Law and Disorder Radio

Archives for May, 2012

Law and Disorder May 28, 2012


  • Chris Hedges – NDAA
  • Grant Of Review In The Supreme Court On Warrantless Wiretapping ACLU Case
  • CCR Bradley Manning Case Update
  • Palestinian Prisoner Hunger Strike Update

Police Entrapment of the NATO 3

Last week, as many listeners may know, more than 100 protesters were arrested at the NATO summit in Chicago. Five activists were charged with terror related crimes, two were accused of attempted possession of explosives, 3 were accused of conspiracy to commit terrorism, material support for terrorism and possession of explosives.  Sarah Gelsomino, with the People’s Law Office says three of these activists were set up by government informants who had planted the explosives.

Attorney Sarah Gelsomino:

  • The National Lawyers Guild of Chicago learned that at 11:30 at night, a home in the Bridgeport area of Chicago had been raided by the Chicago Police Department.
  • People were concerned because several people had gone missing, and we couldn’t find them.
  • This raid was completely unprofessional from the beginning.
  • Three other apartment units were just neighbors. Police removed them from their apartment, detained them, interrogated them, and then without consent or a warrant, went in and searched their home.
  • The city refused to acknowledge that they had them in custody (their clients) that they had any arrests and also refused to acknowledge that that had a raid in that neighborhood.
  • Over the next day or so, 6 of the 9 were released without any charges, after being held for over 30 hours. A good part of that time shackled at their feet and hand cuffed to a wall.
  • There 2 additional people that were also arrested, and those are the 2 people that haven’t been seen since they were arrested in the raid and who we now believe were working for the police department as a part of this investigation.
  • We believe they infiltrated Occupy Chicago a month ago.
  • As a criminal defense attorney, we have a duty to vigorously defend our client.
  • Members of Occupy Chicago have been coming forward very concerned about the 2 people who had been working for the police department – passing information to the police department.
  • The state’s case will never be as strong as it is right now, when they have not yet come forward with any evidence whatsoever, all they’ve made is allegations that have yet to be substantiated.
  • People are very afraid, particularly people in the occupy movement because they now feel so violated.
  • It is an alarming pattern that states are turning to terrorism charges in these types of cases.

Guest – Sarah Gelsomino joined People’s Law Office in the Fall of 2008. She concentrates her practice on police misconduct, wrongful conviction, representation of political activists and criminal defense cases. During law school, Sarah clerked with the Cook County Public Defenders’ Office and was the recipient of various awards, including the Sonnenschein Scholar Award which funded Sarah’s pro-bono public interest work. She is a current board member of the Chicago chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and is the co-founder of the NLG Chicago Next Gen Committee. Sarah also sits on the Advisory Board of the Irwin W. Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning at DePaul University.



Lawyers You’ll Like: Anne O’Berry

As part of our Lawyers You’ll Like series we’re joined by attorney Anne O’Berry, she’s the Vice President of the Southern Region of the National Lawyers Guild and the author of The Law Only As An Enemy:  The Legitimization of Racial Powerlessness Through the Colonial and Antebellum Criminal Laws of Virginia. While in law school, she served as Director of the Women in Prison Project at Rikers Island, where she taught incarcerated women how to prevent termination of their parental rights.

Anne clerked for federal judges in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, with whom she co-authored an article on the law as a tool of oppression against slaves and free blacks in pre-Civil War Virginia and taught civil rights and South African apartheid law at the University of Pennsylvania.  She later taught Race and the Law at St. Thomas University Law School in Miami, Florida.

In the last 12 years, Anne has served as counsel at a Florida law firm that specializes in class action litigation, particularly in the areas of securities, consumer and economic fraud, as well as some environmental and privacy rights litigation.

Attorney Anne O’Berry:

  • We did a lot of historical research in terms of racism and the law back in pre-civil war Virginia.
  • We focused on Virginia because it was a paradigm for slavery basically in the slave laws that were in place.
  • We wrote an article for publication, it was published in the University of North Carolina law review. The Law Only As An Enemy:’ The Legitimization of Racial Powerlessness Through the Colonial and Antebellum Criminal Laws of Virginia.
  • Depending on your status, if you were a free white person or a slave, you were treated differently by the law.
  • As an overall theme, depending on the race of the victim was that would effect what your sentence would be.
  • For example, if a black woman was raped, that was not considered a crime.  If you were a black person and you stole something, you would be put to death.
  • It was ironic for the slave owner because if their slave was put to death, they would have to be compensated by the state.
  • If the victim was black, the crime was treated less seriously than if the victim was white.
  • I started out working at a firm in New York, a large prominent, Wall Street type.
  • Among some people I was known as the pro-bono queen.
  • I was there for 2 and a half years and the first pro-bono case was a death penalty case.
  • The court ruled back then (1990s) that it was ok to execute the mentally retarded.
  • I was so moved by that experience that I gave up my cushy job in New York and go do death penalty work full time.
  • I ended up at the Federal Resource Center doing death penalty work in Tallahassee Florida.
  • I worked for the Battered Women’s Clemency Project in Florida.
  • More recently the Supreme Court did rule that it is unconstitutional to execute people who were juveniles at the time of the offense and unconstitutional to execute people who are mentally retarded.
  • I believe in my lifetime we will see the end of the death penalty in this country.
  • It’s just an amazing system that we have where the courts will say – yes you’ve got compelling evidence of innocence but we’re not going to hear your case.
  • I would say what got me through was the victories.
  • Presently,  I’m working with an attorney Jim Green, who’s a prominent civil rights attorney in West Palm Beach,  kind of a legend down here.
  • I also some volunteer work with El Sol. It’s a day laborer center in Jupiter, Florida.

Guest – Anne O’Berry, National Lawyers Guild’s Regional Vice President for the Southern Region and a member of the Guild’s South Florida chapter.  She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983 and her law degree from New York University Law School in 1986.  While in law school, she served as Director of the Women in Prison Project at Rikers Island, where she taught incarcerated women how to prevent termination of their parental rights.  She was a member of the law school’s civil rights clinic and an editor on one of the law school’s journals, and authored a law review article on prisoners’ rights.  During and after law school, she clerked for federal judges in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, with whom she co-authored an article on the law as a tool of oppression against slaves and free blacks in pre-Civil War Virginia and taught civil rights and South African apartheid law at the University of Pennsylvania.  She later taught Race and the Law at St. Thomas University Law School in Miami, Florida.

Law and Disorder May 21, 2012


  • Federal Appeals Court Revives Lawsuit Brought By Two Iraqi Detainees
  • Palestinian Prisoner Hunger Strike Update


ACLU of Georgia to Release Report on Immigration Detention in Georgia

A report released by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Georgia exposes the privatized corporate  immigrant detention facilities in that state. The report contains interviews from more than 60 individuals detained inside four different detention centers.

Guest – Azadeh Shahshahani, the National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the Georgia ACLU.



HIV Specific Criminal Laws

We talk today about HIV-specific criminal laws and sentence enhancement.  HIV criminal prosecution of occurs when an HIV-positive individual does not disclose their HIV status to a partner before engaging in sex.  The person charged may face decades in prison, life time registration as a sex offender and stigmatization.  While there have been hundreds of prosecutions for HIV crimes in the United States, disclosure and consent is a defense but is difficult to prove and actual transmission of HIV is unnecessary.

Sean Strub:

  • About 35 states and territories have HIV specific statutes that only apply to people with HIV that mandate disclosure of their HIV status prior to engaging in intimate contact with another person, independent of whether there is any risk present, independent of whether there is any harm incurred and independent of any intent.
  • The statutes have created a viral underclass that is pretty concerning. Right now there’s an explosion of laws based on people’s viral status.
  • The vast majority of the prosecutions do not involve the transmission of the virus.
  • There are also a number of HIV prosecutions that fall within the phenomenon we call HIV criminalization that aren’t about sex but are heightened charges for other behaviors.
  • Willie Campbell in Texas is serving 35 years for spitting on a cop because the court found his saliva to be a deadly weapon even though saliva doesn’t transmit HIV.
  • We’ve been alerting people to the fact that this horrific public health policy, that increasingly you hear, take the test, risk arrest.
  • The best defense (under the current laws) for not getting prosecuted for HIV criminalization is not getting tested.  Not knowing your status in the first place.
  • A man in Iowa just had a 50 year sentence upheld. These forms are driving the criminalization specifically as well as contributing to the stigmatization that makes people reluctant to get tested, reluctant to disclose.
  • These states that HIV specific statutes, they don’t have specific statutes for hepatitis or HPV. Four thousand women last died from cervical cancer, almost every single one of them got it from Human Papilla Virus.  HPV – genital warts.
  • But we’re not out prosecuting people for HPV.
  • The answer is obvious those sexually transmitted diseases aren’t associated with an outlaw sexuality.  They’re not associated with people of color or gay men, with anal intercourse or people who use drugs.
  • Poz Magazine The SERO Project

Guest – Sean Strub, writer and activist who founded several magazines and websites, including POZ magazine and POZ en Español, (for people impacted by HIV/AIDS), Mamm (for women impacted by breast cancer), He is the founder of the SERO project to help oppose the use of HIV specific criminal laws.



Lawyers You’ll Like: Attorney Daniel Gross – Focus On the Food Chain Victory

Victories continue for Brandworkers a non-profit organization protecting and advancing the rights of retail and food employees. Last fall we talked with Attorney Daniel Gross, Executive Director of Brandworkers about the 470 thousand dollar settlement reached in a labor dispute with Pur Pac, a food distribution warehouse giant that illegally withheld wages from their workers. Today we discuss the latest victory in another settlement recovering nearly 600 thousand dollars in unpaid wages and compensation for workers at Flaum Appetizing. According to Daniel Gross, the Latino workers there were subjected to constant verbal harassment and forced to work at unsafe speeds.

Attorney Daniel Gross:

  • New York City economy has a burgeoning food processing and distributing sector.  There are 35 thousand workers, the vast majority are immigrant workers of color.
  • The vast majority depend on this sector for their livelihood.
  • The business model is simple. It’s exploiting recent immigrant workers of color through wage theft, through reckless disregard of health and safety and egregious discrimination of workers from Latin America, China, Haiti, Nepal.
  • Flaum Appetizing , regrettably but not surprisingly really fit the mold. Flaum is a hummus manufacturer and distributor of kosher food products based in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
  • It starts the sector of the food corridor of food manufacturing and sweatshops.
  • Flaum Appetizing  engaged in a tremendous amount of wage theft, a failure to pay overtime and in some cases, minimum wage.
  • Millions and millions of dollars of real wealth had been illegally withheld from workers.
  • There was offensive and insulting discrimination against Latino workers including Latino workers being called cockroaches and aliens.
  • The Flaum Appetizing workers approached me in 2010 with some hope and energy because they had seen the victories of our members at the Wild Edibles Seafood had won.
  • The workers through incredibly persistent grassroots energy persuaded over 120 of the best most prominent grocery stores in New York to stop selling Flaum products including their Sunny and Joe’s Hummus until workers’ rights were respected.
  • Our commitment with Brandworkers, if fight to win. When we engage with an adversary, they should know if we have to, we will chase them to the gates of hell and back.
  • Almost all of our members in the Flaum campaign are raising young children.
  • There were two components we were able to bring home which was really a hard fought struggle.
  • One was our members were proud to report they recovered 577 thousand dollars in wealth that will help them transform their families lives both here and in their home countries, Mexico and El Salvador.
  • They also one a binding code of conduct which will force  Flaum Appetizing into full compliance of workplace protections.
  • Our model is the labor movement of the late 19th century. Unions like Local 8, the great IWW on the Philadelphia docks that used worker direct action and everyday solidarity.
  • Unions and worker centers and community groups are going to converge at the New School on June 6, 2012.  Food Justice Movement  Food Chain Workers
  • I owe my politicization to a company that’s now bankrupt. That was Borders Books and Music.
  • I come out of working in retail and fast food and Starbucks as you mentioned.
  • My grandfather was a member of the teamsters union. He drove a liquor truck out of the Bronx. So I knew in the back of my mind he was able to live the last years of his life as amazing grandfather with dignity because he had his union pension.
  • Fighting Starbucks honed my skills because they are such a sophisticated and determined adversary.
  • The evil brilliance of the Starbucks union busting operation.
  • I had the unique pleasure which I will remember all my life to be represented by Leonard Weinglass.

Guest – Attorney Daniel Gross, Executive Director of Brandworkers, a non-profit organization protecting and advancing the rights of retail and food employees.


Law and Disorder May 12, 2012



Scapegoat: The Chino Hills Murders and The Framing of Kevin Cooper

Scapegoat: The Chino Hills Murders and The Framing of Kevin Cooper is the title of Patrick O’Connor’s new book. This is an important document chronicling Kevin Cooper’s  controversial conviction and death sentence in 1985.  When O’Connor committed to writing the book, he poured over thousands of case documents from trial transcripts, grisly autopsy photos, appeals and judicial rulings. He then began interviewing those involved in the trial and appeals. The picture began to take shape, a familiar one. The prosecution and the police withheld and destroyed evidence that would have exonerated Kevin Cooper from the brutal murders of the Ryen Family and their guest.

J. Patrick O’Connor:

  • In 2008, the Mumia book that I wrote was coming out and I was in the San Francisco Bay area with (attorney) Jeff Mackler of the Mobilization to Free Mumia.
  • We had about 15 venues that we went to all over the bay area. Invariably, supporters of Kevin Cooper would come to these events and afterwards would take me aside and say you got to write a book about Kevin Cooper.
  • His case is a lot different than Mumia’s but there are a lot of similarities.
  • Once I started reading the transcripts of this trial, I could see there were a lot of things wrong with this case.
  • It took me about 2 and half years from the start to the publication of the book.
  • There was a terrible, in Chino Hills, this is Arabian horse country. This family named the Ryens, they live on a hilltop house with a very big spread, about 15 Arabians. San Bernadino-45 miles east of Los Angeles.
  • In this area, most of the people were either raising horses or grazing cattle. This family was a mom and dad and they were both chiropractors. 41 year old chiropractors, and they had a 10 year old daughter named Jessica and an 8 and a half year old son named Josh.
  • A friend of Josh’s 11 year old Christopher Hughs, spent the night.
  • Around midnight that night, the home was breached. The master bedroom. The family was assaulted with an axe, or a hatchet, I think 2 knives, and an ice pick.
  • It was an incredible fight, these people didn’t stand in line and say I’m next.
  • The father Doug was 6’1″ 190lbs, a former Marine, an MP in the Marines and could take care of himself. The mother 5’8″ very strong, she was the one that could train the horses, these enormous horses that she could control.
  • Both of them kept loaded weapons in the bedroom. The idea that one perpetrator could use 4 weapons to perpetrate this attack is kind of fecitious on its face.
  • What put Kevin Cooper in the crosshairs is 3 miles from Chino Hills is Chino which is home to the California Institute for Men, where every felon in Southern California is sent for classification.
  • Cooper was sent there for 2 burglaries in LA. Escapes and holes up in Chino Hills for the next 2 days, in a house located 125 yards from the Ryen’s house.
  • Josh who had survived, told the deputy sheriff through a hand squeeze method that it was 3 white men.  They put out APBs for 3 white guys.
  • When they discern Kevin Cooper’s prints are all over that hide out house, they discard that information and start planning evidence that would implicate Cooper and making big lies about stuff that would implicate him.
  • He would have been the only African-American in the community.
  • They contaminated the crime scene, there are 2 bathrooms in this house, the cops used one of the bathrooms that had blood in the sink.
  • They don’t type the blood properly, they put blood from all different parts of the room in the same bag.
  • So, there’s no way to track the motions of who died, what was the order of death?
  • They took the walls out, they carted out all the furniture, put it on the front yard. Then they moved it to a warehouse where the air conditioner broke. It went to 120 degrees, they lose all the blood evidence in the warehouse.
  • The night of the murders, Cooper left after 9pm to hitchhike to Mexico. Cooper sees his mugshot on TV, he goes on the lamb.  Cooper is got and convicted, he gets the gas chamber.
  • He came with 3 hours and 45 minutes of being executed because of a moratorium. Kevin Cooper is fifth in line, this moratorium will end in 2013.
  • They had to have the complicity of numerous people inside the sheriff’s department and a very willing DA’s office to perpetrate this fraud on Cooper.

Guest – J.Patrick O’Connor, editor of and the author of The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal (2008). He has previously worked as a reporter for UPI, editor of Cincinnati Magazine, associate editor of TV Guide, and editor and publisher of the Kansas City New Times.



Homeland Security Documents Show Massive Nationwide Monitoring of Occupy Movement

Last month we gave Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Carl Messinio of the Partnership for Civil Justice the Law and Disorder Tip Of The Hat Award for creative use of FOIA.  The documents obtained by the Department of Homeland Security show a massive nationwide monitoring, surveillance and information sharing between DHS and local authorities.  But its only the tip of the iceberg. The documents are heavily redacted and don’t show the full scale of coordination. “These documents show not only intense government monitoring and coordination in response to the Occupy Movement, but reveal a glimpse into the interior of a vast, tentacled, national intelligence and domestic spying network that the U.S. government operates against its own people,” says Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, she’s the Executive Director of the PCJF.

Attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard:

  • We filed a series of FOIA requests and demands in November of last year when it was clear the Occupy movement was being subjected to a coordinated assault.
  • We wanted to expose and uncover the role of the federal government working hand in hand with local police and municipalities to shut down this movement. A movement that is inspiring people all over the country and is a force for social change.
  • What we have is the tip of a very carefully submerged iceberg.
  • What we’ve seen is massive surveillance, coordination, monitoring of peaceful protesters all over the country by the federal government.
  • There is monitoring that’s gone on from Washington DC, to Atlanta, to Detroit, to Dallas, that there is an intense focus going all the way up to high ranking members of the administration.
  • We know that with the creation of the fusion centers and the suspicious reporting activity, the vertical integration of law enforcement and intelligence operatives in the US, that coming from a federal level, from the Department of Homeland Security, with billions of dollars. There is in place where all of the hundreds and thousands of law enforcement officers . . local is almost deputized, where they’re collecting information and feeding data.
  • It’s critical that the people of the United States see this. The way for this to be stopped is to uncover it and expose it.  We see time and again the FBI creating its own terrorist plots, in many times as PR to justify their oppressive apparatus.
  • One of the defining features of the Obama Administration is the fact that it took on this apparatus put in place by the Bush Administration and not only didn’t take it apart, they have deepened it.
  • There is really a structure now in the United States that has the US government spying and collecting data on its own citizens.
  • We have regulation that has been put into place under the Obama Administration where there is growing use of military support for domestic civilian authorities which is very concerning.
  • We can see that the real spark for social change is people getting together for collective action.
  • What we want to accomplish is to keep the streets, sidewalks and parkland open for grassroots democracy and social change and people need the ability to come out and come together and in order to do that without fear that they’re going to be beaten . . or mass arrested.
  • National Special Security Events: The Secret Service and Federal Government becomes the lead coordinating arm and local police work under that umbrella. In Tampa and Charlotte you can see they’re enacting these very repressive ordinances that facially look unconstitutional.
  • The ordinances are trying to stop people from doing things are permitted, that are lawful.
  • There is growing effort to take public space out from under our feet and one way of doing that is to say that there’s going to be an effort to restore the grass, and we fought this battle back in 2004 at the RNC in New York when we came to challenge the effort of New York City to ban mass assembly on the Great Lawn of Central Park.
  • A lot of this effort is to make people feel alone and suffer in silence.

Guest – Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, co-chair of the Guild’s national Mass Defense Committee. Co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund in Washington, DC, she recently secured $13.7 million for about 700 of the 2000 IMF/World Bank protesters in Becker, et al. v. District of Columbia, et al., while also winning pledges from the District to improve police training about First Amendment issues. She won $8.25 million for approximately 400 class members in Barham, et al. v. Ramsey, et al. (alleging false arrest at the 2002 IMF/World Bank protests). She served as lead counsel in Mills, et al v. District of Columbia (obtaining a ruling that D.C.’s seizure and interrogation police checkpoint program was unconstitutional); in Bolger, et al. v. District of Columbia (involving targeting of political activists and false arrest by law enforcement based on political affiliation); and in National Council of Arab Americans, et al. v. City of New York, et al. (successfully challenging the city’s efforts to discriminatorily restrict mass assembly in Central Park’s Great Lawn stemming from the 2004 RNC protests.)


Law and Disorder May 7, 2012


  • Michael Smith and Heidi Boghosian Discuss May Day Events
  • Michael Smith Reads A May Day Letter From Lynne Stewart
  • Retired Chemistry Professor Tried For Jury Tampering Represents Self and Wins.
  • Federal Lawsuit Filed Against NYPD For Improper Use Of Barricades
  • Four City Council Members File Suit Against NYPD For Police Abuse



Former Head of CIA Clandestine Service Justifies Torture On CBS 60 Minutes

In a recent interview on CBS news, former head of the CIA’s clandestine service Jose Rodriguez discussed the destruction of 92 tapes in which terrorism suspects were subjected to water boarding and other forms of torture. Rodriguez told CBS that he destroyed the tapes to protect the people who worked for him at various black sites. But critics say Rodriguez is afraid of criminal prosecution because those 92 tapes contained compelling evidence of criminality and are a threat to Rodriguez and those who approved the use of torture.  Rodriguez,  a thirty-year veteran of the CIA, and spent most of his entire career in Latin America, supports the idea that torture works to get information.

Attorney Scott Horton:

  • We know the government in response to FOIA requests, and litigation requests has released photographs and tapes repeatedly in the past, and always obliterates the faces involved, so of course the identities are not released.
  • Obama announced in his speech from Kabul, al-Qaeda’s been defeated. It’s a faint shadow of what it was before.
  • The tapes contained evidence of crimes, it showed water boarding and other torture techniques. It documented those techniques, and that presented a risk to Jose Rodriguez and to the the people up above Rodriguez who are responsible for putting through torture policy.
  • George Tenet was involved, Bybee, a judge in the Ninth Circuit in Las Vegas, John Yoo who is a professor at the University of California, Steven Bradbury who is now a partner in a law firm in Washington DC and then it went into the White House where it went into the National Security Council.
  • The trail consistently leads straight into the office of former Vice President Dick Cheney. He was the key mover for the introduction of torture policy.
  • Domestically, we have an anti-torture statute that includes for conspiracy to torture, both of those things were violated. They apply outside of the United States, so they would have applied to the conduct of a CIA agent operating in Poland or Thailand for instance.
  • Jose Rodriguez: He’s trying to make money, he’s selling a book, what you saw was a 36 minute advertisement for his book, published by an affiliate of CBS.
  • Beyond that I’d say he’s trying to build sympathy and beat back calls for his own prosecution.
  • I think this was an ill advised strategy and I think he confessed to criminal conduct in the course of this interview.
  • At one point they claimed that they were able to track down and pick up Jose Padilla through the use of water boarding, which is very very interesting because Padilla was arrested and in custody before the first case of water boarding was applied.
  • Mitt Romney has been out there punching away constantly on the advocacy of torture and the response from the Obama campaign has been silence. Silence.
  • The guy came across to me as something of a psychopath (Jose Rodriguez)

Guest –  New York attorney Scott Horton, Scott is known for his work in human rights law and the law of armed conflict. Scott is also the contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine.


Common Cause Files IRS Whistleblower Complaint Against ALEC

The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is a tax exempt charity that spends millions of dollars annually to lobby for hundreds of bills in state legislatures around the United States. It came to the attention of the public for having drafted and pressured passage of the so-called stand your ground legislation after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in February. The watchdog group Common Cause has asked the IRS to review ALEC’s status claiming that ALEC is “a corporate lobby masquerading as a charity,” and that contributors should not be allowed to claim the gifts as charitable contributions.

Nick Surgey:

  • ALEC describes itself as nonpartisan although the majority are members of the Republican Party.
  • It’s concerning from a tax perspective, ALEC is operating as 501c non-profit, which means its a charity.
  • Therefore corporations who are members of ALEC are allowed to take a tax deduction, when they contribute up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • If Visa, Verizon or Amazon then those lobbying would not be tax deductible, they would be subject to tax, but they do the same lobbying through ALEC.
  • All of those contributions are subsidized by us – the tax payer. And that’s wrong.
  • We shouldn’t be subsidizing the activities of any corporation.
  • Until recently ALEC operated 9 Task Forces, they were forced to close one 2 weeks ago.
  • Stand Your Ground Bill / Drafted by the NRA, lobbied by them and presented to legislators in Florida 2005.
  • The NRA took it to ALEC, who they’re a member of, Walmart chaired the taskforce. Walmart the largest retailer of weapons in the United States.
  • The Stand Your Ground bill is now law in 20 states.
  • ALEC organizes around these 9 task forces. They have bills that really cover almost every policy area.
  • Other areas include rolling back environmental protection, they have a commerce task force, where a lot of anti-union bills, the right to work legislation, it comes from that task force.
  • Corporations will use the state essentially to lobby on their behalf.
  • Common Cause has a very good picture of what ALEC has been doing in the last 2 years and this formed the basis of this massive IRS submission.
  • One document are these scorecards which they send to their corporate members, where they celebrate the success that they have. Some of the early scorecards, they mapped out the complete picture of the United States and where all of their model bills have been introduced.
  • A source provided us with emails going between ALEC and state legislators. We were very greatful to be represented pro-bono by one of the country’s leading whistle-blower firms, Phillips and Cohen.
  • Voter ID has been increasingly connected to ALEC.
  • We believe the bigger fraud is disenfranchising millions of predominantly African American, elderly or young student voters.  In wasn’t until 2009 when ALEC took it up, that it really injected energy into it at the state level and its been introduced in 34 states. (Voter ID)
  • ALEC has an ability to take a law, not always a new law and sell it to their almost 2000 state legislator members.
  • ALEC has about a third of all state legislators in the entire country as members.
  • There was a fracking bill, and it was sponsored by Exxon Mobile.

Guest –   Nick Surgey, Nick conducted the research helping to expose the American Legislative Exchange Council.  Nick joined Common Cause in March 2011 as a Legal Associate.  He formerly worked at the British Refugee Council in Leeds, England, where he advocated on behalf of asylum seekers. He previously worked at an immigration law firm, as an elected student union officer and as a paid campaigner. Nick holds an undergraduate degree in History and Politics and a post-graduate diploma in law.

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