Report: Arizona lawmakers bought by corporate interests - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Report: Arizona lawmakers bought by corporate interests

(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A national whistleblower group is accusing Arizona politicians of being in the pocket of big corporations.

The group Common Cause is accusing nearly all the Republicans in the Arizona State House and Senate of participating in a political "scheme."

A 50-page report compiled by Common Cause and its allied organizations claims more than $200,000 has gone to Arizona legislators in the past several years to pay for plane tickets, rooms at lavish resorts and food and drink, among other perks.

"What we have is an organization which corporations put money into to have access to members of the legislature," says State Rep. Steve Gallardo, a Phoenix Democrat.

Common Cause is targeting the nonprofit group ALEC, which stands for the American Legislative Exchange Council.

"ALECs influence is secretive but very powerful," says Lisa Graves with the Center for Media and Democracy.

The newly released report accuses ALEC of hardcore lobbying and tax fraud. The report says corporations first make tax-deductible donations to ALEC. Next, that money is turned into "scholarships" for legislators to pay for trips to political action meetings. Then, lawmakers return from the trips and introduce legislation that was actually written by corporate lobbyists.

"ALEC has a substantial role here. It's behind a number of bills introduced in this session and others of the Arizona legislature," says Graves.

Nothing that ALEC is doing in Arizona is illegal because the law allows for legislative benefits as long as they're available to all lawmakers and not just a select few.

"Let's put an end to these free trips," says Gallardo.

Republican State Rep. Amanda Reeve says ALEC gets a bad rap.

"It provides a forum to meet and discuss issues with industry leaders and fellow lawmakers from different states," said Reeve in a phone conversation with CBS 5. "It's a good service for the legislature."

The group spotlighting ALECs work, however, strongly disagrees.

"Is democracy based on we the people or should be democracy be owned by corporate executives and corporations?' asks Bob Edgar of Common Cause.

The Salt River Project is listed in the report as having given $25,000 to ALEC over the past several years.

SRP provided the following statement when reached for comment:

The American Legislative Exchange Council is an organization that provides a platform in which public policy matters that can impact SRP customers are discussed with public-policy leaders and industry experts. Because these issues – such as tax and energy policy – can affect our community and our business, SRP believes having a seat at the table on behalf of our customers is important. Other examples of organizations that provide a forum for public policy in recent years are: 

  • National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Council of State Governments
  • Western Governors' Association
  • Republican Governor's Association
  • Democrat Governors' Association
  • Democrat Attorneys General Association

SRP has served as a cornerstone of meeting the Valley's water and power needs for more than 100 years.  We have a long history of participating in public policy development and we are committed to thoughtful, bi-partisan discussion to provide a solid foundation for decision-making in the public-policy arena.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • East Texas NewsMore>>

  • Dez Bryant comes home, throws BBQ party, kick ball game before leaving to camp

    Dez Bryant comes home, throws BBQ party, kick ball game before leaving to camp

    Thursday, July 20 2017 11:07 PM EDT2017-07-21 03:07:57 GMT

    With just a day's notice, former Lufkin Panther and NFL superstar Dez Bryant arrived at Lufkin's Kit McConnico Park in grand fashion for his announced "Family Fun Day."

    More >>

    With just a day's notice, former Lufkin Panther and NFL superstar Dez Bryant arrived at Lufkin's Kit McConnico Park in grand fashion for his announced "Family Fun Day."

    More >>
  • Restaurant Report - Nacogdoches - 07/20/17

    Restaurant Report - Nacogdoches - 07/20/17

    Thursday, July 20 2017 5:04 PM EDT2017-07-20 21:04:26 GMT

    Long John Silver’s, Church's. China Star, Ken's No. 4, Taqueria El 21, Texas Sports Bar and Grill, Jalapeno Tree, Papa John's, Pizza Hut-South Street, Sinc Drive-In on North Street, Subway-North Street, Newk's, and Nacogdochs Medical Center Cafeteria.

    More >>

    Long John Silver’s, Church's. China Star, Ken's No. 4, Taqueria El 21, Texas Sports Bar and Grill, Jalapeno Tree, Papa John's, Pizza Hut-South Street, Sonic Drive-In on North Street, Subway-North Street, Newk's, and Nacogdochs Medical Center Cafeteria.

    More >>
  • Best Furry Friends: Heeler-spaniel mix loves attention

    Best Furry Friends: Heeler-spaniel mix loves attention

    Thursday, July 20 2017 7:17 PM EDT2017-07-20 23:17:01 GMT

    Temporarily calling the Nacogdoches Animal Shelter a home, Remi is hoping to find something a little more permanent. Caretakers said the one-year-old dog is playful and loves attention. Remi was brought into the shelter as a stray about three weeks ago. "He gets along with the other dogs. He still in his puppy stage so he still has a lot of time to go around play with everyone," said Torion Johnson, animal control officer.  Remi is a heeler-spani...

    More >>

    Temporarily calling the Nacogdoches Animal Shelter a home, Remi is hoping to find something a little more permanent. Caretakers said the one-year-old dog is playful and loves attention. Remi was brought into the shelter as a stray about three weeks ago. "He gets along with the other dogs. He still in his puppy stage so he still has a lot of time to go around play with everyone," said Torion Johnson, animal control officer.  Remi is a heeler-spani...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly