Exposed: The Other ALECs’ Corporate Playbook

Source: Truthout

But a closer examination reveals a well-coordinated network of many corporate-sponsored organizations – not ALEC only – that are influential in state politics. “Stealth lobbyists” use this network to advance their clients’ agendas in statehouses nationwide.

The Playbook’s Background: Big Players and Their Network

If corporate America’s playbook were actually in print, one of the oldest, most worn, most often referenced, most scribbled-on versions of it would be in the hip pocket of Michael Behm.

Behm is the senior vice president of Stateside Associates, a Virginia-based firm that specializes in stealth lobbying.

The Most Powerful Lobby Firm of Which You’ve Never Heard

Founded in 1988, Stateside is self-described as the “industry leader” in state and local governmental affairs counseling. The company’s home page tempts potential clients with a program that “transcends the conventional categories” of lobbying. The page further explains:

“State and local government relations – done well – protects the bottom line, promotes brand awareness, builds champions among policymakers and safeguards the ability of corporations and associations to succeed.” 

Stateside’s corporate clients are a testament to the success of its strategy. They include the likes of Visa, FedEx, Intuit, Microsoft, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and United Technologies. Past clients have described the firm as “essential,” “proactive” and “unmatched.”

A lobbying behemoth – the self-proclaimed largest firm of its kind – Stateside has enough tricks up its sleeve to tackle even the most difficult, and often delicate, lobbying cases.

“We came to Stateside Associates asking them to accomplish a complex, nationwide task in a very short time frame. Stateside came through with flying colors, sooner than expected and needed almost no direction after getting the assignment,” testified Thomas Kerr, vice president and assistant general counsel for Bayer Corporation.

Despite the complexities inherent to its acclaimed case-by-case lobbying approach, Stateside’s successful strategy begins and ends with the same corporate playbook.

In fact, Stateside’s founder, CEO and President, as well as former Executive Director of ALEC, Constance Campanella, was among the first to turn the unspoken playbook of corporate America into a concrete lobbying practice.

The playbook’s related service at Stateside is now called “Groups Practice” and is run by none other than Behm himself.

So, what exactly is “Groups Practice”?

“Groups” – ALEC, CSG, NCSL, and More

For the whole story read Truthout

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About James Crist

How do we stop America's decline? The country is in trouble and we can all feel it. Where did we go wrong? How do we fix it? We now have an auction-based government, for sale to the highest bidder. Politicians have become nothing more than corporate whores and pawns for the rich. If we want our representatives to represent us, let them get their campaign money from us, their constituents. We have to amend the constitution to get the big money out of politics.
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