Those who have been blessed with far more than they could ever need want more! The insidious brain child that the ultra-rich have dreamed up, developed, financed and directly control for this purpose is known as A.L.E.C. (American Legislative Exchange Council). They are aided in this effort by their bought and paid for conservative believers.

ALEC is not a lobby or a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through the secretive meetings of ALEC, corporate lobbyists and state legislators vote as equals on "model bills" to change our rights, and with few exceptions, benefit the corporations’ bottom line at our expense. ALEC is a pay-to-play operation. Corporations buy a seat and a vote on "task forces" to advance their legislative wish lists. In this way, they can get a tax break for donations, effectively passing these lobbying costs on to taxpayers.

Almost 98 percent of ALEC's funding comes from corporations like Exxon Mobil, the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, pharmaceutical industry's PhRMA and other conservatives who have been groomed to follow corporate orders. Those funds help subsidize legislators' trips to ALEC meetings, where they are wined, dined, and handed "model" legislation to make law in their state. Through ALEC, corporations vote on "model" legislation with politicians behind closed doors to advance their financial interests. They rewrite state laws that govern their corporate rights. These laws reach into almost every area of American life and directly benefit huge corporations at the direct expense of American citizens, rural townships, farmers and small local businesses.

Most elected Republican office holders are linked with ALEC in one way or another. Scott Walker and Leah Vukmir (past ALEC treasurer and currently on the board of directors) are members, as are many other conservative state office holders who are directly influenced by these corporate welfare recipients.

It is time for a positive change! We need public servants who represent their citizenry and not the greedy corporations of the world. Our remaining freedoms and financial well-being are at stake. This Nov. 6 election will be even more consequential than the last. Either we get it right or we accelerate our decline into a government that is owned by the wealthy and those conservatives who serve their corporate masters. Vote!

Lee Van Landuyt, Hillsboro

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