New documents released as a result of the Center for Media and Democracy’s open records lawsuit against American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) vice-chair Senator Leah Vukmir provide more evidence that lobbyists and special interest groups are calling the shots within ALEC, undermining that group’s latest PR spin that it is a “legislator-driven” organization.
The previously-undisclosed records from ALEC’s Spring 2013 meeting show a Florida-based State Policy Networklobbying group instructing Senator Vukmir and other legislators to introduce a “model” resolution for legislators to thwart Medicaid expansion in their state, and even writing an entire “script” for legislators to parrot in the ALEC task force meeting — contradicting ALEC’s claims to reporters last year that only legislators propose model policy, and demonstrating that such claims are merely a talking point.
CMD long suspected Vukmir had records pertaining to the Medicaid resolution, and her initial failure to disclose them helped prompt CMD’s lawsuit. It also motivated CMD to continue pursuing the case even after Senator Vukmir tried to claim immunity from any suit to enforce the open records law.
Throughout last year Senator Vukmir repeatedly claimed in statements to the press that she had “produced all records subject to [the] open records request” that gave rise to CMD’s case. However, as part of the settlement (where Vukmir agreed to pay $2,500 in damages), she not only released records pertaining to the Medicaid resolution, but also more than 100 pages of other documents that had been withheld.