent of the approximately 1,400 suspected noncitizens run through a federal database by the Colorado Secretary of State's office were determined to be U.S. citizens, and are therefore eligible to vote.
The office is looking further at the remaining roughly 168 people, but that list may also include people who are citizens, said Michael Hagihara of the state's elections division.
They'll say the other 12% could ruin our democracy and compromise our elections.
The truth is that these highly questionable actions by the Secretary of State (for all of Colorado's Voters, by they way) are what have compromised our elections and will cause citizens to hesitate in exercising their Constitutionally Ordained Right to Vote.
Mission Accomplished: Scott Gessler, Divisive Partisan and Corrupt Public Servant.
It seems that Mike Coffman of Colorado is doing his best to hand his congressional seat over to the Blue column, but for those not familiar with Mr Coffman, he is not just a dumb birther caught with a live microphone.
"At Issue: Forms used by Voter Registration Drives. They include a place for people to include their Driver's License Number, State ID Card Number or Social Security Number (only requires last 4 digits).
There is a box present which states "I do not have a Colorado Driver's license or Dept. of Revenue identification number" which people are supposed to mark if they are going to only give an SSN.
The Secretary of State has included in his Rules (dated July 2008) that any new voter who does not mark that box and only gives their SSN shall not be registered to vote. In mid-September he issued a memo to the County Clerks telling them specifically to not register anyone who does this."
This may be old news, and I'm no lawyer, but as the Church Lady would say, "how conveeeeeeeeeeeeenient" for the American Legislative Exchange Council:
[I]n at least three separate states, legislation was passed exempting ALEC from lobbying laws. Via Mother Jones:
It could take several years for the IRS to decide whether ALEC is indeed a lobbying group required to register and disclose how much it spends on influencing legislation. But in three states - South Carolina, Indiana, and Colorado - ALEC has quietly, and by name, been specifically exempted from rules for lobbyists.
(c) Section 2-3-311 (2), Colorado Revised Statutes, declares that the council of state governments, the national conference of state legislatures, the energy council, and the American legislative exchange council are each a joint governmental agency to which the general assembly or its members may subscribe and for which membership fees or certain meeting expenses may be paid from legislative appropriations;
Is the lack of proper name capitalization a legislative trick or a normal way of writing and enacting legislation? Is ALEC's claim to be a non-profit organization at odds with its lobbying activities?
The former chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council's recently disbanded Elections and Public Safety Task Force said most of the committee's work on voting and gun issues probably will not continue elsewhere within ALEC, but said some could be pursued if they have ties to economic issues.
"The criminal justice area has been one where we have had consensus in doing the kinds of things we're doing with justice re-investment and with the things like our smart on crime initiatives and those things I hope don't get damaged by these actions going on now to break up what we've been able to put together," said Republican Texas State Rep. Jerry Madden, former chair of the committee.
The National Rifle Association, a longtime member of and donor to ALEC, reportedly objected to the change.
During the previous week at least 10 companies left the organization following Color of Change's campaign that encouraged corporations to cut ties with ALEC due to its promotion of such laws.
We could sweep away decades of debris, buy out the trailer parks, junkyards and slaughterhouses that line the creek, and create a linear park from Manitou to America the Beautiful Park. We could have a streetcar system and rebuild parts of downtown to attract those young adults moving to Colorado - but it would cost a lot of money.
Yesterday, ColorOfChange announced a new action, asking its members to call Coca Cola and ask them to end their membership in, and financial support of, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) over it's role in pushing voter suppression legislation across the country.
Five hours later, Coca Cola did just that, joining PepsiCo, which announced it was leaving the organization back in January.
"The clear and simple message was that you can't come for black folks' money by day and try to take away our vote by night," said Rashad Robinson, director of ColorOfChange.
PepsiCo, another soft drink giant, belonged to ALEC for 10 years. In January, a company vice president told ColorOfChange that it wouldn't renew for 2012. [...]
Progressive groups and shareholder activists want to drive a wedge between ALEC and its corporate members.
"There was no real downside because there was no public accountability. There was no transparency," said Doug Clopp, deputy director of programs with Common Cause. "Everything up until now had been done behind closed doors, and these memberships were not known to the American people."
"Colorado's Republican Leader, Secretary of State Scott Gessler, has once again prioritized his partisan agenda above the rights of Coloradans to vote. If Scott Gessler is unwilling to fulfill his duties as a non-partisan election officer, the people of Colorado should consider all avenues necessary to remove him as Secretary of State."
"I really have no idea what he is talking about," Republican Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner told the Colorado Independent.
Reiner was referring to allegations made again recently by Secretary of State Scott Gessler that non-citizens are registered to vote in the state. Reiner said she has asked Gessler in the past to share what he knows so that she and the other clerks in the state can address any potential problem. She said that, in roughly the year that has passed since he first brought up the issue, details from Gessler's office have not materialized.
"I asked for the lists when I first heard about this. I haven't gotten any information. I just don't know," she said.
Gessler doesn't know what he's talking about, either. Mike Rosen, siding with Gessler and clinging to the wrong side of history, insists there is a problem and recently used the Post to expound:
There's no valid reason not to protect the integrity of our voting process with an inexpensive, basic technology like a photo ID. And contrary to the hollow, contrived, self-serving objections of the deniers, there's no reasonable downside.
"A government that undermines the very foundation of its existence - the people's inherent, pre-constitutional right to vote - imperils its legitimacy as a government by the people, for the people, and especially of the people."
There is a downside, and it is not reasonable. These photo ID laws have and will disenfranchise soldiers, the elderly, recent immigrants, the poor and others. To an almost non-existent problem Republican Legislators and voting officials continue to propose this onerous fix. Rabid partisans like Rosen amplify their lies. But when those who administer elections at the local level, even Republicans, see no problem, then we know that those like Gessler and "Mouthpiece" Mike Rosen should move on, and let everyone who wants to vote legally vote.
We might even get a competent Secretary of State out of the deal.
Every time Secretary of State Scott Gessler alleges outright voter fraud in Colorado, I think to myself, this has to be the last time he says this, unless he produces evidence to back it up.
And then he says it again, like he did on KLZ's Grassroots Radio Colorado Monday:
We're continuing to do the analysis on the issue of noncitizens not voting here, or I'm sorry, noncitizens being on the voting rolls here in Colorado, and some of them voting. We did a study last year, and we're going to do some more analysis and come up with more evidence to show people that there, in fact, are problems here in Colorado with that and, again, hopefully we can get folks, particularly Senate Democrats... [BigMedia emphasis]
Just because Gessler has alleged actual, real, not-theoretical, election fraud before, without showing proof of it, doesn't mean it's any less serious an accusation when he says it again.
Sorry to repeat the obvious, but this is from the mouth of Colorado's Secretary of State!!
You're excused for the exclamation, Jason, because the fact that Colorado's Secretary of State continues to lie on a regular basis does deserve to be highlighted.
No one expects right-wing radio to fact check a right-wing guest. And most big media in Colorado prefer to "report" on their star news reader and her idiotic attempt to be friends with a stressed-out Argentinian Mastiff, or Governor Hick's idiotic attempts at being funny or shilling for Big Energy.
The corrosive affect of an elected official being allowed to lie, or, to be generous when I probably shouldn't, being allowed to allege voter fraud without showing proof, should be obvious to everyone. Colorado's Senate Democrats have attempted to push back on the lies. But by ignoring Secretary of State Gessler, big media enables further corrosion in the electoral process - which is the exact goal of the likes of Gessler, ALEC, and Republican Secretaries of State around the country.
It's a win-win for Gessler, a lose-lose for democracy, and something that requires plenty of exclamation points by those who do care about the election fraud and voter suppression being committed by Republicans who propose a solution to a problem that does not exist: unprosecuted voter fraud.