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Friday, January 11, 2013

McCrory's chief lobbyist, Fred Steen, also an ALEC bigwig

Posted by on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Gov. Pat McCrory picks so many winners he should play the ponies.

McCrory named as his chief lobbyist Fred Steen II, a state chairman and board member of ALEC, a rightwing organization funded in part by the Charles Koch Foundation.

ALEC, also known as the American Legislative Exchange Council, is composed of at least 300 corporations and 2,000 legislative embers and is funded in part through grants by right-wing organizations, including the Charles G. Koch Foundation.

Corporate members pay as much as $25,000 a year to belong to ALEC, with additional fees assessed if the members sit on one of the nine task forces. Legislators pay just $50 annually, according to the watchdog group, ALEC Exposed.

ALEC advances its agenda through “model bills,” legislation crafted by business interests and their lawmaker allies that are then introduced in multiple states.

Previous bills include opposing EPA regulation of greenhouse gases, legalizing fracking, privatizing education, fighting against public health care and bans on semi-automatic firearms.

Until last year, Steen had represented Rowan County in the N.C. House of Representatives for four terms. He had higher aspirations for Congress that were quickly dashed when he placed fourth in a five-way race for U.S. House in the Eighth District.

While in the N.C. House, Steen was a primary or co-sponsor on 54 bills, including several that failed: “Protect Health Care Freedom,” which opposed Obamacare; a bill that would have allowed employees to keep loaded firearms in their cars—as long as the cars were locked, and another measure allowing persons with concealed handgun permits to bring a firearm into a restaurant.

Steen also was among the lawmakers behind successful measures such as the Woman’s Right to Know Act, which requires women to view an ultrasound of the fetus and to look at pictures and drawings of fetuses before undergoing an abortion.

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