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Pocan Comments on ALEC’s New Attempts to Shield Itself against Tax Laws

Dec 3, 2013
Press Release
Pocan previously joined ALEC to expose its potentially illegal lobbying activities

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) released the following statement on today’s Guardian story detailing the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) new efforts to shield itself against tax laws. When he served in the Wisconsin State Assembly, Pocan became a member of ALEC to learn more about the group and expose its potentially illegal lobbying activities.

By filing as a non-profit 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt charity, ALEC is required to verify that it does not spend more than 20 percent of its time lobbying. However, as Pocan learned when he attended the group’s national conferences, ALEC spends almost all of its time lobbying—it writes model legislation on behalf of its corporate partners and then helps state legislatures pass these bills.

But according to the Guardian, ALEC is now: “hoping to avoid legal, tax and ethical challenges by creating a separate sister organisation it calls the "Jeffersonian Project". The new body would be categorised as a 501(c)(4) social welfare organisation, a designation that would allow Alec to be far more overt in its lobbying activities than its current charitable status as a 501(c)(3).”

“The only charity work ALEC does is on behalf of needy corporations and lonely legislators,” Pocan said. “It is past time that ALEC is exposed for what it is—a corporate lobbying firm doing the bidding of corporations. As the article details, they are now trying to not only hide their intensions, but their funding as well in a new “social welfare” organization. The IRS needs to step in and strip ALEC of its ability to rig the democratic system and rob the American taxpayers.” 

Last year, Pocan sent a letter to the IRS urging them to investigate ALEC’s tax filing. He also wrote a letter to the ALEC Chairman asking him to justify its tax filing status. He never received a response.