What We Found

Scoops, Discoveries and Admissions

1.  Many pieces of Oregon legislation use the same titles as ALEC model legislation.  And using plagiarism software, KBOO discovered several of those pieces of Oregon legislation, introduced by Oregon ALEC members between 2011 and 2014 that were lifted in part directly from ALEC model legislation. Our database documents the links we discovered.

2.  The Oregon Secretary of State website shows that Representative Sal Esquivel received a campaign donation from ALEC in 2009 which is in direct violation of IRS rules regarding the direct contribution of money by 501c3 non-profit organizations to politicians.  Although this may be a bookkeeping error, Mr. Esquivel’s treasurer (and perhaps those of other legislators) believe receiving donations from a 501c3 non profit is legal.  According to the IRS, it is not.

3.  Former legislator Jim Thompson, as well as current legislators Sal Esquivel, Kim Thatcher and John Huffman claimed limited involvement or knowledge regarding sponsoring, authoring or backing more than one or two pieces of ALEC model legislation.  An examination of ALEC related bills introduced into the Oregon legislature between 2011 and 2014 showed the names of each of these legislators appeared on a total of 14 pieces of ALEC model legislation.  Visit our interactive database for a breakdown of this voting record.

4.  A review of the approximately 34 ALEC related model bills introduced into the Oregon legislature between 2011 and 2014 shows 56 Oregon democrats voted with Oregon republicans in support of 12 of them.

5.  We have calculated that political action committees shown by the Oregon Secretary of State website to be supported by ALEC have, in turn, donated no less than 160-thousand dollars to at least a score of Oregon legislators between 2011 and 2014.

6.  Gubernatorial candidate Dennis Richardson said in an April 2014 KBOO interview (at 6:50) that campaign contributions by donors he may not necessarily agree with do not buy his support but does buy them access to him.

7.  An ALEC senior spokesperson told KBOO that the much reported on centerpiece of their renewed effort to attract corporate members that fled in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, the “Prodigal Son Project”, did not exist.  But lead reporter on ALEC for the Guardian, Ed Pilkington, told KBOO that internal documents show the PSP does in fact exist (select An Interview With Ed Pilkington on ALEC in Oregon).

8.  In talking about the assistance ALEC provides to legislators, ALEC’s Legislative Chair for Oregon, Republican Representative Gene Whisnant, said that because he does not have a staff to research complex issues such as safety, police, roads or health care, the “lobby” becomes his research staff (at 5:08).

9.  In contrast to comments by Oregon representatives Huffman and Whisnant who, while attending the Kansas City ALEC conference said there were very few corporate representatives in any of the meetings they attended, Wisconsin Representative Chris Taylor told KBOO that corporate members dominated attendance at those same meetings (at 16:10).

10.  Dexter Johnson of the Legislative Council told KBOO that many of the 4000 bills he sees in a regular two year session are redrafts.  That means bills that fail in previous years are reintroduced in later years, slightly tweaked and with different titles but essentially the same.


Last updated March 23, 2015

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