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Lexington: Smart ALEC

PROTESTERS lay on the pavement, playing dead. They were furious about “Stand Your Ground” laws, which in dozens of states have expanded the legal rights of armed citizens to shoot those whom they deem a threat, and which some blame for the death of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager. The protesters’ target was the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in a hotel in Chicago.ALEC is a forum that for 40 years has pushed states to adopt conservative laws on everything from guns to taxes. It introduces state legislators to lobbyists and businesses behind closed doors. Its task-forces craft “model” bills suitable for replication nationwide. It is hugely influential. Hundreds of ALEC-inspired bills are introduced in the states each year. Currently, about a third of state legislators are members. In Washington, DC more than 90 members of Congress are alumni, all but one of them Republican.This gives progressives plenty to protest about. In Chicago activists led by Jesse Jackson asserted that ALEC-drafted bills purporting to curb voter fraud are in fact aimed at suppressing the black vote. Mr Jackson is seldom slow to cry racism, but this…

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