Monday, April 30, 2012

ALEC continuing to lose support, even in AZ

Turns out that pushing legislation that racks up a body count isn't considered good PR by many of ALEC's corporate supporters...

Late last week, Russell Smoldon, lobbyist for SRP and one of ALEC's lead fixers in AZ and Debbie Lesko, AZ state representative AZ chair for ALEC, organized an emergency meeting of roughly 140 Arizona lobbyists to try to coordinate a response to the nationwide outcry over the ALEC-written and pushed Kill At Will "Stand Your Ground" law used to rationalize the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida, a law that is on the books in many states, including Arizona.

The email invite was pretty bland (courtesy a friend of the blog) -

Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 9:37 AM

Subject: meeting regarding ALEC

Debbie Lesko and other ALEC legislative members both present and past would like to invite you to a meeting thisThurs. (April 26th), 11:00am at AGC to get the latest update on the fight that ALEC is waging in the media against its detractors. We would really appreciate your attendance
Russell D. Smoldon
Senior Director Government Relations

The problem?  According to sources, nowhere near all of the lobbyists asked to attend showed up, but a news crew from Channel 5 and Stephen Lemons, a reporter from the Phoenix New Times, did show up.  Apparently, Lesko got wind of the media attention before arriving, so she skipped the meeting.  The unlucky ones who didn't get the heads-up were left to try to duck the spotlight.

The Arizona Capitol Times had some coverage of the meeting in Friday's Yellow Sheet Report (pricey subscription required).  From that report -

Supporters and members of ALEC, which has come under a publicity blitz by opponents, today found themselves hiding from members of the press who received word about an ALEC-related meeting held at the Associated General Contractors’ office. Sources say that about 30 to 40 representatives of ALEC’s Arizona corporate sponsors met at the AGC to discuss the publicity campaign that has put the group on its heels and under public scrutiny over the close ties between elected officials and corporate entities.
The purpose of the meeting may have been to organize a response to the withering criticism that ALEC is facing, or it may have been called simply to "buck up the troops" as a number of ALEC's corporate sponsors have been distancing themselves from ALEC.
It doesn't matter which, because having to duck, or duck and run out of, the meeting doesn't help with either goal.

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