D.J. Bettencourt’s False Equivalency: ALEC & NCSL

State House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt took to Twitter this afternoon to belittle his opponents (with an ironic #changethetone hashtag). His scorn was directed at organizations like Granite State Progress who have shed light on the number of House bills taken verbatim from model legislation written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Bettencourt dismissed the complaints as “silly” and compared Republicans’ reliance on ALEC model legislation to House Democratic Leader Terie Norelli leading the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The Center for Media and Democracy¬†demolishes the notion that those two organizations are, in any way, similar or equivalent.

ALEC Has Corporate Leaders and Members, who Vote on Bills Behind Closed Doors, While NCSL Does Not

NCSL is run by an Executive Committee made up of legislators only. Corporations and their lobbyists are not members of NCSL committees. NCSL rarely if ever develops “model” legislation, but it does widely share its governance rules and substantive policy positions online.

ALEC has crowed that it gives business “an unparalleled opportunity to have its voice heard, and its perspective appreciated” in changes to state laws. Its model bills and resolutions have been published in state houses across the country, but without disclosing that they were approved through ALEC…

ALEC Is Funded Almost Entirely by Corporations, While NCSL Is Not

NCSL does not accept for-profit corporate members or donors. In 2010, NCSL’s general fund was $16.8 million. State legislatures contribute about $10 million a year to NCSL. Most of the remainder comes from grants from federal agencies … and from mainstream private foundations.

ALEC, on the other hand, is funded almost entirely by its corporate members. In 2009, ALEC’s revenues were $6.3 million. About one percent ($82,981) of its revenues came from dues paid by state legislators.

Almost All of ALEC’s Legislative Leaders are Republicans, While NCSL’s Leadership Is Strictly Bipartisan

NCSL is led by a fully bipartisan group of legislators through an “Executive Committee.” Each year, the chair of NCSL’s Executive Committee rotates between Republican and Democratic legislators.

ALEC is led jointly by a corporate board and a 23-member public board. All of the public board members are Republican legislators. … In all, ALEC’s legislative leadership is 103 Republicans and one Democrat.