Old and busted: Paranoia over the Koch Brothers and their political activism.  New hotness: Paranoia over a lobbying group of other businessmen.  Progressives have launched an attack on the lobbying group ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that does what every other lobbying group does — raise funds and petitions legislators for their agenda, in this case focused on state legislatures.  Although I’ve barely heard of them before, they must be effective, since the Left has made them their newest, bestest bête noire.

The Boss Emeritus writes about the latest Halliburton/Koch Brothers fright fest on the Left, and the reaction from members of ALEC:

For years, progressives have sought to take down the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a four-decade-old association of state legislators who believe in “the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty.” ALEC’s veteran policy experts have successfully teamed with public officials and the private sector on crafting model state bills covering everything from education reform and health care to pensions, public safety and civil justice.

Among the group’s greatest heresies in the eyes of the left: support for voter ID laws to protect election integrity, immigration enforcement measures and self-defense legislation to strengthen Second Amendment rights.

The idea that private businesses and public servants could work together voluntarily on public policy is too much for Big Labor and Big Government racketeers. Last fall, leftists from People for the American Way, the Center for Media and Democracy, the Arizona AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the American Federation of Teachers, the Arizona Education Association and Progress Now (a militant group backed by billionaire George Soros) ambushed an ALEC meeting in Arizona to intimidate legislators and corporate backers. In February, the Occupy movement turned from demonizing Wall Street bankers to attacking the policy wonks of ALEC as wretched symbols of “profit and greed.” …

McDonald’s, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Intuit, Kraft, Arby’s and Walgreens have shown their true colors: appeasement yellow. It’s time for conservatives to stand their ground and stop showing these corporate cowards their money.

May I assume that these corporations no longer wish to defend the concept of profit?  That’s something that their investors might want to know.  And let’s not forget that all of those organizations mentioned by Michelle in the excerpt are interest groups exactly like ALEC.  It’s interesting that these interest groups somehow get seen by these corporation as more legitimate than their own, but perhaps that’s another issue investors might want to take up with management at some point.

Don’t think that the effort is contained to stunts like invading meetings or calling up corporate headquarters, either.  The ALEC hysterics have organized an effort to pressure state legislators to denounce ALEC.  One legislator copied me on the e-mail, which the legislator has received multiple times, and which are hitting legislative e-mail inboxes throughout the state — and which uses the Trayvon Martin case as a bludgeon:

Dear XXX,

In the past few days, major corporate sponsors of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have indicated they will not renew their memberships to the controversial corporate front group. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Intuit and Kraft Foods announced their departure amid mounting criticism over ALEC’s backing of “Stand Your Ground” gun laws, which have been implicated in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

ALEC is behind the efforts to pass bills that strip away union rights, scale back child labor laws, attack the regulation power of environmental agencies, suppress voter rights with strict identification requirements, eliminate the social safety net, and privatize public services.

ALEC is not just another public policy organization, it is a front group for some of the most radical and dangerous legislation.  With such a proven negative track record of effect on our public policy, there’s no excuse for  legislators to continue their involvement in the organization.

If you are a member of ALEC, I urge you to take the lead of Pepsi, Coke, Kraft and Intel and quit ALEC now.  If you are not a member, I urge you to make a public statement denouncing ALEC and asking your fellow legislators to withdraw their membership.

Sincerely,

Of course, no one is arguing that people don’t have the right to petition their legislators in this manner, or for that matter, conduct or threaten boycotts of companies that support policies activists don’t like.  But instead of arguing on the policies, these people are demonizing a perfectly legitimate interest group as some sort of boogeyman, which tells us how poor their arguments on the actual issues of right-to-work, voter ID, budget reductions, and the job-killing regulatory bureaucracies like the EPA actually are.  This is just another Halliburton! Koch sucker! chant, and as vapid as ever.