In August, Republican MNCD1 nominee Allen Quist told Mankato Free Press staff writer Mark Fischenich that if he were elected in November, that he would join the Republican Study Committee:
So why does Quist think he — as one of 435 lawmakers in one house of one branch of the federal government — will make a bigger dent in the red ink than those who came before him?
Quist said he’s ready to join the Republican Study Committee, a group of the House’s most conservative members. A subset of that committee totaling about 85 members is committed to eliminating the deficit in five years, according to Quist, who is promising on the campaign trail to meet that ambitious timeline.
After a deal being brokered now, he'll have some company in the form of corporate front group, the American Legislative Exchange Council. Alex Seitz-Wald reports in GOP’s corporate front group:
After a long flirtation, the GOP and ALEC are taking steps toward making their relationship official. ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is a controversial advocacy group that helps corporations and conservative interest groups write bills to be introduced in state legislatures across the country. ALEC “model legislation” includes rollbacks on environmental and labor regulation, voter ID laws and pro-gun laws, such as the “stand your ground” law that became infamous after the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida earlier this year. Recently, ALEC has come under increasing scrutiny, leading at least 37 major corporations to drop their sponsorship of the organization, including GE and Sprint, which pulled out just two weeks ago.
Despite this, the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of over 160 conservative lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives, which functions like the official in-house think tank for House Republicans, is taking steps to establish a “partnership” with the corporate front group, Roll Call’s Janie Lorber reports. The RSC has been working quietly with ALEC to host an event with federal and state lawmakers at the conservative Heritage Foundation on Friday. Paul Teller, the executive director of the RSC, was happy to embrace the ALEC. “Frankly, this gathering is long overdue … As Washington encroaches more and more into state and local spheres, it’s important that conservative legislators at the federal and state levels collaborate on policies to stop and roll back the ever-expanding federal government.”
Southern Minnesotans who breathed a sigh of relief when ALEC member ans retiring state senator Mike Parry--who compared belonging to ALEC to being a member of Rotary (as if Rotary helped him introduce a bill protecting companies against asbestos victims' claims)--was defeated by Quist in the August primary.
Sadly no. Should Quist defeat Congressman Tim Walz in November, the corporate front group will have yet another friend in the House.
Update: The Voters Legislative Transparency Project takes a closer look at one implication of the new partnership on the federal level with ALEC-New Partnerships and Exposing Hidden Foreign Influences – with a Comparison to the NCSL.
Cartoon: Allen Quist, by Ken Avidor.