Resolution Supporting Citizen Involvement in Elections Exposed
The Resolution Supporting Citizen Involvement in Elections was adopted by ALEC's Public Safety and Elections Task Force on May 1, 2009, and approved by the ALEC Board of Directors on June 6, 2009. ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this piece of legislation after the launch of ALECexposed.org in 2011, but it has done nothing to get it repealed in the states where it previously pushed for it to be made into law.
CMD's Bill Summary
Despite this Resolution's noble description of "citizen involvement," this Resolution supports unlimited corporate spending on elections (and opposes legislative efforts to limit it). This Resolution was issued while the U.S Supreme Court was considering the Citizens United v. FEC case, and before it ordered re-argument and eventually decided to lift all limits on political spending by corporations. This Resolution's reference to "the desire of citizens to organize and support candidates of their choice" is code for "corporate spending" or "third-party spending:" Citizens United lawyers used that language in arguing against corporate spending limits, and the Supreme Court's majority opinion adopted that framing in the decision.
Particularly notable here is the ALEC support for disclosure "as an effective way to identify potential corruption," a justification for unlimited spending also adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court. A year after this Resolution (and after the Citizens United decision), ALEC passed the Resolution in Support of the Citizens United Decision which expressed opposition to disclosure laws.
ALEC Resolution Text
WHEREAS, it is the mission of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to advance the Jeffersonian principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and federalism; and
WHEREAS, the desire of citizens to organize and support candidates of their choice though campaign contributions indicates an engaged citizenry with a clear desire to participate in elections; and
WHEREAS, contributing to candidates is, next to voting itself, the most common way for citizens to be involved; and
WHEREAS, national data indicates that there is no correlation between campaign contributions and the integrity of the political process; and
WHEREAS, ALEC supports the disclosure of campaign contributions to candidates, political parties, and political action committees as an effective way to identify potential corruption; and
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has made it clear that the First Amendment protects the rights of individuals to support their own candidacy with their own funds without restriction;
WHEREAS, ALEC is an important, influential voice in the promotion of policies true to the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) supports citizen involvement in elections and opposes all efforts to limit such involvement by limiting campaign contributions.
Adopted by the Public Safety and Elections Task Force May 1, 2009.
Approved by the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Board of Directors June 6, 2009.