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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

ALEC commentary failed to convince

Letter to the Editor

I read Hudson Rep. Jordan Ulery’s guest commentary on the backlash against the American Legislative Exchange Council with great amusement and a tinge of skepticism. (April 29: “Lot of misinformation out there about ALEC these days”)

Ulery complained the misinformation about ALEC is generated by “politically motivated ad hominem attacks designed to deflect attention from the real issues facing New Hampshire.”

Whew. I had to go to Wikipedia to learn the definition of “ad hominem” – defined as “attacking an opponent’s nature or character rather than the positions they maintain.”

In his article, Ulery complains the “robot letter writers” are taking their cues from the “prefabricated political agendas of their commissars.”

In Ulery’s words, if you don’t agree with me, you must be controlled by communists. My amusement was that his article is therefore a textbook definition of “ad hominem” attacks.

But a recent New York Times article on ALEC (April 21: “Conservative Nonprofit Acts as a Stealth Business Lobbyist”) elevated my skepticism.

ALEC has an annual operating budget of $7 million; its 2,000 legislator-members pay $50 per year for membership. That leaves it about $6.9 million short.

How the rest is funded – drum roll, please – is from special interests and corporate members.

According to Ulery, legislator-members receive no “pay” or “benefits” as a result of membership.

I’d certainly like to review a copy of Ulery’s expense account in attending the last four-day national conference, if only to eliminate my concern that his participation is not being influenced by special-interest money.

Follow the money.

Mary Welch