About our Project
Smart ALEC: Exposing the American Legislative Exchange Council in Oregon is an investigative project of KBOO 90.7 FM Portland, made possible by a grant from the Fund For Investigative Journalism (FIJ).
KBOO Community Radio 90.7 FM was awarded a five thousand dollar grant from the FIJ to conduct an investigation of Oregon legislation which has been influenced or created by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). With this grant, KBOO volunteer investigative reporters reviewed Oregon state legislative activities to uncover ALEC influences on bills introduced in the Oregon state legislature between 2011 and 2014.
Why we’re doing it
Jenka Soderberg, News Director at KBOO community radio, says “This grant, which recognizes KBOO’s prowess as a local community news outlet, reminds Oregonians that KBOO has long been at the forefront of reporting news of importance to local residents.” As both small and large media sources are folding throughout the region, KBOO news is increasingly a critical resource for those seeking uncensored, up-to-date, local information. Although KBOO has a shoestring budget, the station owns its own modest building, and is proud of its volunteers, up-to-date studio, and recording technologies.
How our efforts build upon prior work
KBOO’s efforts take some of the aggregated data by Common Cause, ALECExposed, and other watchdog organizations and uses it as a starting point to focus on the behavior of Oregon legislators, lobbyists and ALEC affiliated businesses. The resulting data will be included in a publication by the Center for Media and Democracy.
Why this work is important
ALEC and its compatriots, including Americans for Prosperity, the American City County Exchange, the Cascade Policy Institute and FreedomWorks among others are trying to transform America into a corporate based, socioeconomic caste system where you are exactly entitled to whatever it is that you can afford and where the Constitution is no better than rules scrawled on the side of a barn. We intend to use our modest but effective means to inform our public of inconvenient truths and arm them with information to challenge the unchallenged.
There is an old adage which says that the purpose of journalism is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. We hope that this work compels other stations to do their own investigative journalism on their own state legislatures. Together, we can build on the work of Common Cause and the Center for Media and Democracy to provide an even clearer picture of ALEC’s insidious work.