Friday, July 26, 2013

Dancing with the Civic Committee Stars - See Local Members of ALEC at the Party?


ALEC Welcomes Its Biggest Supporter: 
The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago

ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) is coming to town to celebrate its 40th birthday at the Palmer House on August 8th!  Are you invited?  Probably not, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be there. *

If you’re looking for the Red Carpet zenith of corporatist affairs, ALEC’s Thursday afternoon gala is not to be missed.  In just a mere four decades, the Koch Brothers’ political inspiration has brought us such blockbusters as Parent Trigger, Waiting for Superman, Citizens United, Stand Your Ground, and, well, School Privatization: the Prequel.   Rumors of a Koch Brothers’ new conceptual rendering of the Middle Class swirl in Chicago, where ALEC plans to hold its birthday bash.  And what a shindig it promises to be!

You can trust us to save your defined benefits...really! 
While we’re likely to see “earth tredding stars” of a political nature – Representative Darlene Senger, Representative Renee Kosel,  House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Representative Chapin Rose, Senator Kirk Dillard, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radagno, etc. – these wonders are simply extensions and instruments of the powerful. 

The real action will arrive on that Thursday with the appearance of the well-heeled powerbrokers from the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.  And we can expect to behold a goodly number of the plutocrats who hold membership in more than just the city’s esteemed coalition of industrial/financial elite.  In fact, over half of the roster of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club is connected in membership, support, or past affiliation with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  

For those of us in the gallery, thrilling for an autograph or even a cursory nod, we’ll need to keep a sharp eye out for those Civic Committee/ALEC patrons who might attend.  Of course, leading the way will be Boeing’s CEO James W. McNerney, the very model and corporate representation of what a chief supporter of ALEC should be.  McNerney, a man who knows how to manage money, receives an annual salary of just over $22 million, but – and you retirees better keep this in mind – he also has amassed nearly $39 billion in retirement assets.  And pensioners worry about their COLA’s! 

And, we could all take a darn good lesson from Boeing.  Despite those nuisance batteries on its mega-plane 787 which threatened to turn a moneymaker into a flaming bad-Dreamliner, the company has been able to jump a 13% profit this second quarter.  That’s a cool $1.1 billion  (

But, it’s not just the work of CEO McNerney: Corporations are people too, my friends.  A 2008 – 2010 scrutiny of U.S. corporations by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy unveiled hundreds of major businesses that pay little or nothing to the federal government for what they earn in the United States ( ). 

Boeing is the King of the Tax Dodgers: In all three years, Boeing paid NO federal taxes.  Hold on, it gets better. 

I look omnipotent in this pose, don't you think?
In fact, Boeing’s actual federal tax rate was -1.8%.  How’s that possible?  You forget that Boeing is paid by the federal government in contracts and perks for the delivery of goods to the United States.  For the years 2008 – 2010, while it earned profits of $9.7 billion, Boeing received an additional $178 million in money back.  How’d you do?

On the state level, we’ll all remember that our elected Representatives and Senators (see above) were willing to provide Boeing another $41 million in the year 2000 just to come to Chicago.  After that, Chicago and its Civic Committee friends threw in another $19 million in property tax relief and a $2 million grant.  In addition, Chicago provided incoming families from Seattle expense accounts too.  By the way, just a reminder, your property taxes are coming due. 

But Boeing’s just one corporation, and McNerney is just one guy.  A cursory look at the membership of the Civic Committee is all it takes to spot well over fifty more who play by – scratch that – make the rules and work hand-in-hand with ALEC.  See the list below:

A quiet moment.
Of course, there’ll be the groupies and fashionmongers who really may not be anything more than ALEC wannabees, but they’re enjoyable in their own lesser levels of sinister power and wheedling influence.  You might see the ever-blustering Ty Fahner, who may even arrive with his old friend James Thompson, perhaps in the black Porsche the former Governor so coveted.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel and now-Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will have a lot of catching up to do on Washington. 

Have a good time and enjoy the parade.  By the way, keep your hands on your wallet.

Civic Committee members with Ties to ALEC, after a cursory investigation:

ALLSTATE – Edward Liddy – works with ALEC to “Fix the Debt” by getting rid of social security (Sourcewatch).

BOOZ & COMPANY – Gary D. Ahlquist – consulting to ALEC and NSA (Sourcewatch).

LEO BURNETT – Thomas Bernardin – L. Burnett COO sits with ALEC Meirling in Lipman Hearne  Consulting (

LASALLE BANK – Norman Bobins – donates to ALEC and its causes (Sourcewatch).

MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS – Greg Brown – large contributor to ALEC and “Fix the Debt” (Sourcewatch).

MADISON DEARBORN PARTNERS – John Canning - supporter of ALEC

AON CORPORATION – Gregory Case – supports ALEC (

SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP – Thomas Cole – Company presented at US Climate Partnership to deny climate change (

HILLSHIRE BRANDS – Sean Connolly – supports ALEC (Sourcewatch).

EXELON Corp – Christopher Crane – contributes to ALEC (

UBS INVESTMENT BANK – Stephen Cruise – repeated federal reviews for irregular Swiss banking methods (

DELOITTE LLP – Deborah Dehaas – contributor to ALEC (

DUCHOSSOIS GROUP – Craig Duchossois – contributor to ALEC (

ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS – W. James Farrell – contributor to ALEC (

ERNST & YOUNG LLP – Rick Fezell – paid $123 million in 2013 to defend 200 wealthy clients (ALEC members) for tax avoidance (the Guardian).

WINSTON & STRAWN LLP  - Thomas Fitzgerald – contributor to ALEC (

ZURICH NORTH AMERICA – Michael Foley – member of ALEC (Sourcewatch).

GOLDMAN SACHS & CO. – Matthew Gibson – major contributor (Sourcewatch).

CITIGROUP – James Glerum – member of ALEC (Sourcewatch).

KIRKLAND & ELLIS LLP – Richard Godfrey – represents many industries in ALEC (United Airlines).

PNC BANK – Joseph Gregoire – member of ALEC (Sourcewatch).

CITADEL, LLC – Kenneth Griffin – member of ALEC (see investing/  

PRICEWATERHOUSE COOPERS, LLP – Jay Henderson – publishing member of ALEC (

AMERICAN AIRLINES – Thomas Horton – contributor yo ALEC and responsible for sacking the pensions of his workers (

TRIBUNE PUBLISHING COMPANY – Tony Hunter – promoter of all things KOCH (electronic graffiti).

BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP – Matthew Krentz – finances and promotes ALEC strategies to privatize public education (

AT&T – Paul LaSchiazza – member of ALEC (

ALLSTATE – Edward Liddy – member of ALEC (

BANK of AMERICA – Timothy Maloney – announced breaking ties with ALEC in 2012 (Sourcewatch).

BOEING – James McNerney – member of ALEC (Sourcewatch).

DISCOVER FINANCIAL SERVICES – David Nelms – member of ALEC as part of Credit Card Coalition (see

BAXTER INTERNATIONAL – Robert Parkinson – major contributor to ALEC (AFCSME).

JONES LANG LASALLE – Sheila Penrose – member and builder for ALEC (dailykos).

JEWEL COMPANIES (OSCO) – Donald Perkins – member of ALEC (

UNITED STATIONERS – Cody Phipps – member of supporting member business ethics network (ALEC).

MESIROW FINANCIAL – Richard Price – participant and presenter for ALEC (

PSP CAPITAL – Penny Pritzker – corporate level supporter of ALEC (

HYATT HOTELS – Thomas Pritzker – member of ALEC – (

MARMON GROUP – Frank Ptak – member and presenter for “secret societies”/ALEC (

GTCR LLC – Bruce Rauner – member of ALEC and aspiring Illinois governor (

NICOR GAS – Elizabeth Reese – member of ALEC (Sourcewatch).

REYES HOLDING – Christopher Reyes – member of ASLEC (

EXELON CORP – John Rowe – member of ALEC (

W W GRAINGER – James Ryan – member of ALEC (


CME GROUP – John Sandner – member of ALEC (

ITW – Scott Santi – member of ALEC (

INTEGRYS ENERGY GROUP – Charles Schrock – member ALEC and Amer. Gas Assoc. (Sourcewatch).

ACCENTURE – Michael Scimo – consults/hiring with ALEC in mind and as member (

FINANCIAL INVESTMENTS CORPORATION – Harrison Steans – winner of Civic Federation Award and promotion of privatization of education (civic federation).

MCKINSEY & Co – Richard Sykes – corporate benefactor to ALEC (Sourcewatch).

MAYER BROWN LLP – Paul Theiss – partner Donald Falk is ALEC counsel of record (

FIRST CHICAGO NBD CORP – Don Thompson – member of ALEC (Sourcewatch).

JP MORGAN CHASE – Glenn Tilton – corporate member of ALEC (Sourcewatch).

A.T. KEARNEY, INC. – Michael Tower – writing school reform for ALEC (

WALGREEN, CO. – Gregory Wasson – gave up membership in ALEC after 2012 (

ABBOTT – Miles White – member of ALEC (

ALLSTATE (once again) – Thomas Wilson – (

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