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Welcome to SourceWatch, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy!

The Center for Media and Democracy publishes SourceWatch, this collaborative resource for citizens and journalists looking for documented information about the corporations, industries, and people trying to influence public policy and public opinion. We believe in telling the truth about the most powerful interests in society—not just relating their self-serving press releases or letting real facts be bleached away by spin. With the help of volunteer editors, SourceWatch focuses on the for-profit corporations, non-profit corporate front groups, PR teams, and so-called "experts" trying to influence public opinion on behalf of global corporations and the government agencies they have captured. We also profile some of the individuals and groups shining a light on these PR campaigns and also feature clearinghouses for information about select "hot topics" (to your left). Please check out our other sites: PRWatch, BanksterUSA, and ALECexposed. —Lisa Graves, Executive Director
Please make a tax-deductible donation to keep this information online and strong by clicking this link to donate now.
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Recent Articles from PRWatch.org

Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama Raises Funds Off Colorado Tragedy, Fleeces Contributors

by Brendan Fischer

On July 20, hours after the horrific shooting in Aurora, Colorado, the Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama sent an email to supporters with the subject line "OUTRAGEOUS: Media Tries to Blame Tea Party for Colorado Shooting."

This brazen effort to raise money off of the Colorado shooting tragedy, taken alone, is disturbing. Even the Cruz campaign has called it "inappropriate." But what makes this fundraising appeal from the Tea Party Express-spinoff "Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama" even more egregious is that the dollars raised will disproportionately flow into the pockets of the group's leaders. Read the rest of this item here.


A Lot of White Space: Firms Drop Off ALEC's Meeting Brochure

by Lisa Graves

President level sponsors listed in ALEC annual meeting program
Salt Lake City -- A close look at the annual meeting brochure of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) shows that anti-corporate campaigners are having an impact on the secretive "bill mill" that brings politicians and corporate lobbyists together behind closed doors to craft, amend, and vote on "model" legislation.

Last year's annual convention featured three corporations underwriting the convention at the highest donation level of "President": BP (British Petroleum), Reynolds American (global tobacco), and Takeda (Japanese drugs). This year's President-level donors named only two: Reynolds and SPN, the "State Policy Network," which includes numerous corporate front groups that CMD has called "stink tanks" for peddling corporate claims as policy. A number of SPN special interest groups are funded by the Koch family, other Big Oil companies, Big Tobacco, or Big Insurance.

Read the rest of this item here.


Special Report from Salt Lake: ALEC Exposed, ALEC Diminished

by Lisa Graves

SALT LAKE CITY -- American Legislative Exchange Council legislators, corporate lobbyists, and special interest group staffers awoke the morning of Thursday, July 26 to bad news about ALEC delivered to every room at the "five diamond" Grand America hotel. Although the print edition of the Salt Lake Tribune's headline read "ALEC says it won't be threatened," the news story in the state's leading paper featured two prominent critiques of ALEC.

The Trib's investigative reporter, Robert Gehrke, quoted the Center for Media and Democracy's observation: "Through ALEC, corporate lobbyists actually sit behind closed doors ... and vote as equals with our elected representatives on model bills that change our rights." Common Cause is quoted as saying: "ALEC is the poster child for non-transparent political infrastructure that puts corporate profits ahead of the public interest."

But that was not the worst of it, from ALEC's PR perspective.

Read the rest of this item here.


Bonnie Raitt Rocks for CMD!

by PR Watcher

Bonnie Raitt
Madison -- Legendary singer Bonnie Raitt and her special guest, civil rights icon Mavis Staples, will be performing live at Madison's Overture Center at 7:30 p.m. on August 20, 2012. Raitt will be hosting a special benefit reception backstage following her show to support the work of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

"Bonnie Raitt understands that democracy can only be achieved when a free and independent media works to pull back the curtain on the power brokers and back room deals. That is the goal of our award-winning ALEC Exposed project, and we are terrifically honored to have our work recognized in this way," said CMD Director Lisa Graves. Read the rest of this item here.


Recent Articles from PRWatch.org

Emails from ALEC Member Russell Pearce Show Anti-Immigrant Law May Have Been Racially Motivated

by Laura Steigerwald

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona has asked the man behind the "show me your papers" anti-immigrant law in that state to show them his emails. An open records request to former Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce netted thousands of email records sent from Pearce's account that suggest Arizona's SB 1070, which was taken up as an American Legislative Exchange Council "model bill" but recently struck down in large part by the U.S. Supreme Court, was motivated by racism and xenophobia.

"We are much like the Titanic as we inbreed millions of Mexico's poor, the world's poor and we watch our country sink," reads one email obtained through the open records request. "They create enclaves of separate groups that shall balkanize our nation into fractured nightmares of social unrest and poverty," reads another of the emails, which appear to have been sent to and from Pearce himself. Read the rest of this item here.


ALEC Down 30 Corporations: General Motors and Walgreens Cut Ties

by Rebekah Wilce

Two more large American companies, headquartered in the Midwest, have responded to their customers and cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC): General Motors (GM) and Walgreens. This brings the total to 30 corporations and four non-profits -- 34 total private sector members -- that have cut ties to the right-wing corporate bill mill.

GM is the $149 billion-a-year maker of Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC brand name cars, among others. About 26 percent of the company is owned by the United States government, which backed its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in 2009. It was founded in 1908 in Detroit and remains headquartered there.

Walgreens is a $72 billion-a-year corporation based in Deerfield, Illinois. It operates 7,847 drugstores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico as of May 2012. It was founded in 1901. Read the rest of this item here.


Karl Rove’s American Crossroads Turns the “War on Women” on Obama

by Emily Osborne

Karl Rove's American Crossroads is hoping to help the GOP regain ground among women, particularly Latina women. According to a Gallup poll President Barack Obama has a 48 point advantage among Latino voters, while a CNN poll finds that women voters back Obama over Romney by a 16 point margin. Now Rove's Super PAC is trying to make inroads with these voters, releasing an online ad that attempts to turn the "War on Women" charge on Obama. The Super PAC is testing the video in focus groups, with an eye toward potentially creating a 30-second TV ad, according to CNN.

Read the rest of this item here.


"Tobacco Can Cure Smoking" And Other Highlights Of ALEC's Annual Meeting in Salt Lake

by Brendan Fischer and Mary Bottari

State legislators attending last week's American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting in Salt Lake City were told they can advance ALEC's mission of "limited government and free enterprise" by letting "the free market reduce smoking-related diseases," according to an agenda obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy.

Can Tobacco Cure Smoking?" was the title of a workshop on July 26 led by the tobacco industry-backed Dr. Brad Rodu, who was trained as a dentist but has the title "Chair of Tobacco Harm Reduction Research" at the University of Louisville, a program primarily funded by U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., an ALEC member and manufacturer of smokeless tobacco brands like Copenhagen and Skoal. Read the rest of this item here.


Editors' Pick of the Week

Monsanto’s Quiet Coup: Will Congress Limit Scope and Time for GMO Reviews?

by Jill Richardson - guest contributor

After a series of court defeats over the past few years, Monsanto and friends are trying to use Congress to make an end-run around the courts and current law. Lawsuits brought by opponents of genetically engineered (GE) crops resulted in the temporary removal of two products -- Roundup Ready Alfalfa and Roundup Ready Sugarbeets -- from the market. If the biotechnology industry and the legislators they support have their way, future GE crops will not suffer the same fate.

Read the rest of this item here.


Mark Fiore on How a Bill Becomes a Law -- ALEC-Style

The brilliant Putlizer-prize winning cartoonist, Mark Fiore, does it again with another cartoon video skewering the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).


Take Action

TELL ALEC COMPANIES TO DUMP ALEC!

Through our ongoing ALECexposed.org investigation, we're exposing the American Legislative Exchange Council's secret lobbying, corporate-funded "scholarships," and its "model" bills voted on secretly by corporate lobbyists and legislators. ALEC's extreme agenda to expand corporate power and limit the rights of ordinary Americans is detailed here. We need your help in exposing the corporations that bankroll ALEC and corrupt the democratic process.

Click Here to Tell Them to Dump ALEC!


Subscribe to our free email newsletter, The Spin, "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @PRwatch and @ALECexposed." If you would like to help in other ways, please take a look at some of our earlier citizen journalism projects here.


Featured Video

ALEC Under Fire

July 25, 2012 -- KSTU Television FOX 13, Salt Lake City, UT -- Max Roth reporting:

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization that has taken center stage in a national debate over the proper roles of government and business, is meeting in Salt Lake City to cheers from a number of Republican Utah lawmakers and protests from many national non-profits and local activists. Cassino Online Brasil

ALEC brings state lawmakers from around the country together with corporate sponsors and some conservative interest groups. They cite free market interests as their prime mission and they call themselves bi-partisan.

In recent years, however, ALEC has lost the majority of its Democratic members and in the past year a number of corporate sponsors have fled as well.

Lisa Graves, the executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy came to Utah to protest. free online casino

"They [ALEC] vote on model legislation behind closed doors without the press, without people like you or the public present and then those state legislators come out to their state house and introduce those bills cleansed from any fact that they were pre-voted on by corporate lobbyists," Graves said.


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Praise for SourceWatch!

Here's what they're saying about SourceWatch:


"The folks at the Center for Media and Democracy have done incredible work documenting fake grassroots ("astroturf") groups. Here, they're helping protect the rights of all Americans to exercise their right to vote. They are completely non-partisan. These guys are the real deal."
Craig Newmark, Craig's List

"A truly impressive project based on cutting edge web technology."
David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.

"The troublemakers at the Center for Media and Democracy, for example, point to dozens of examples of "greenwashing," which they defined as the "unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government or even a non-government organization to sell a product, a policy" or rehabilitate an image. In the center's view, many enterprises labeled green don't deserve the name.
—Jack Shafer, "Green Is the New Yellow: On the excesses of 'green' journalism," Slate.

"As a journalist frequently on the receiving end of various PR campaigns, some of them based on disinformation, others front groups for undisclosed interests, [CMD's SourceWatch] is an invaluable resource."
Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire

"Thanks for all your help. There's no way I could have done my piece on big PR and global warming without CMD [the Center for Media and Democracy] and your fabulous websites."
—Zoe Cormier, journalist, Canada

"The dearth of information on the [U.S.] government [lobbying] disclosure forms about the other business-backed coalitions comes in stark contrast to the data about them culled from media reports, websites, press releases and Internal Revenue Service documents and posted by SourceWatch, a website that tracks advocacy groups."

—Jeanne Cummings, 'New disclosure reports lack clarity," Politico.
Disclaimer: SourceWatch is part of the Center for Media and Democracy—email the publisher of SourceWatch, CMD's Executive Director, Lisa Graves, via lisa AT prwatch.org. You can also contact our Editor, Friday Thorn, via friday_thorn AT prwatch.org.

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