Thursday, July 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, ALEC: Your BFF, Senator Kirk Dillard.

Illinois Chairperson for ALEC
“Happy Birthday, ALEC: Your BFF, Senator Kirk Dillard.

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

There’ll be some legislative movers and shakers there.  Representative Darlene Senger, Senator Christine Radagno, and Representative Tom Cross:  all of them and many more (mostly Republicans) are members at the state level as Task Force Members for ALEC.  That means that they bring important legislative models drafted by ALEC into the
A metaphor for pretense - Rahmbo.
Springfield General Assembly for passage into law in Illinois.  Even an “ersatz” Democrat might show up – see picture.

These legislators don’t get paid for this involvement, at least not exactly, but they do get to take paid-for sojourns to places far and wide to meet with lawyers and corporate representatives to help craft proposals and bills that might move the conservative agenda mission of ALEC forward at the state level.   And, of course, a corporation awash in money may be able to help someone find support in this new world of Citizens United to get serious backing come next election.  More about that later.

“ALEC is a corporate bill mill.  It is NOT just a lobby (like the NRA) or a front group; it is much more powerful than that.  Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wish lists to benefit the bottom line.  Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations” (

ALEC Task Force Member Senger
The state chairman in Illinois for ALEC is Kirk Dillard, a Senator from Hinsdale (of all places), who has just recently announced his intention to run once again for the office of Governor for the State of Illinois.  Last time around, Senator Dillard lost the primary by only 193 votes to Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington.  But Dillard is unmoved and ready to be “all in” for this next battle for leadership in our state.  He outlined for the Chicago Tribune his inability to run for another seat in the Senate this next year, given the timing of his run in the gubernatorial race, which will prevent his political office holding if he is defeated in the primary or the election. 

According to Dillard, had he been elected last time as the Governor, we would not be facing the nearly $100 billion deficit in pension spending we now face.  Of course, Dillard is careful not to mention that the deficit is actually money reneged from the necessary payments from other Republicans like himself (Jim Thompson and his supporter Jim Edgar).  Dillard says that he voted for SB1, and Madian would have worked better with him than Quinn.

ALEC Chair Renee Kosel
The other Chair for ALEC in Illinois is Representative Renee Kosel of Mokena.  One imagines both Kosel and Dillard are ecstatic about the upcoming birthday of their ideological patrons.  They may even desire to celebrate the origin and backers of the ALEC foundation, although quite honestly the Koch brothers (Charles & David) are often careful to avoid the limelight, preferring to work behind the scenes, greasing the legislative wheels with hundreds of millions of dollars to promote the agendas their father tutored them in their youthful and impressionable years.

Fred C. Koch was a self-made man worthy of being admired by Kirk Dillard, Renee Kosel, or Ayn Rand.  His inventive genius at finding a new cracking method to turn crude into gasoline was the darling of the world, until his patents were challenged in the United States.  This kept him at bay for nearly fifteen years. Enter stage left the Stalinist Soviet Union, which gave him millions to build cracking plants in the USSR and millions more to teach technicians in the United States how to make gasoline from the multitudinous reserves below the Russian permafrost.

ALEC - Health & Human Services?
Despite the mega-generous returns on his assistance, once he returned from Russia, the elder Koch decided Communism was an evil that must be destroyed at all costs, and when one (or his sons) have $billions, that means pretty much spare change. 

And the elder Mr. Koch became a leader in the arena of conservative reform movements – very conservative reform movements.  He assisted in providing the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission money to support their war against federal encroachment or the attempt to force racial desegregation.  (  He became a heavy contributor and founding father of the John Birch Society (

Tom Cross - Civil Justice & Stand Your Ground
In fact, some of his speeches resonate strangely with the kind of speech one hears from the Tea Party leaders of today as well as the Birthers that often denounce Obama’s presidency.  “ Koch alerted that Communists “would infiltrate the highest offices of government in the United States until the President is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us” (;view=text ).  Sound familiar? 

Of course, Senator Dillard is careful – like his other ALEC partners in the State of Illinois – to be discreet when it comes to this kind of political connection, unless it is unobtrusive and controlled, but, alas, events these last few months have left all of us wondering about ALEC and those who might support them, or in turn be supported by ALEC

ALEC Civil Justice/Stand Your Ground
After the NRA was able to lobby successfully to pass the Stand Your Ground Law in Florida in 2005, ALEC adopted the same law as a “model” for other states, sharing the outline with legislators who participated in their “think-tank legislative getaways.”  Twenty-six other states have adopted the same kinds of laws.  But now ALEC (like the NRA) is trying to distance itself from the Stand Your Ground Law, saying that their support sunset a few years ago.  Notice also how quiet the NRA has been about the law that ALEC later supported?

ALEC members like Chapin Rose, Tom Cross, and, yes, KIRK DILLARD are Task Force Members on the same Civil Justice committees that proposed and endorsed the Stand Your Ground bills that passed in Florida and 26 other states. 

With ALEC in mind, a very unsettling Senator Dillard has changes in mind in Illinois and he warns us that he’s all in.  Indeed, he plans to make serious and, if necessary, severe changes to issues of pensions, Metra, conceal and carry, and abortions.  That’s worrisome.

The Koch brothers and ALEC would include all taxes, all regulations on business, the dangers of unions, the Federal Reserve, Social Security, the Affordable Care Act, the minimum wage, voting rights, and other national issues; but as Governor, Senator Dillard can do much to help their forward progress in small steps – just like Scott Walker did for them in Wisconsin.

Who'll be on the red carpet???
The Koch brothers are all in too.


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