ALEC AND ELI LILLY: MUCH MORE THAN SCHOOL REFORM
When the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) arrives at the J.W. Marriott in Indianapolis at the end of this month for its annual conference, speakers will include Governor Mike Pence (who headlined ALEC’s 2013 event), Indiana’s U.S. Representative Todd Rokita (not a fan of free or reduced school lunches), online-school K12’s founder William Bennett and the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice’s Robert Enlow.
Indiana is a good fit for ALEC, a “bill mill” organization which works with corporate lawyers and lawmakers to write and pass anti-public legislation across the country. Up to 29 Hoosier state lawmakers (some Democrats, too) have had ties with ALEC at any given time.
And then there’s Eli Lilly, the Indianapolis-based global drug maker and longtime ALEC member.
Eli Lilly, ALEC, and Mitch Daniels all played a significant part in school privatization in Indiana, as I detail in my book Hoosier School Heist.
The former Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Eli Lilly and past Indiana governor, Mitch Daniels has schmoozed with ALEC, and his budget director, Chris Atkins, once directed ALEC’s tax and fiscal policy unit.
When Daniels helped launch Purdue’s Polytechnic Indianapolis High School recently, Julie K. Griffith—once the Private Sector Co-Chair for ALEC in Indiana (see pages 168- 170) and Purdue University’s current Vice President for Public Affairs— became a member of the charter school’sboard of directors.
A while back, Greenpeace had this to say about Griffith, who was employed by Duke Energy Indiana from 1997-2011 and was the chair of the board of directors for the American Lung Association in Indiana, at one point, too (page 170):
Working alongside ALEC's State Chairmen in Indiana (Rep. David Wolkins and Sen. Jim Buck) is Duke's Vice President of Government Affairs, Julie Griffith. Beyond the numerous contradictions detailed in this blog, perhaps Ms. Griffith would like to explain her role in ALEC, a notable front for the tobacco industry, and her position as chair of the executive leadership team of the American Lung Association. That and her political work for a company that causes lung damage from coal pollution. Just as in South Carolina, Rep. Wolkins and Sen. Buck chose Duke's Julie Griffith to help them oversee ALEC's operations in Indiana, primarily fundraising.
As for the Polytechnic Indianapolis High School, Eli Lilly and the Eli Lilly Foundation’s Robert Smith was happy to write a letter of approval for its application to Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard’s Office of Education Innovation.
Some of ALEC’s bills presented in statehouses across the U.S. are worked over by lawyers from Schools Matter: ALEC AND ELI LILLY: MUCH MORE THAN SCHOOL REFORM: