ALEC: The Libertarian Powerhouse that No One Covers

Blogging’s been a little light today because I’ve spent the morning at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s D.C. meeting. I came, in part, because it seemed odd that no one was really covering this. Newt Gingrich gave a speech this week , which is not a rare occurrence in D.C., and that got covered. But no one else seemed to be attending the sessions where conservative state legislators were taking notes on the most effective way to roll back federal regulations and challenge the federal government. These legislators are part of the biggest sweep in generations, taking or affirming control of state government in most of the country .

How many legislators were here? I asked, and was at first told that around 900 people were in attendance, which would include a lot of private sector attendees, then told that number of legislators was not public information. But I talked to several legislators who informed me how many of their peers had shown up for three days of briefings on topics like “EPA’s Regulatory Assault” and “A Tax in Sheep’s Clothing: How Extended Producer Responsibility Mandates Can Hurt Consumers and Businesses.” The election swept in 25 new Republican members of the Wisconsin state assembly; five of them were here.

“I’ve learned a few things,” said Daniel Knodl, a second-term assemblyman from Wisconsin. “For example, I hadn’t heard about this idea of forming interstate compacts to opt out before.” He was referring to a fairly new spin on the compact idea, being pushed first by libertarian think-tankers in Texas, that would have states declaring a federal government intervention illegal, forming a compact with another state that was taking the same approach, and forcing a legal showdown with the government.

I’ll hopefully have a lot more on this later.