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ALEC Lobbyists Sneaking Around Albany and NY State Democrats Want It Stopped

Phillip Dampier June 27, 2012 Astroturf, Consumer News, Public Policy & Gov't, Verizon 2 Comments

Squadron

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative business-funded lobbying group, has been sneaking around New York’s state capital pretending to be a charity when it is in reality responsible for authoring at least 39 bills during the current session of the legislature.

Sen. Dan Squadron, the ranking Democrat on the state Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee told the Wall Street Journal the corporate-backed group should be registered a lobbying group and not a charity.

“You know they say if it looks like a duck quacks like a duck, it must be a lobbyist,” said Sen. Bill Perkins, a Manhattan Democrat. “As such it is required to be registered, and its activities are required to be transparent, and apparently that is not what’s happening right now.”

ALEC provides legislators with corporate-written sample legislation that elected officials can use as templates to produce their own bills that favor corporate interests. The group claims a 20 percent success rate getting bills passed through the New York State Legislature, which is not bad in a legislative body legendary for its dysfunction.

Maziarz

Common Cause New York says it will file a formal complaint next week with state ethics officials about ALEC’s failure to properly register itself as a lobbying group.

That brought a strong response from ALEC, which accused Common Cause of being part of a grand liberal conspiracy with George Soros to harass and silence the group.

Two state senators with reportedly close ties to ALEC are Sen. George Maziarz, a Republican from Niagara County, and ALEC state chairman Sen. Owen Johnson, a Long Island Republican.

Maziarz, who accepts campaign contributions from Verizon Communications, was in the middle of a 2010 dispute over a proposed Verizon data center to be built in Somerset, N.Y. Maziarz sided with Verizon and verbally attacked one of his constituents who opposed the pace of the project, and its lack of a complete environmental impact review.

Verizon ultimately changed its mind about the project after purchasing Terremark, which operates data centers.

Currently there are 2 comments on this Article:

  1. Loons In June! says:

    “Maziarz, who accepts campaign contributions from Verizon Communications, was in the middle of a 2010 dispute over a proposed Verizon data center to be built in Somerset, N.Y. Maziarz sided with Verizon and verbally attacked one of his constituents who opposed the pace of the project, and its lack of a complete environmental impact review.”

    You unfairly portray Maziarz. A $4 Billion investment in that area would have been a very good thing for the local economy. As it was the one individual constituent managed to scare off an investment that would have provided local income and jobs.

    • It was never going to happen. The moment Verizon partnered with Terremark in early summer 2010 (soon to acquire the company outright), the data center issue was dead. It was worth dangling that carrot to try and win more legislative and tax concessions from NYS. They took, and pulled, the same project from Wyoming in favor of Terremark, and the two states couldn’t be more different as far as business-favorable legislative climates go.

      It didn’t hurt Verizon (or Maziarz) to portray the change as the fault of one local neighbor and NYS regulatory policy.

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