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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  January 23, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PST

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you tonight, these stories are not hard to follow, are they? that's hardball for now, thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes. we have breaking news tonight on the unfolding scandal in new jersey. dawn zimmer has said through her office to us that she has been requested by the u.s. attorney's office to do not do any further media interviews. yet another indicator of the serious turn the story has taken. if she's going to talk, the u.s. attorney prefers she do her talking with them. the christie administration now facing 20 subpoenas from the state assembly, all to his inner circle, which will have to be produced by february third. the inspector general has requested an investigation into
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the explosive allegations from dawn zimmer. it's not surprising that dawn zimmer has become target number one for those pushing back to defend chris christie. >> mayor zimmer just shortly before she made this revelation said she didn't believe any holdup in the funds had anything to do with any kind of retribution for not endorsing the governor. >> this is a lady mayor who asked for $127 million of hazard mitigation money from the governor to give that to her from the federal money, when the state was only receiving in its entirety $300 million. >> i'm sorry -- >> is there any reason you don't come on the megyn kelly show. >> the megyn kelly show hounding dawn estimator a couple days ago. one mayor -- >> i think this story is farfetched, i'll be honest with
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you. you. >> don't believe her? >> no, my relationship with the governor and his staff has been one of the best. >> he didn't say lady mayor. >> dawn zimmer has alleged that governor christie has withheld sandy money in order to fast track a development for a company that has hired david samson and one of the christie administration's closest advisers. the main counterclaim against dawn zimmer is this, from a statement which reads in part. governor christie and his entire administration have been helping hoboken get the help they need after sandy. already approved for $70 million for federal aide. $70 million, it appears we have a he said she said.
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hoboken got plenty of money. who is right? let's look at the numbers. starting with the christie administration's reference to $70 million. most of that money is literally a separate stream of funds. $43 million is from the national flood insurance program. it's nearly automatic, and it's not money in anyway controlled by the christie administration. most of the $70 million went to local individuals and businesses as opposed to the city. it's apples and oranges. or it's also not responsive to zimmer's accusation, which is that the christie administration withheld funds under its control as punishment for zimmer on pushing their favorite real estate project. dawn zimmer is referring to a separate stream of money, the part the christie administration allocated. she's saying that for the millions in hazard mitigation. hoboken got far less than it's fair share. if the u.s. attorney is looking into possible illegal behavior, the governor is using taxpayer money to expedite a project for
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someone well connected and to punish a mayor and it should be noted importantly, hoboken citizens, if that mayor proved unwilling to cooperate and expediting that private project. now, it could be true, if dawn zimmer's lying. she said she would take a lie detector test the u.s. attorney seems to be taking it seriously. we do now know the $70 million is irrelevant to this argument, and laughably misleading on its face. here's what's been missing in this conversation over the last few days. this sandy relief money was from the federal government. federal taxpayer money, you watching from seattle, omaha, miami. we all pay for it together. and rightly so. we wanted to help the citizens of new jersey and new york and all the places that were devastated by super storm sandy. this was appropriated by congress after a huge epic political battle in which governor christie was on the winning right side after an initial feet dragging by house republicans.
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>> last night the house of representatives failed the most basic test of public service, and they did so with callous indifference to the suffering of the people of my state. >> this is about billions of dollars in federal funds, a poultry amount of transparency thus far on how it's being spent and how it's being used. we now have a credible accusation that governor chris christie is using these federal funds appropriated by his office to enrich private developers and punish political opposition. if it's credible enough for a u.s. attorney to talk to dawn zimmer for two hours on a sunday holiday weekend? it's credible enough for a congressional oversight committee to look into it. where is darrell issa? there needs to be a federal oversight and accounting of
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where this money is going and how it is being dispersed. joining me now is now a distinguished fellow. progressive think tank. steve, i'll begin with you, because you guys, i find the most nonpartisan incredible kind of government waste group in washington. and you and i had a conversation, i remember having you on my weekend show when the sandy bill was being fought, and you said, there's a lot of stuff in here that shouldn't be in here, and you also said, there's not a lot of transparency about how this money is going to be spent. do we know how it's being used in new jersey or anywhere? >> no, chris, we don't. and that problem is still there, and interestingly enough, the man who's been tasked with overseeing it for the federal government, shaun donovan, i had an opportunity to ask him a question about that very issue last week, and he said that while we recommended increased transparency in the next disaster. so in really isn't -- there's a amount of data available. we've been trying to track it, going through the new jersey site it's equally frustrating to try to figure out what is our taxpayer dollars actually buying, what are we getting for that $50 billion that was approved in the sandy
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supplemental. >> fair share housing centers had to sue the christie administration to get some data to allow them to calculate racial disparities. it's amazing to me that we had this huge political fight about the sandy money. we were covering it here on the network, the money got allocated, and again, my concern isn't that we're wasting government money. my concern is, there are people who need the money, there are important things that must be done to mitigate against future disasters, and i'm not convinced based on this accusation that we know enough to be able to judge whether that's actually happening. >> i agree with you, the people who have been forgotten in this whole situation are the folks
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who were in trouble as a result of the storm. the fact of the lack of transparency in terms of how the money is dispersed is what makes it possible for people to engage in shenanigans when it comes to disbursing that money. we don't know what happens because there's a vail in front of it. think going to follow the money, and we're going to find out whether the christie administration played games with sandy funds. >> steve, you're in washington, and you know how dogged certain members of congress can be about waste, fraud and abuse. do you expect we're going to see some congressional hearings? oversight hearings? the appointment of an inspector general. someone who has a role to oversee and transparently account for where sandy money is going, particularly now that we have a very explosive allegation about its misuse? >> i certainly think the inspector's generals of the various departments will engauge in oversight and accountability. unfortunately, congress didn't
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give the recovery act transparency board that did the recovery act oversight, they charged them with doing sandy oversight, they didn't give them the teeth they had before, and that's unfortunate. also congress needs to step up certainly this is a perfect opportunity to conduct oversight into the administration, and oversight in how they spent the money. one last thing on this is shocking, when you look at the numbers, and according to the federal government's own data, that as of the end of november, only 16% of the money, that 50 billion that was passed a year ago has actually been spent. has actually been outlaid to affect people affected by sandy. >> it's just the mismatch between the amount appropriated and the amount that's gotten to people, and we talk to folks that are living in a trailer in new jersey since hurricane happened more than a year ago. i want to note something, there was supposed to be a subcommittee hearing for the office of homeland security, about sandy, lessons learned,
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what had happened in the recovery, that was scheduled for january 14th, the republican chair of that committee cancelled that hearing, it's been indefinitely postponed. i'd like to read a statement for congressman paine of new jersey. it was extremely disappointing the hearing on hurricane sandy relief was cancelled. as many parts of my district are underwater, too many people have been displaced from their homes. i fought very hard after hurricane sandy, i'm hopeful the hearing will be rescheduled as soon as possible to ensure that money is being funded properly. >> they should have no problems. but what has really happened, and we've seen it pretty clearly now, even though we don't have the details is that there was all kinds of politicking going on. in connection with the sandy funds. that's what that whole dance was that chris christie did with president obama, which is what projected him into the front
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ranks of the presidential race as a prospect. there was that video that amounted to a campaign video that was paid for with sandy funds that featured the governor. >> stronger than the storm. >> and then, of course, we have the allegations with dawn zimmer, it remains to be seen what's going on here. this whole thing has been politicized from the beginning, and it goes back to your point about forgetting the people that were in need. >> you mentioned the fact that christie's reaction to the storm afterwards, particularly appearing with the president is what catapulted him. basically what you see, if we put up there, you see the huge bump that happens, that's sandy. you see the huge decline that happens, that's the bridge scandal. what's happened, you've had this guy, the storm hit, he became
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this nationally popular figure, someone who was reaching across the aisle, and this has completely erased what happened, the political benefit he got from that, there's some kind of grim irony in that. you said a moment ago about who should step up. who specifically in congress? i mean, it wasn't the generalized congress that stepped up to make sure the recovery act was audited to within an inch of its life. someone specifically in congress should do this, who? >> you already mentioned, chairman issa has certainly done a lot of work in government oversight and reform about tracking the money, and also, the committees should be doing this, they're the ones that wrote the checks initially. there's the homeland security and government affairs committee in the senate. those are the committees that i think would be the most likely, and most appropriate to be tackling this issue. and, you know, the thing b is about transparency and accountability, the truth will set you free, this wouldn't be a problem, and as bob said, there wouldn't be these shenanigans if it was easy to track where the money goes.
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>> exactly. >> and not just that, but it's a way we can be sure we're rebuilding smarter, better. we see where the money is going, and can challenge that and learn from it in the future. >> good luck, if you, like myself and our staff today are tasked with trying to figure out, where, who's right here about the money, and -- good luck, using the state of new jersey's web tools to find that out, really, good luck. bob, thank you. >> thank you. conservatives say the changes that are meant to fix the voting rights act will discriminate against white voters. what? that story is ahead. i bought a car, comes over... and you're like. if you're getting... a good deal or not. led up... truecar.com. all the information... you should be paying.
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in 2012, then governor bob mcdonnell of virginia gave a speech where he got pretty sentimental about something. >> the virginia way. it's something we all talk about a lot. it's something that all the governors before me and all the great work that you know that they did, that they recounted for you, that they did, have all
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embraced. it's been a tradition of civility and cooperation that's been alive now for two centuries in virginia. >> the virginia way, alive for two centuries until he killed it by becoming the first governor in that state's history to be indicted on corruption charges. how the virginia way actually enabled him up next.
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there are two kinds of states in this great republic of ours, states where a sitting or former governor has been indicted and states that have never had a governor indicted. take the state of illinois, my former home, for instance.
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where governors have a pretty high propensity for breaking the law. since 1960, they have elected nine governors, five have been convicted. with rod blagojevich serving a 14-year sentence. then there's the state of virginia, until yesterday, they never had a governor face charges. that's a streak of 72 governors stretching back to thomas jefferson. virginia politicos refer to something they call the virginia way. an institutional culture that gave rise, to do the work of lobbying. now that bob mcdonnell has been hit with a multiple count indictment, charged with repeatedly asking a virginia executive for loans and gifts, in exchange for helping out his company, the virginia way may be less about noble civility and more about stuff like this. maureen mcdonnell noticed a watch and asked what kind it
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would be, she would like to get one for her husband. after williams agrees to buy the watch, maureen mcdonald instruct ed him to have virginia governor ena graved on the back of the rolex. i guess it beats the virginia way. even if every one of the counts is true, it's unclear if the governor and his wife broke any virginia state laws. mcdonnell's request to postpone his initial court appearance was denied, which means he's scheduled to be indicted on friday. you and i were going back and forth about this indictment? it's a bonkers document. >> it seems like what he was
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doing was basically extracurricular. there are states where a politician would any you have to get involved with the connected people in order to run the state. it was just they wanted nice stuff. >> this is not an indictment of the virginia way, this is an outlier thing? >> right. >> i would say the washington post has an editorial today saying, this does say the ethics laws are too lax. we had a reporter on last nigh saying, there's not much in the way of laws guiding gifts from friends, right? that's what -- that's the loophole that allegedly was being exploited in this relationship. >> right, it's something that's unseemly that feels like it should be illegal if the allegations are true. i don't think it's an indictment of the overall political
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atmosphere of the steer. that being said, the new governor of the state, i don't know how well that sets a tone for ending the illegal activities to end. >> you have this desperation on the part of the e-mails desperation from the mcdonnell's that they need more money. not more money to feed their kids, it's more money to keep up certain appearances, to wear certain kinds of outfits. she needed williams financial assistance with a $50,000 loan. have you them being taken out to private golf outings. during a round of golf, they charged approximately $2,830 to his account.
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including 1200 in greens fees, $410 in merchandise at the pro shop and 270 in food and beverages. the guy's paying for you to go play golf, it's extremely expensive, and oh, while in the pro shop, you're grabbing fleeces off the rack because it's someone else's credit card? >> apparently. you can see the insecurity how they ran up all this credit card debt. >> an unconscionable amount, she says. >> he's an affluent person, but you come into the position, you can surround yourself with people who are much wealthier than you. you feel even though you have this objectively high family income, you are failing to keep up with the joness, that's how you get someone who feels they're not succumbing to the pressures.
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>> the job in america is to expend a huge amount of time around extremely rich people. that's who you spend time around. if you are around rich people all the time and apparently if the complain the is to be believed, you see them as your pier group, and you feel like you need louie vuitton shoes and ferraris at the vacation house. >> different politicians deal with this in different ways, a few find a way to live within their means while doing this. or they become wealthy before they go into politics. i don't think any of these are particularly healthy ways to deal with this. one thing, i would like to pay especially governors, a lot more money than we pay them now. >> particularly state staff, much, much more money. what we are seeing is the
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governing elite and financial elite converging on the same point. >> thank you. >> conservatives are calling changes to the voting rights act racist against white people. i'll explain next. peoi go to angie's listt for all kinds of reasons. to gauge whether or not the projects will be done in a timely fashion and within budget. angie's list members can tell you which provider is the best in town. you'll find reviews on everything from home repair to healthcare. now that we're expecting, i like the fact i can go onto angie's list and look for pediatricians. the service providers that i've found on angie's list
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which side they're on. john cornyn is on the side against voting rights. he told the dallas morning news that the new proposed legislation which would require federal oversight of elections in texas and three other states "discriminates us against taxes." which means what exactly? >> well, discriminates against texas is just a hop, skip and a jump away of reverse racism. which is the emerging conservative line against this new voting rights legislation. a piece at national review condemns the bill because it features racial classifications and offers protections from minority voters it withholds from nonminority voters. hansvacofsky, trumping up wildly accusations. the bill specifically excludes
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white voters, they're basically giving a get out of jail free card to black elected officials in the south where they can discriminate all they want against white voters. if you find something uncomfortable and nasty in the vision of the southern blacks running wild over white voters you're not alone. but it's also just not based in fact. shocker -- voter fraud incidents have tried to push -- have used to push restrictions are rare. fraud is rare, but when it does occur, absentee ballots are a choice. they found between 2002 and 2005, they found 40 voters were indicted for fraud. 197 million cases of voter fraud.
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you can't see it, because we can't show you what 40 out of 197 million looks like, because it's so small it's basically invisible. the problem with our voting system isn't reverse racism, it's the system that puts obstacle in front of obstacle for those who want to exercise their basic rights. >> i want to thank every american who participated in this election. whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time. by the way we have to fix that. >> the president met with that ten member bipartisan commission one prominent voting law expert called the report one of the
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most effective. joining me now is reverend stories jr. he's the former chairman which was created by congress in 2001 in the wake of the 2000 election debacle. and was the first to watch over voting issues. >> we had a national moment after the 2000 election. we passed the help america vote act. we're going to fix it, you were appointed the chair, and what happened? >> well, at that point it was clear that fixing it meant buying new machines, and so my job along with the three commissioners was to sign checks equaling $2.3 billion to help buy equipment that had not been certified and for which there was no prototype. once we bought the machines, essentially the white house and the congress lost interest in eac.
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and what was reported by this new commission in large measure points back to the work we had done when we did any work, but in the bush administration and the obama administration, the seats on the commission were never filled, which means that there's a staff going to work every day with no commission, which means they can't make any decisions at all. >> there's been -- if the staff is going to work every day. >> with no commissioners. >> no commissioners. >> a bipartisan commission with no commissioners. >> i guess we're moving on to something else. >> when the president announced this new commission, it made me wonder why the white house had not appointed people to the commission. now, having said that, there's such impact in congress, and bickering over partisan positions, it's no wonder the democrats and the republicans cannot come to a consensus around voting because they just -- before they get elected they believe in everything. when they were elected they believe the system must be good, because they were elected.
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>> in terms of the recommendations today, they do harkin back some of the work you did, and they are participate -- essentially two of the most prominent elections, from the republican democratic party heading it, and two things i thought are no-brainers. modernized process by expanding voter registration this is the biggest thing. how many times do people, and i've been one of them that goes to a place, and they don't have -- there's been some mismatch, why can't we get this done? this seems like the simplest thing. >> we keep focusing on the what, and the what of the report is indisputable. we should have voter registration lists so if you live in new york, you can't vote in new york in the morning drive to new jersey and vote in new jersey and then fly to florida and vote. who is going to make this happen, and at the core of this discussion, chris, it's the same issue that's at the core of the voting rights act discussion. that is states rights, our
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system is voting is still based upon an 18th century model where people identified with their state more than they did their nation. and so in 1787, i would be a new jersey an, not so much an american. it is now 2014 and very few people identify with their state over and against their country. we are americans, we have no american system of voting, we have states systems of voting processes and this reports gets at that, but it doesn't really finish the discussion in terms of how to really repair that breach. >> what i'm hearing from you, getting month, making our voting system more modern, efficient, user friendly and better, expanding the number of people that can vote isn't a question of policy, it's a question of politics. >> it's a question of politics and power.
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who has the power to do what, and congress walks right up to the edge but will not violate states rights because there's a cooped of quid proquo there. secretaries of state from both partiesen watt to keep their power. each local jurisdiction wants to keep its power, we have 8,000 voting districts and voting systems in this country. mexico does it better, india does it better, eastern european countries with new democracies do it better. we are the leading democratic country with the worst democratic process in the world. >> thank you for sharing your perspective. fascinating as always. am coulding up, you've heard of alex, the one stop shop for corporate interest. tonight we'll tell you how they do it, we've obtained documents that show how they operate and why they are so successful, our exclusive reporting ahead. erwea. here's another. try charmin ultra strong. thanks mom! make me proud honey! [ female announcer ] charmin ultra strong has a duraclean texture and it's four times stronger than the leading bargain brand. enjoy the go with charmin ultra strong. getting out of bed in the
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>> voter i.d. is going to allow the state of pennsylvania, done. >> the most destructive powers aren't coming from congress, divided government has led to a stalemate. if you want to see what fullout governance looks like, go to a state like north carolina and michigan which we covered here. there are 23 states right now under republican party rule. some of them have super majorities, which means any idea that someone dreams up can become reality. and there's a secretive group dedicated to doing just that, dreaming up conservative pro corporate legislation to put into the hands of the newly empowered vanguard of the right. you'll pull back the curtain on that ahead. i always say be the man with the plan
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if you're a corporation or think tank and you want to get a piece of legislation signed into law. you're going to have a tough time on capitol hill, the two parties have split power and gridlock has become routine. as ed gillespie told the new york times, people who want to see policies enacted, are moving their activities to the state and away from washington. there's a sense you can get things done.
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the best, purest way for those on the right to get things done, to move legislation from a computer screen into the hands of sympathetic lawmakers and get it passed into law, through the organization called the americans legislative exchange council. tonight we go all in on alec. >> alec has forged a partnership between state leaders and the business community. this partnership offers businessmen the extraordinary opportunity to solve our nation's problems. >> for more than 30 years a private tax exempt organization has brought state lawmakers, conservative think tanks together to write mold legislation across the country. >> i don't want everybody to
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vote. as a matter of fact our leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populous goes down. >> they can't 2000 state lawmakers as members, nearly all of them republicans. >> i've been privileged to work with alec in the federal government, i've been privileged to work with alec when i was back in texas the the texas public policy foundation, leading the tenth amendment center, and i am proud to stand with alec today. >> alec's working groups have churned out hundreds of pieces of model legislation, that reflect a investigation of government working hand in hand with business. they crafted bills rolling back environmental laws, protecting corporate tax breaks and weakening gun control. alec helped craft sb-1070, the anti-immigration law.
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it orchestrated voter i.d. laws across the country that made it harder to vote. it even worked with the nra to bring florida's controversial stand your ground law to more than a dozen other states. outrage ignited a campaign which successfully pressured coca-cola, amazon, craft, walmart and many other companies to cut ties with alec. the group remains enormously powerful, just last month, alec held a policy summit in washington, attended by paul ryan, ron johnson and ted cruz. >> my advice to alec is very, very simple stand your ground. >> alec would not let members of the media to watch lawmakers and business interests craft their legislation. all in has obtained records of those meetings and further gatherings that provide a window into how the organization operates and why it's been so effective.
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some of what we reviewed has been put on line by alec. posting much of its model legislation last year. last year, for example, alec considered a model bill that would allow state legislators to replace candidates on the ballot. next to the candidates nominated by the party, in order to chip away at the direct election of centers enshrined in the 17th amendment. another piece of model legislation, the civil rights act eliminates affirmative action. while the climate accountability act uses state audits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. alec takes actions that look a lot like lobbyists. last year, an alec lawmaker in ohio wrote to a colleague, to relay alec's concerns about a bill that would make it easier to recover money from businesses that defraud the state. the bill was reworked to address alec's concerns.
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unreleased documents reviewed by all in paint a portrait of an organization in which industry and government are in near complete harmony. one that enshrines that relationship by requiring that its task forces are chaired by one representative from the business community and one by the government. here's michael watley telling lawmakers to put an op ed in any paper in your district talking about the positives of the keystone xl pipeline. the idea was to create a ground swell of support for keystone at the local level that appeared to be organic. documents show ken ivory of utah asking him just how patient canada will be as america struggles to understand that energy is essential to life. it's one small exchange. but it reflects the bigger pictures that emerge in these documents. the key to alec's success is that it makes the lives of
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harried state lawmakers much, much easier. they don't have to wonder what their corporate donors want, industry representatives are happy to tell them. they don't have to worry about drafting carefully worded legislation. alec is ready to hand it over. all lawmakers have to do is fill in the blanks. if they aren't sure how to vote on some obscure issue, they can check with alec. >> the private sector engagement is really what i think makes this -- the organization that it is. >> it's a great deal for conservative lawmakers that don't want to get bogged down in the drudgery of governing. it's a terrible deal for the rest of us. >> we reached out to alec, they turned us down to appear on the show tonight. ahead, we have a state senator who has left the organization, and someone who's been tracking the group and understands how exactly it gets things done.  for the new mattress models
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joining me now, the executive director for media. she's been covering alec as much as anybody. and jeremy norquist, who was a member with alec for a few years before leaving the organization. >> to play devil's advocate. we've made alec out to be a powerful entity. what about people who say, this is like a million other trade groups and people get together for all kinds of stuff, and they're not that powerful, what do you say to that? >> alec brags that it has more than 1,000 bills introduced each year, and 20% of them have become law. the way that alec is most different from other groups, true alec on those task forces you mentioned, alec legislators and alec corporations vote as equal. they vote together, can you see the vote, the public sector voting on bills that change our
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rights, we don't know of any other organization that has that sort of behavior, i think it's wrong for our elected officials to debase themselves and give special interest groups an equal state, including to think tanks. the think tanks in the states that are peddling this agenda. >> just so people have a grounding. overall, 24% state legislators are alec members. in some states like iowa it's 100%. south dakota 100%. there are a lot of members and that brings me to you, state senator. why did you join alec, and why did you decide to leave? >> well, they have a very robust recruiting effort. they have at least one member in every state. in my case, it was a conservative democrat in a rural district who put his arm around me and said, you are not going
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to agree with them on everything, but there are policies you're going to agree with them on. they're a right of center think tank, you'll find policies that will work. at that time we had 46 of our 49 members of our legislature were members of alec when i signed up, and then really -- it didn't take long to see what their real agenda was, in 2010, it was obama care is going to destroy america. we need to nullify the federal affordable care act. they were really prepared right after the 2010 election, to take advantage of the swing and legislative outcomes of those elections. and they started right away with the tax on private sector workers. attempts to private ties education, stand your ground law. ways to take away people's rights to vote. seeing that legislative agenda, it was clear that i wanted to be no longer affiliated with the organization. >> how. >> and in our legislature, we -- sorry.
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>> i'll get back to you on that. >> how are they funded? >> it's the largest voluntary group of state legislators in the country. we discovered that 98% of alec's revenue comes from corporations and foundations. some of those corporations are privately held like koch industries. we know that google and some of these other high-tech companies have joined alec. while more than 90 corporations and nonprofits have left as a result of a national coalition effort there are numerous corporations that remain and are pushing bills like labelling bars to keep us from knowing where our food is coming from.
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>> i should say, the koch company said we feel the say way as msnbc's parent, we support them. has there been a turn in opinion, particularly nationally in the wake of the trayvon martin shooting? >> that's right, we've gone from 46 members down to a handful now and it just parallels what's happening nationally, and the biggest concern obviously, the policies are extreme, i guess they have the right to debate those in the public square, but the biggest concern is just the absolute lack of transparency here. when a lobbyist comes and approaches me about legislation, i know who they're representing. i know who their client is. alec is a faceless organization and it's allowing these corporate interests to duck and cover and hide from really stepping into the public square
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and putting their ideas forward. >> lisa, i think what you put your finger on before is it is exactly why i find this really important and disturbing story. there's a bunch of citizens in our capital who believe abortion is wrong and want to see it become illegal. i disagree with them. these are our passionate believes as citizens and we want you to loosen to us. what's happening in alec is different. where am i on telecommunications policy? where am i on labor policy and then you go to an alec meeting and you get told by a company that has a vested interest in that policy, this is where you should be on this policy. >> alec is a pay to play company. these corporations pay a premium
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to have a seat and a vote on these task forces. these elected officials come back to their states and introduce these bills without changing a come ma so it really circumvents the public role in our democracy, they don't have the guts to testify before these legislatures by voting secretly with our lawmakers. >> i think that's the point. make your argument publicly. thank you both. >> thank you. thank you so much. >> that is all in for this evening. good evening, rachel. >> thanks my friend. and thanks to you at home for joining us. i have to tell you in advance that we are tracking a developing story tonight. this hour.
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news out of new jersey tonight that the fbi is interviewing new witnesses in the new jersey abuse of power investigation concerning the administration of chris christie, this is a late breaking story. we're just getting confirmation tonight. we're just confirming the last details of the story before we bring it to you on the air. that story is developing right now, and i expect to be able to give you further details this hour. new fbi interviews reported tonight in new jersey connected to that abuse of power investigation. details ahead. meanwhile, though. this was the nbc nightly news lead story on june 27th, 2011, watch. >> big news out of chicago today, former illinois governor rod blagojevich convicted this afternoon of 17 out of 20 corruption charges against him.

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