Voters Deserve to Know if Lawmakers Support Allegiance to A Secret Corporate Lobbying Group Above & Beyond the Public Interest.
RALEIGH—Progress NC today called on State Reps. Thom Tillis, Jason Saine and Tim Moffitt to come clean and explain if they supported the ALEC loyalty oath revealed in a recent expose. According to yesterday’s report from The Guardian, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) proposed a loyalty oath for elected officials serving as State Chairs. The draft State Chair agreement reads (Page 20):
“I am morally responsible for the health and well-being of this organization… I will act with care and loyalty and put the interests of the organization first.”
This loyalty oath to a secret corporate lobbying runs contrary to the oath of office taken by all members of the North Carolina General Assembly, which says in part, “… I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina.”
State Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) is the North Carolina State Chair of ALEC. Saine, along with Speaker Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) and Tim Moffitt (R-Buncombe), took time away from a busy legislative session to attend the May 2013 ALEC meeting in Oklahoma where this loyalty oath was proposed.
According to The Guardian article, the oath was not adopted, but voters and the public at large deserve to know if North Carolina’s representatives voted in favor or against the oath.
“North Carolina state lawmakers have a duty to represent their constituents and the people of North Carolina first,” said Gerrick Brenner of Progress NC. “Revelations of a loyalty oath from a secret corporate bill mill show the mindset of politicians who are focused on special-interests, not the public interest. If these lawmakers are serious about their oath of public office, they should sever all ties with ALEC.”
ALEC, a shadowy network of corporate special interests and elected officials, has been under fire for more than a year after its model legislation was to blame for the “Stand Your Ground” law that gained notoriety during the Trayvon Martin case. ALEC has also been accused of supporting anti-voting legislation and illegally lobbying state legislators under their non-profit 501(c)(3) status.
According to The Guardian, several corporate and elected members have left ALEC in the last two years leaving the organization in a financial crisis. Much of the May meeting was devoted to organizational survival, fundraising and recruiting new members, and quietly courting corporations which had severed ties amidst the firestorm of controversy over “Stand Your Ground.”
Model legislation from ALEC has appeared in the North Carolina General Assembly for years, but has gained new clout after the Republican takeover in 2010. ALEC’s pro-corporate legislation from relaxing product liability to gun-rights to pro-charter schools has appeared in the NCGA in recent years.
In 2011, Thom Tillis was named ALEC’s “Legislator of the Year.”