Monday, July 25, 2011

ALEC Arizona: Demand for Transparency and Accountability

Los Comités de Defensa del Barrio

Boycott Commission

Press Advisory
For Immediate Release
Date: Monday July 25, 2011

ALEC Arizona:
Community Demand for Transparency and Accountability 

Phoenix, AZ - Following in the wake of recent revelations by the Center for Media and Democracy that have exposed the immoral collusion between private prison industry lobby groups with ties to the American Legislative Council (ALEC) and state legislators across the country, the Boycott Commission of Los Comités en Defensa del Barrio today have requested that all current Arizona state legislators be immediately forthcoming in making public their association, participation, or membership in the ALEC consortium.  A deadline of July 29, 2011 has been extended to all elected state official to address and respond publicly regarding their ties with ALEC.

The date of July 29, 2011 coincides with the anniversary of the date when AZ SB1070 was to be implemented, a piece of legislation which was crafted in the bowels ALEC and then imported into the Arizona State legislature by AZ Senate President Russell Pearce.  The call today by the Boycott Commission of the CDB is for transparency and accountability for the economic interests that have been profiteering through contracts with the private prison industry in cahoots with law enforcement personalities and financial institutions across the state.

Besides the openly acknowledged association with the ALEC by state Senator Pearce, today’s demand for accountability is also directed to Arizona State Governor Jan Brewer, and the professional lobbyists working at the Arizona Legislature for the Corrections Corporation for America (CCA) such as Chuck Coughlin of HighGround.

“Prior to release of ALEC documents by the Center for Media & Democracy, NPR conducted an undercover investigation of Pearce and Coughlin's role in making deals with CCA lobbyists to enlist ALEC in drafting of SB1070. This investigation was released in a 2-part series October 2010 -- less than a week before the Nov. 2 gubernatorial election. Coughlin effectively blocked media reports so most voters never had access to this information until now. The outcome went as planned: Jan Brewer became our governor.”

The quote continues:

SB1070 was never about immigration. It was formulated for the express purpose of creating "demand" for private prisons through the rounding up of detainees for profit. It required elaborate storytelling about headless bodies in the desert and assorted scare tactics that have separated neighbor from neighbor -- needlessly and heartlessly -- for political gain. What are we protecting ourselves from through enabling these immoral practices that have divided our state and our people?”

A year later, in spite of a partial injunction that came as a result of the federal lawsuit against SB1070, community members testify to the fact that the criminalization of the community is in fact in full effect and worsening.  

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