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Virginia Politics
Posted at 03:13 PM ET, 05/01/2012

Democrat Brian Moran’s employer has ties to conservative group ALEC

We’ve written a considerable amount about the ties between the American Legislative Exchange Council and Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly.

It turns out the conservative group also has a connection to a prominent Democrat in Virginia.


Virginia State Democratic Party Chairman Brian Moran helps deliver petitions to the State Board of Elections at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Friday, Dec. 2, 2011. (Steve Helber - AP)

Brian Moran, former legislator and current chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, is a top ranking executive with a for-profit college group that is an ALEC member.

Many Democrats across the state and nation have criticized the group that has been under fire in recent weeks.(The state party distributed a video recently of House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Howell) insulting a liberal activists who had been critical of the group.)

But Moran told the Post he has never attended an ALEC event either as a legislator or representative of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities.

“I would not be comfortable there, nor would they probably want me there,’’ Moran said. “I hold very different views from those espoused by ALEC.’’

The members of ALEC, which calls itself a pro-business, free-market organization, include legislators and private companies. Corporate members pay fees, which give them a say on the group’s position on legislative issues.

Several corporations have halted their support of ALEC following scrutiny of “Stand Your Ground” self-defense laws after the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. The group had lobbied for similar laws in other states.

The advocacy organization Common Cause released a slew of documents Friday about ALEC, including those that show Moran’s group joined ALEC’s education task force around August 2010.

In December of that same year, the education task force unanimously passed a “Resolution in Support of Private Sector Colleges and Universities

Moran, executive vice president of government relations and general counsel, isn’t mentioned on the attendee lists but two other employees were.

At least 115 current or former members of the Virginia General Assembly have ties to ALEC, either by sponsoring bills, attending conferences or paying membership dues, according to a study by ProgressVA. The state has spent $232,000 during the past decade to send legislators, primarily members of the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, to ALEC conferences and meetings.

ProgressVA used data from a national report to identify more than 60 Virginia bills that ALEC helped author. Those bills included a piece of legislation calling for companies that hire illegal immigrants to be shut down, and another that would give businesses tax credits to fund private school tuition for needy students. Virtually all of the bills were introduced by Republicans.

Seven bills that ALEC helped author passed in the General Assembly, including measures on education, taxes and health care, according to the study by ProgressVA. One of the resulting laws laid the groundwork for Virginia’s legal challenge of the federal health-care law passed in 2010.

(The Washington Post Co. operates for-profit schools through its Kaplan subsidiary. Kaplan was previously a member of ALEC, but recently disclosed that it no longer is.)

By  |  03:13 PM ET, 05/01/2012

Tags:  Virginia Democrats, Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, higher education

 
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