News Corporation has been exposed as a member of a controversial lobby group linked to attempts to weaken laws on the bribery of British police officers. The corporation is a full member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), home to numerous corporations campaigning against the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act — under which the Department of Justice are investigating alleged bribery of the Met Police by the News of the World.
The robust defence of ALEC offered by Murdoch’s media assets across the pond had led to increased speculation that they were members of the group, with both Fox News and the Wall Street Journal defending the organisation. The revelation that News Corp has been a paid-up member since 2010 follows a $1m donation to another group opposing corruption laws, the US Chamber of Commerce.
For those unfamiliar with ALEC, its activities are wide ranging. Some of the controversies connected to it include:
- Members of ALEC who are lawmakers in the US are obligated to get “model bills” introduced to their legislatures — legislation introduced under the names of elected officials with no reference to ALEC or its members.
- One ALEC model bill is Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law, which came to prominence with the shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin.
- ALEC is alleged to be behind the controversial bill in Wisconsin to ban collective bargaining by public sector employees.
- It has also been alleged to be behind voter ID legislation across the US, which would disenfranchise large numbers of minority voters.
Whilst News Corp has so far weathered the hacking scandal with its commercial interests more or less intact, it has been widely predicted that should it spread stateside, it might well be curtains for Murdoch’s conglomerate.
So that $1m donation isn’t suspicious at all, then.