A recent report by Progress Texas claimed that the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) is the “home away from home” for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The report says that “ALEC and TPPF are closely linked and regularly work hand-in-hand to promote the profits of global corporations over creating better lives for Texans.”
Joshua Treviño, the vice president for communications at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, told the Texas Independent that that kind of language was “hyperbole” and did not directly respond to the Progress Texas characterization of TPPF. However, Treviño did make the case that TPPF’s activities with ALEC are a “normal function of a free and democratic society.”
“The State Policy Network is a group of like minded institutions that seek to pursue policy initiatives in individual states,” said Treviño. “The TPPF works and collaborates with them. Sometimes we work together on specific items. It’s the same with ALEC. We contribute when it’s appropriate.” Treviño went on to say that TPPF works with ALEC in a transparent way and that their “record of participation is public.”
The main criticism of ALEC in the Progress Texas report is that it isn’t transparent. The report paints the entire process as happening “without any opportunity for public input or public scrutiny” until the ALEC approved legislation is introduced in state legislatures. It also claims that corporations have a seat at the table while the public doesn’t. “The dots connections exercise is useful for propaganda purposes, but it is a weak criticism on substance,” said Treviño.
Treviño dismissed any claim that the TPPF’s work with ALEC was somehow nefarious, or that the TPPF agenda was being driven by anything other than its founding principles. “The principles that animate us are driven by the desire to limit government, increased personal responsibility and fiscal restraint,” said Treviño. “This is nothing more than individuals coming together to promote those principles, and we are proud to participate.”
Philip Martin of Progress Texas told the Texas Independent that what TPPF does and the policies that they pursue closely align with ALEC and corporate interests, and that in a free society citizens can challenge how laws are made. “Right now too many laws are being made with corporate interest in the front of lawmakers’ minds,” said Martin. “What we want to do is put the people of Texas in the front of their minds, and the best way to do that is shine a light on organizations like ALEC and TPPF.”
Photo: Joshua Treviño (source: TexasPolicy.com)Tags: alec, american legislative exchange council, Joshua Trevino, Progress Texas, state policy network, Texas, texas legislature, Texas Public Policy Foundation, TPPF