Echoing ALEC's Playbook
How Scott Walker Changed the Rules to Make It More Difficult to Hold Corporations
Accountable for Injuring or Killing Wisconsin Residents

By Lisa Graves
On New Year’s weekend in 2011, many Wisconsinites were focused on the Badgers’ return to the Rose Bowl or whether the Green Bay Packers would beat the Detroit Lions and get another chance to win the Super Bowl, but the incoming administration of Governor Scott Walker had other, bigger contests on its agenda.  In mid-winter, while many in the state were worried about who would win or lose the big games, Walker’s team was preparing to change state law in numerous ways, including make it easier for corporations to win cases and limit their damages if their products injure or kill people in Wisconsin.

Walker did not think up these changes to Wisconsin personal injury law all by himself.  Key provisions of his “tort reform” package were previously drafted by lawyers or lobbyists for the global corporations that are part of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).1

As the Center for Media and Democracy has documented, ALEC is no ordinary corporate front group.2  It is a “corporate lobby masquerading as a charity,”3 and over 98% of its revenue comes from corporations and sources other than legislative dues, even though it has called itself the largest independent group of state legislators in the country.4  Dues are tax-deductible, as a 501(c)(3); ALEC has routinely told the IRS it does no lobbying,5 while boasting that it gets nearly 1,000 state bills introduced and hundreds passed each year.6  Through ALEC, corporate lobbyists vote as equals with legislators on “model” bills behind closed doors; and state elected officials who are leaders of ALEC have a “duty,” under its published bylaws, to get its model bills introduced and made into law.7     

When asked if the Governor’s proposed changes to the rules for Wisconsinites injured by corporations relied on ALEC “model” legislation, his 28-year old spokesman Cullen Werwie said, “absolutely not.”8 Walker is an alumni of ALEC from his Assembly days.9

Despite such public denials, CMD discovered through “open records” requests that ALEC staffers urged state lawmakers to vote for Walker’s tort reform bill because it “includes numerous provisions that reflect ALEC's civil justice reform policy and model legislation.”10 For the past year, CMD has documented ALEC’s influence in the state.

January 2011, the Launch of the Walker/ALEC Agenda for the State
On Monday, January 3, 2011, the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Shirley Abrahamson, administered the oath of office to Walker, and he gave his first speech as governor. He emphasized that the Wisconsin Constitution recognizes that the “blessings of a free government can only be maintained by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue.”11 Walker highlighted the values of “frugality and moderation,” as he announced his call for the legislature to enact his jobs plan, which he said “provides relief from taxation, regulation, and litigation costs for employers.”12

Within hours of Walker declaring Wisconsin “open for business,”13 Speaker Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald – who was sworn in by Justice David Prosser, a controversial judge and former legislator seeking re-election14 – told the Assembly to prepare for a “wild two-year ride,” which could be the most difficult but most rewarding session of their careers.15 Rep. Fitzgerald is a member of ALEC, like his brother, Senator Scott Fitzgerald. 

At the time, Walker had been secretly preparing for his efforts to “divide and conquer”16 Wisconsin workers by limiting collectively bargaining and advancing ALEC’s agenda against unions.17 These moves would lead Democratic senators to break the senate’s quorum by leaving the state, spur over a hundred thousand Wisconsinites to protest at the Capitol18 -- which helped ignite protests in Ohio that blocked as similar law enacted by Governor John Kasich, an ALEC alum19 -- and help launch Occupy Wall Street.20

It would also lead to over a million signatures to recall Walker21 (an election test he survived by raising millions from out of state donors and dramatically outspending his opponent, who was also outspent by special interest groups, such as PACs and the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity22).  It would also lead to the successful recall of three state senators, the most ever recalled in a single year in U.S. history, which flipped the senate. 

But, back on inauguration day in 2011, Walker would issue his first Executive Order invoking a “special session” under Articles IV and V of the state Constitution.23 That executive order referenced seven legislative agenda items, at least three of which tracked key provisions in ALEC agenda. These include the Super-Majority Act,24 the Economic Impact Statement Act,25 and Walker’s omnibus bill on tort reform.

That Executive Order held back his plans to bust public employee unions in the state until after the Packers won the Super Bowl when, in Walker’s own words to his political allies, he would “drop the bomb,”26 foretold in his secret divide-and-conquer comments to the billionaire eager for Wisconsin to become a totally “red” state. Notably, Walker would later say Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was his hero because he had powers to change workers’ rights through executive order rather than through the legislative process.27

One of his other major acts on inauguration day was to authorize Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to file a brief in a suit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).28 ALEC, too, has made fighting the ACA a top priority, and its brief to the U.S. Supreme Court and the one joined by Van Hollen echo each other’s arguments.29        

Tort Reform à la Walker/ALEC: Days to Pass but Years in the Making
Walker’s first executive order on January 3rd, specified several legal changes as his top priorities30 for his soon-to-be introduced omnibus tort bill that echoed ALEC models:

  • Limiting damages beyond lost wages that can be awarded when elderly nursing home patients die from neglect, even though older Wisconsinites cannot be to easily show economic damages such as lost income (extending ideas in ALEC’s “Non-Economic Damages Act”31)
  • Limiting liability of companies that make products with common ingredients where the brand may be difficult to ascertain over time -- as with brain damage-causing lead paint – by limiting courts from relying on “risk-contribution” (see ALEC “Product Liability Act”32)
  • Limiting punitive damages even where a jury finds intentional corporate misconduct or gross negligence (similar to ALEC’s “Punitive Damages Act”33)
  • Limiting who can testify as an expert (similar to ALEC’s “Expert Testimony Standards Act”34)

By Tuesday, January 4, 2011, Walker’s 31-page tort bill was circulating.35 It was the very first bill introduced in the Senate and it was also the first bill in the Assembly (AB 1).   

ALEC members, ALEC Scholarships, and ALEC’s Agenda
SB 1’s lead sponsor from day one was state Senator Rich Zipperer.  As of 2011, according to a list of members of ALEC’s “Civil Justice Task Force,” Zipperer had a seat on that task force, which over time had approved the model bills noted above.36 By the Wednesday after Walker’s inauguration, six other state senators joined Sen. Zipperer in being listed as “coauthors” of the bill, all of whom were ALEC members of ALEC or its task forces37 and two more senators would soon join the bill, ALEC members as well.38 (Zipperer would also later attempt to change Wisconsin law to bar suit for Wisconsin residents injured or killed by FDA-approved prescription drugs, another ALEC model.)39

As CMD discovered, Zipperer and numerous other Wisconsin legislators had previously received “scholarship” funds for his travel to meet with ALEC corporate lobbyists and legislative members.40 CMD has filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board arguing that such gifts violate Wisconsin’s clean government rules.41

Through open records requests, CMD discovered which corporations had secretly donated to such scholarship funds and the list includes companies seeking to limit their legal liability for products that harm or kill people, including Pfizer, Wyeth, Altria, SC Johnson & Sons, Inc., Eli Lilly, and PhRMA.42  CMD also obtained information that revealed which legislators, like Sen. Zipperer, had received valuable reimbursement for hotel and airfare, worth $1000 or so.43  That’s a lot of money in a state where corporate lobbyists typically are barred from buying lawmakers even a cup of coffee. 

ALEC’s Wisconsin Leaders and Its Corporate Members
As CMD has documented, Senator Scott Fitzgerald and Rep. Mike Huebsch were ALEC’s state co-chairs when Walker was elected, under ALEC’s public bylaws they were charged with a duty to get ALEC bills introduced and to help raise money for ALEC scholarships and distribute them. By early 2011, Rep. RobinVos became ALEC’s state co-chair, tasked with working with Rep. Scott Suder and lobbyists Amy Boyer and Byron Wornson, who have represented ALEC members Koch Industries and Pfizer, respectively, plus other ALEC companies.44

The public interest group Common Cause also discovered task force rosters indicating that other Wisconsin legislators with a seat on the Civil Justice Task Force as of 2011 include Rep. Andre Jacque, Rep. Chris Kapenga, Rep. Mike Endsley, and Rep. Mike Kuglitsch.45 That roster lists the following corporate members of the task force: Koch Industries (with four representatives, three from Koch Companies Public Sector and one for Georgia Pacific), Altria (two reps), PhRMA (two reps), GlazoSmith Kline (two), Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Merck, Bayer Health Care, Roche Diagnostics, Crown, Cork & Seal (two), ExxonMobil, Honeywell International, Inc. (two), State Farm Insurance (two), Farmers Insurance Group (two), TASER International, and others.46  

These are not all of the “private sector” members of this ALECtask force.  The corporate defense firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP, included four reps -- Victor Schwartz, Mark Behrens, Phil Goldberg, Cary Silverman -- and other trade groups they have worked closely with were also represented: U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (four reps), the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) (two reps), The Federal Society (two reps), Lawyers for Civil Justice, National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the Pacific Research Institute, and PriceWaterhouseCooper’s Civil Justice Reform Group (two reps).47

At ALEC Task Force meetings, the private sector has an equal vote with the public sector members; no bill can become an ALEC “model” without the support of the corporations. 

At the ALEC meeting spring task force meeting in 2011, one of the agenda items was “Tort Reform in the States” with a presentation on “Wisconsin Straight out of the Gates,” with Andy Cook of the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council listed as the presenter.48  For years, Schwartz has co-chaired this task force alongside Ohio state Senator Bill Seitz.

(Notably, Johnson & Johnson was a long-standing member of this ALEC task force but it has since resigned. Its departure from ALEC came in the wake of increased attention by the civil rights group Color of Change, after CMD connected the dots between the Florida “Stand Your Ground”/“Castle Doctrine” law and ALEC’s model bill,49 as well as ALEC’s legislation to make it more difficult for American citizens to vote through restrictive Voter ID laws modeled on ALEC’s template.50 As of June 24, 2012, 20 corporations, four non-profit organizations, and 55 legislators have left ALEC this year.51

Walker’s Tort Bill Moves Quickly, along with an Endorsement by ALEC
The week after inauguration, on January 11, ALEC sent an “urgent” alert to ALEC legislators in Wisconsin, noting that it “supports” the bill.52  The email, which was not publicly known at the time, was sent from “ALEC’s Civil Justice Task Force,” and it took credit for key components of the bill advanced by Governor Walker, as follows:

  • “Many of the reforms encompassed by [the bill] have foundation in ALEC model legislation.”
  • The bill “contains numerous provisions that reflect ALEC’s civil justice reform policy and model legislation.

It also referenced a number of ALEC bills with provisions in common with the bill introduced in Wisconsin.  The email also asserted, without any evidence, that passing the bill would “restore confidence for businesses as the economy struggles to recover [and] pave the way for job creation in Wisconsin.”  The bill was sent to “Wisconsin members” and it was flagged for Sen. Fitzgerald, who then flagged for his staffers.  As of the last count, 49 of the state’s 132 legislators were not just ALEC members but were leaders with a seat on ALEC’s various task forces.  The full list of ALEC members in the Capitol is not public.

That ALEC letter was sent in preparation for the hearing scheduled that day on the bill, the only hearing that would be held on the bill’s far-reaching changes. In all, twenty-two people entered an appearance in support of the bill, including two private sector members of ALEC, Carey Silverman of ATRA and NFIB, represented by its state director, Bill Smith.  There is no indication that they told the public tha they were members of ALEC, let alonehow the bill echoed ALEC's model bills in key provisions. The Wisconsin Defense Counsel (WDC) and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) also supported the bill, along with representatives from the medical and hospital industries, in addition to those who registered their support for the bill.

Which influential group that had privately broadcasted its support was not listed in public as registering support at the hearing or through public records53 maintained by the Government Accountability Board?  ALEC. 

Of the organizations that disclosed their time in lobbying for the bill, the top ten groups that spent the most time lobbying all supported the bill.  These include the Wisconsin Civil Justice Counsel, which spent 125 hours lobbying for the bill, followed by WDC, the Wisconsin Hospital Association, NL Industries (which makes titanium paint pigments), the Sherwyn Williams Company, Xcel Energy, NFIB, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, BP (through the Atlantic Richfield Company), and Aurora Health Care Inc. 

There is no estimate of how much time ALEC spent on lobbying because it does not register in Wisconsin as a lobbyist and it has clamed to the IRS that it does no lobbying whatsoever.54  

Thirty-one opponents of the bill appeared at the hearing, including Nancy Rottier the Director of State Courts, several representatives of the Wisconsin Association of Justice, the AFL-CIO, and Disability Rights Wisconsin, in addition to representatives of elderly Wisconsin residents who would be affected by the bills limits on liability for nursing home residents killed or injured in skilled nursing facilities in the state.  In addition, the Wisconsin Farmers Union opposed the bill, noting how the bill would limit the remedies and procedural rights of farmers injured by defective equipment or stray voltage.  Numerous opposing witnesses expressed deep concerns about the impact of the bill on the families of Wisconsin senior citizens. 

And, as Sen. Fred Risser complained, the Republican leadership held only one 30-minute executive session before rushing the bill to a final vote.55 The legislature considered possible amendments to the bill.  Every amendment to change the bill offered by Democratic senators was defeated or tabled and every Republic amendment passed, almost entirely along party lines with the Republicans in the majority in both houses.

On January 18, the Senate passed the bill on a party-line vote, 19-14. Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller issued a statement observing that, “Under the guise of ‘jobs’ and ‘business climate’ the Senate Republicans voted to approve changes to state law that create no jobs but could result in great harm to our seniors, families and the ability of law enforcement to keep our streets safe. By voting to defeat amendments to specifically fix these flaws, we can only conclude that’s what they want to do.”

Two days later, the Assembly passed the bill, 57-36, with Rep. Fitzgerald claiming the bill was “about getting people back to work・and Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca responding, “Nobody is going to go to work tomorrow because this bill passes . . .・Governor Walker’s statement that night said the bill would help the private sector to create jobs・and would refute supposed claims that Wisconsin was the ‘Alabama of the North.’・ 

The final bill limited punitive damages to $200,000 or twice any compensatory damages, whichever is greater.  Notably, when Walker ran for office, one of his talking points was about ending “frivolous lawsuits” saying “we need to do more to block frivolous lawsuits, and we need true tort reform to help lower health care costs.” But, punitive damages have nothing to do with the “frivolous” suits; they only apply where a jury finds deliberate misconduct or gross negligence, and yet Walker’s bill puts a very low limit on such damages, no matter how egregious the corporation’s conduct or how enormous the company is and whether that amount of damages would act as any kind of deterrent.  For example, Koch Industries’ makes over $200,000 in revenue in a matter of hours

Walker Signs the Law and ALEC Applauds; Where Are the Promised Jobs?
On January 27, ALEC issued a press release commending Walker and the legislature on passing the bill.  Notably absent from the praise was any mention of how the bill was based on ALEC’s model legislation, which the organization had extolled to Wisconsin legislators in its secretive communications.  Again, ALEC claimed the bill would have a significant impact on Wisconsin’s “economic viability” “reigniting the state’s sluggish economy” paving “the way the for job creation. . . .”  ALEC has subsequently removed that press release from its website, but it is on file with CMD.56

Walker campaigned for office on claims he would create at least 250,000 jobs in the state by the end of his term, but the first act introduced and passed in his administration was not actually a bill to bring or increase jobs in the state.  Instead, it limits the legal liability of corporations located anywhere in the world whose products harm Wisconsin residents. The bill’s changes to the law benefit corporations regardless of whether the company employs anyone in the state or just sells harmful goods in the state. 

As the president of the Wisconsin Association for Justice, Mike End, noted: “Let's face it, every company looking to cut corners in order to make a bigger buck can come to Wisconsin without worry that they will be held accountable for seriously injuring or killing you or a member of your family.”57  The former governor, Jim Doyle, had previously vetoed components of the tort reform package, noting how the provisions would take away incentives for industries to produce and market safer products and make it harder for juries to assess potential experts, particularly in criminal cases.58  

Although the Walker administration asserted that passing the bill would not cost taxpayers anything of consequence,59 it did not take into account the impact on Wisconsin families and the Wisconsin economy of family members who are injured or killed and cannot recover damages from the corporations that should be held responsible for negligence or deliberate indifference to the consequences of their actions.  None of the fiscal estimates accounted for the possible losses of primary breadwinners or the potential that families unable to recover under the bill might need state assistance to cover medical expenses or living expenses if corporations are not held fully accountable for the harms their products or decisions may cause.    

Meanwhile, Walker claimed his “tort reform” agenda would bring jobs to the state.  But, in a recent survey by the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) about changes that might   “improve Wisconsin’s business climate,” tort reform ranked dead last, tenth of ten.60

In Walker’s first year, Wisconsin ranked dead last in job creation out of all 50 states.61

But the fact that changing the rights of citizens injured by corporations has not been shown to create jobs anywhere in the U.S. did not stop Walker and his allies from making this claims or deter ALEC from advancing such spin in order to advance the desires of its corporate members to limit their legal liability even when they harm people. 

Lisa Graves is the Executive Director for the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), a national non-profit investigative research and reporting group headquartered in Wisconsin. She previously served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice, Chief Counsel for Nominations for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Deputy Chief of the Article III Judges Division of the U.S. Courts, as the Senior Legislative Strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union, and as the Deputy Director of the Center for National Security Studies.  She is an honors graduate of Cornell Law School and the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse. She clerked for a federal judge and at the firms of Crowell & Moring, Kirkland & Ellis, Johns & Flaherty, and Bosshard & Associates, and as an intern at the La Crosse County District Attorney’s Office.  Since late 2009, she has led CMD, which publishes its original reporting on three main websites:,, and  She is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, and she has been admitted to practice before the Seventh, Ninth, Fifth, and Fourth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeal; she does not currently practice law in Wisconsin.

 1 Mary Bottari, “ALEC Bills in Wisconsin,” (Jul. 14, 2011); see also Brendan Fischer, “ALEC and ‘Tort Reform,’” (Jul. 13, 2011).  

2 Center for Media and Democracy, “What is ALEC?,” (Jul. 13, 2012).

4 Lisa Graves, “A CMD Special Report on ALEC’s Funding and Spending,” (Jul. 13, 2011).

5 DBA Press, “ALEC IRS Forms (990s) and Articles of Incorporation” (Jul. 2011).  Its tax filings do not indicate ALEC made a 501(h) election, although it recently asserted told Advertising Age that it had done so; nevertheless, Common Cause’s legal complaint argues that evidence shows that “ALEC’s lobbying greatly surpasses any amount that is permissible.” See; see also Letter from Eric Havian of Phillips & Cohen, on behalf of Common Cause, to Ron Scheberle, ALEC (Jun. 12, 2012),

6 Center for Media and Democracy, “ALEC 101: Telling the ALEC Story” (un-annotated version originally prepared by ALEC (undated).

7 ALEC, “IRS Filing: Form 990” (2007).

8 Dan Bice, “Liberal organization links Wisconsin bills to Koch-funded group,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Jul. 13, 2011).

9 John Biewen, “Corporate-Sponsored Crime Laws,” American RadioWorks, a project of Minnesota Public Radio and NPR News (April 2002).

10 Email from Senator Scott Fitzgerald to his staffers Daniel Romportl and John Hogan, forwarding emails from ALEC staffers Bryan Weynand and Stephanie Lynn, “Wisconsin Assembly Bill1 (Tort Reform), Special Session,” (Jan. 12, 2011, and Jan. 11, 2011, respectively).

11 Wisc. Const. art. I, § 22.

12 Staff, “Text of Scott Walker’s inauguration speech,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

13 Staff, “Text of Scott Walker’s inauguration speech,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

14 Associated Press, “Walker, Republicans start fast,” Beaver Dam Daily Citizen (Jan. 3, 2011).

16 Excerpt from upcoming documentary, “As Goes Janesville,” by Brad Lichtenstein and the Independent Television Service (ITVS); see also Jason Stein and Patrick Marley, “In film, Walker talks of ‘divide and conquer’ union strategy,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (May 10, 2012). See generally documentary details at

17 See, e.g., Mary Bottari, “ALEC Bills in Wisconsin,” PRWatch (Jul. 14, 2011); Brendan Fischer, “Federal Court Strikes Down Key Provisions of Walker’s Act 10 as Unconstitutional,” PRWatch (Mar. 30, 2012); Brendan Fischer, “Koch-Funded Mackinac Center Brings Wisconsin Act 10 Provisions to ALEC,” PRWatch (May 1, 2012).  See generally 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 (Assembly Bill 11).

18 Center for Media and Democracy, “Live Reporting from the Wisconsin Protests,” PRWatch (Feb. 14, 2011 to July 13, 2011),;; photo slide shows: and; select video from the protests: also reporting in the past year on related topics:

19 Andy Kroll, “Bye Bye, SB 5: Anti-Union Law Repealed in Ohio,” Mother Jones (Nov. 9, 2011).

20 Sarah Jaffe, “How the Wisconsin Uprising Changed America and Why Its Renegade Politics Are Here to Stay,” AlterNet (Feb. 21, 2012), reviewing John Nichols, “Uprising, How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Occupy Wall Street.”

21 Mary Bottari, “One Million Petition for the Recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker,” PRWatch (Jan. 17, 2012).

23 Governor Scott Walker, “Executive Order #1” (Jan. 3, 2011).

24 Compare 2011 Wisconsin Act 9, enacted Feb 22, 2011, with ALEC, "Super Majority Act" (as of 1995). It is not clear that such a law would survive a constitutional challenge grounded in Lord Blackstone's dictate against a past majority binding a future majority's ability to legislate: "Acts of parlaiment derogatory from the power of subsequent parliaments bind not.... Because the legislature, being in truth the soverign power, is always of equal, always of absolute authority: it acknowledges no superior upon earth, which the prior legislature must ahve been, of its ordinances could bind the present parliament." William Blackstone, 1 Commentaries on the Laws of England 90 (1765), adopted in Newton v. Commissioners of Mahoning County, 100 U.S. 548 (1879) (stating "every succeeding legislature possesses the same same jurisdiction and power with respect to them as predecessors. The latter have the same power of repeal and modification, which the former had of enactment, neither more nor less. All occupy in this respect a footing of perfect equality."); see also United States v. Winstar Corp., 518 U.S. 839 (1996). See generally, John Davidson, "General Soverignty," University of Oregon. The bill is even more audacious because this ordinary statute, which seeks to require a super-majority for future tax increases, did not even pass itself by a super-majority in either the Senate or Assembly. The Senate vote was 20-12 and the Assembly vote was 57-36.  Wisconsin Legislative Documents, "Assembly Bill 5."

25 Compare with (the former is a more fleshed out version of the core provisions in the ALEC wish list that dates back to at least 1995).  The impact on the water, air, and health of Wisconsin residents of this bill is beyond the scope of this article and worthy of a detailed analysis of it in its own right.

26 Steve Schultze, “Transcript of prank call to Walker,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Feb. 23, 2011), (quoting Walker as saying “This is an exciting time. This is, I told my cabinet, I had a dinner the Sunday uh, excuse me, Monday right after the sixth. Came home from the Super Bowl where the Packers won, that Monday night I had all my cabinet over to the residence for dinner, talked about what we were going to do, how we were going to do it, we’d already kind of built plans up but it was kind of the last hurrah before we dropped the bomb. And I stood up and I pulled out a picture of Ronald Reagan, and I said, you know, this may seem a little melodramatic, but 30 years ago Ronald Reagan, whose 100th birthday we just celebrated the day before, had one of the most defining moments of his political career, not just his presidency, when he fired the air traffic controllers. And I said, to me that moment was more important than just for labor relations or even the federal budget. That was the first crack in the Berlin Wall in the fall of Communism because from that point forward the Soviets and the Communists knew that Ronald Reagan wasn’t a pushover. And I said, this may not have as broad of world applications, but in Wisconsin’s history — little did I know how big it would be nationally — Wisconsin’s history, I said, this is our moment. This is our time to change the course of history, and this is why it’s so important that they were all there. I had a cabinet meeting this morning, I reminded them of that. I said, for those who thought I was being melodramatic, you now know it was purely putting it in the right context.” Ian Murphy (posing as David Koch) said: “[Laughs] Well, I tell you what, Scott: Once you crush these bastards I’ll fly you out to Cali (California) and really show you a good time” and Walker responded: “All right, that would be outstanding. Thanks for all the support in helping us move the cause forward, and we appreciate it, and we’re doing it the just and right thing for the right reasons and it’s all about getting our freedoms back.”)

27 Mary Bottari, “Is Right to Work” Next on Walker’s Agenda,” PRWatch (May 29, 2012),

28 Letter from Governor Scott Walker to Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (Jan. 3, 2011) (authorizing suit under Wis. Stat. § 165.25(1m)) (taking the same side as ALEC).

29 See ALEC, “The State Legislators Guide to Repealing Obamacare” (2011) (on file with CMD); compare Brief for the State Respondentswith Brief for the American Legislative Exchange Council. See also

30 Governor Scott Walker, “Executive Order #1” (Jan. 3, 2011). 

35 Walker’s became Senate Bill 1.

36 Common Cause, “ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Materials for Meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio” (2011).  See generally, Common Cause “Task Force materials” (2011). 

37 Center for Media and Democracy, “ALEC Exposed in Wisconsin: The Hijacking of a State” (May 17, 2012) (referencing Sens. Lazich, Kedzie, Vukmir, Darling, and Liebham as ALEC members). 

38 Center for Media and Democracy, “ALEC Exposed in Wisconsin: The Hijacking of a State” (May 17, 2012) (referencing Sens. Olsen and Grothman as ALEC members). 

40 Center for Media and Democracy, “ALEC Exposed in Wisconsin: The Hijacking of a State” at pp. 16-17 (May 17, 2012).

41 Center for Media and Democracy, “CMD Asks Wisconsin Ethics Board to Examine Corporate-Funded Gifts to ALEC Legislators,” PRWatch (Mar. 23, 2012), (links to complaint and exhibits); Brendan Fischer, “CMD Documents ALEC’s Contradictory Claims to Wisconsin Ethics Board,” PRWatch (April 12, 2012), ; Brendan Fischer, “A CMD Special Report: ALEC's 'Scholarship' Scheme Helps Corporations Fund Legislator Trips,” PRWatch (May 7, 2012). CMD also published an investigative report about similar ethics concerns about ALEC in Ohio:  Beau Hodai, “Quid pro Status Quo: ALEC & State-Sanctioned Corruption in Ohio,” PRWatch (May 10, 2012).

42 Center for Media and Democracy, “ALEC Exposed in Wisconsin: The Hijacking of a State” at pp. 16-17 (May 17, 2012).

43 Id. at p. 16.

44 Center for Media and Democracy, “ALEC State Chairmen,”

48 Common Cause, “ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Materials for Meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio” (2011). The most recent set of agenda items for ALEC in this area has been discovered and is available here: Common Cause, “ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Materials for Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina” (2011).  

49 See, e.g., Lisa Graves, “Resources for ALEC/NRA Gun Bills,” PRWatch (Mar. 30, 2012); Lisa Graves and Nick Surgey, “ALEC Castle Doctrine (Tick Tock),” ALECexpxosed (Mar. 23, 2012); Brendan Fischer, with Lisa Graves and Nick Surgey, “ALEC Ratified the NRA-Conceived Law that May Protect Trayvon Martin’s Killer,” PRWatch (Mar. 21, 2012); Lisa Graves, “CMD Special Report: New Documents Confirm Koch was on ALEC Crime Task Force Led by NRA,” PRWatch (May 14, 2012); Lisa Graves, “CMD Special Report: ALEC’s Gun Agenda Flourished with Koch Industries on Board, as with other Koch Funded Groups,” PRWatch (May 16, 2012).

[50] E.g., Brendan Fischer, “WI Judge Halts ‘Extremely Broad and Largely Needless’ Voter ID Law,” PRWatch (Mar. 7, 2012).

52 Email from Senator Scott Fitzgerald to his staffers Daniel Romportl and John Hogan, forwarding emails from ALEC staffers Bryan Weynand and Stephanie Lynn, “Wisconsin Assembly Bill1 (Tort Reform), Special Session,” (Jan. 12, 2011, and Jan. 11, 2011, respectively).

53 Government Accountability Board, Report on Senate Bill 1 January 2011 Special Session.

54 DBA Press, “ALEC IRS Forms (990s) and Articles of Incorporation” (Jul. 2011). Its tax filings do not indicate ALEC made a 501(h) election, although it recently asserted told Advertising Age that it had done so; nevertheless, Common Cause’s legal complaint argues that evidence shows that “ALEC’s lobbying greatly surpasses any amount that is permissible.” See; see also Letter from Eric Havian of Phillips & Cohen, on behalf of Common Cause, to Ron Scheberle, ALEC (Jun. 12, 2012).

55 JR Ross, WisPolitics.

56 Click here for the previous location of this ALEC press release that has since been removed.

57 Mary Spicuzza, “Walker moves to make it harder to sue companies,” Wisconsin State Journal (Jan. 4, 2011).

58 See Josh Johanningmeier, “Governor Doyle Vetoes Liability-Reform Legislation,” Godfrey and Kahn, (Jan. 16, 2006).

60 Lisa Graves, “’Social Security is Broke’—and Other Corporate Scare Tactics,” Yes Magazine (Mar. 19, 2012), (referencing Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, “Economic Outlook Survey,” Q.9 (June 2010).

61 Media Matters for America, “Fox Spins Walker’s ‘Worst in the Nation’ Jobs Record On Eve Of Recall” (Jun. 5, 2012), (including data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Economic Policy Institute, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).


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