Monday, October 05, 2015

Liberals’ version of ALEC doing what liberals chastise ALEC for doing

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON, Wis. — For all the grief the left has given the American Legislative Exchange Council and the mostly conservative legislators who call themselves members, liberals have created their own state model-legislation organization — backed by lots of so-called ‘dark money’ cash.

Imitation — even tinged with a healthy heaping of hypocrisy — is, indeed, the sincerest form of flattery.

The State Innovation Exchange, also known as SiX, has been described as the liberal answer to ALEC.

While its Democratic Party partners have blasted ALEC for its free-market, limited-government agenda, SiX is doing the exact same thing with left-wing causes.

And the organization definitely has the ear of the left’s commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama.

This week, 54 state legislators from around the nation attended a summit of Democratic lawmakers in Washington, D.C., hosted by SiX. On Tuesday, Obama led them in a pep rally urging the lawmakers to do in their states what Congress has been unwilling to do at the federal level: pass his sweeping liberal agenda.

It’s a call from the top down to drive states to mete out stiffer environmental regulations in bolstering Obama’s climate change initiatives, as well as push hikes to the minimum wage and other key progressive campaigns.

The lawmakers also met with Democratic donors through SiX, which longs for the same kind of success on the left with model legislation that ALEC has had on the right.

SiX is the creation of a merger of the Progressive States Network, the American Legislative Issue Campaign and the Center for State Innovation.

“Consolidating resources from each of these organizations allows SiX to offer an unprecedented home for state and local elected officials to discuss and drive progressive policy initiatives, building on the best ideas and the greatest successes from across the country,” the organization declares on its website.

In other words, it can attempt to replicate the things it has chastised ALEC, the State Policy Network, and other conservative policy champions for doing.

SiX hopes to raise $2 to $3 million this year, Nick Rathod, the career Democratic operative who heads up SiX, told Politico. Rathod’s allegiance is clear. He served as Obama’s liaison to state officials and led state campaigns for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun safety group.

Last year, the organization said ultimately it hopes to bring in $10 million annually in its effort to put power back in the hands of progressives in state legislatures.

They have their work cut out for them.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Republicans lead both chambers of 30 state legislatures, while Democrats control 11.

While liberals have railed against the alleged influence corporations have had on lawmaker members in ALEC and the “dark money” conspiracy on the right, SiX, too, is a nonprofit that is not obligated to reveal its donors.

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