The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was founded in 1973 by Henry Hyde, Lou Barnett, and Paul Weyrich. It is currently led by CEO Lisa Nelson and Florida State Representative Daniel Perez, who serves as the board’s 2023 national chair.
ALEC is a pay-to-play operation in which state legislators and corporate lobbyists meet behind closed doors to write model legislation that advances a radical right-wing, pro-corporate, and pro-Republican agenda on everything from suppressing voter access and denying climate change to crushing unions and undermining public education.
The bulk of ALEC’s funding comes from its corporate members and the foundations of wealthy conservatives.
January 6, 2021
- ALEC was closely tied with the Trump administration and heavily involved with the many machinations that led to the insurrection at the Capitol, as the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reported.
- Thirty ALEC-affiliated state legislators from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin signed letters to then-Vice President Mike Pence urging him not to certify the Electoral College results on Jan. 6.
- Just hours after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and interrupted congressional certification of the Electoral College results, 41 ALEC alumni serving in Congress voted against certifying Biden’s win of the presidency.
The Big Lie
- In 2019, ALEC established a secret Political Process Working Group to focus on redistricting, ballot measures, and elections. At a February 2020 meeting of the Council for National Policy (CNP), a hyper-secretive Christian Right network, ALEC CEO Lisa Nelson told a room of donors and activists that ALEC was working with three GOP attorneys on “action items that legislators can take to question the validity of an election.”
- Nelson is also active in the CNP, which is closely tied to the insurrection.
- In June 2020, ALEC held an exclusive call for its members on the topic of mail-in voting featuring the Honest Elections Project (HEP), a registered alternative name for what was originally the Judicial Education Project, which was renamed The 85 Fund in 2019. HEP sponsored a national TV ad after Wisconsin’s 2020 primary attacking the legitimacy of the election because of the use of mail-in ballots. William Consovoy, an attorney for Trump, also filed lawsuits on behalf of HEP to block the expansion of voting by mail and other pandemic-related election reforms, represented by
- In 2021 and 2022, ALEC held three Honest Elections Academies with state lawmakers and right-wing activists that promoted the Big Lie.
Post-2020 Election Subversion
- Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R), ALEC’s 2022 national chair, was the ringleader of Arizona’s controversial 2020 partisan election “audit,” which other ALEC state lawmakers visited with the intention of emulating. The Heritage Foundation, ALEC’s frequent collaborator on voter suppression, is now promoting the idea of routine election audits in every state.
- ALEC promotes the independent legislature theory and filed an amicus brief in support of it in the Supreme Court case Moore v. Harper.