As Jefferson City politicians head off to ALEC's 2015 Junket in San Diego, we can't help but wonder who is picking up the tab.
Members of the Missouri legislature are traveling to San Diego this week to attend the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a national corporate lobbying group which pushes policies such as so-called 'right-to-work' laws among many other corporate interest issues. The conference will take place at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, which describes itself as “the largest urban waterfront resort on the West Coast.”
A standard room goes for $360 a night.
At ALEC’s meeting, elected politicians and corporate members will meet behind closed doors to craft model bills, which often benefit the funding corporations’ interests and bottom lines. ALEC’s corporate members have invested millions in “scholarships” to cover air fares, hotel rooms and other travel expenses for legislators to attend conferences such as this.
Sen. Ed Emery and Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, ALEC’s state chairs in Missouri, should disclose the following:
- Which state legislators will be attending the ALEC junket?
- Which corporations and private interests are paying for legislators’ travel, food and drinks?
- And who is financing special events for the Missouri delegation, including the ‘Missouri Night’ meeting at Edgewater Grill, organized in part by Rex Sinquefield lobbyist Deanna Hemphill?
ALEC corporate members who will likely be attending the event include Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil, AT&T, Pfizer, Comcast, Verizon, Altria, Duke Energy, Anheuser-Busch, UPS, and State Farm Insurance. Speakers at this week’s conference include Rex Sinquefield’s top lobbyist, Travis Brown. Sinquefield has been a “six figure” sponsor of ALEC junkets in the past.
More on ALEC's outsized interest in Jefferson City can be found here.