Abstract for: Eroding Public Services: Modelling the Rise of the American Legislative Exchange Council in the United States Legislatures

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a conservative lobbying group in the United States that favours corporate interest on the state level. The organisation has been referred to as a ‘bill mill’ which is an organisation that drafts model bills for state legislators to use. These bills are often drafted in cooperation with firms and businesses to make bills that undemocratically favour corporate interests. These bills are then sent to members in state legislatures and pass without much resistance. Thus, it is often critiqued for circumventing the democratic process by not considering the local mandates of politicians. This project aimed to create a conceptual model that demonstrates the mechanisms and reinforcing structure that aids in ALECs success throughout the 21st century. The findings demonstrate that ALEC uses its influence to reduce state budgets for politicians so that they do not have sufficient resources to effectively perform their duties. In turn, these politicians join ALEC as they provide said resources. The more legislative members that join ALEC the greater the access is to the political process, which in turn results in greater influence. In the analysis, different scenarios are run to find leverage points in the structure to see how potential policies can reduce ALECs influence in the United States.