Arizona Congressman Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva asked the Department of the Interior inspector general to assess potential lobbying disclosure violations by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), in his effort to target conservative legislators, private individuals, and policy.
Grijalva points to rancher Cliven Bundy and his public testimony, in which he said, “I must say that I am glad to see you people stand for state sovereignty today. [. . .] Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 321.596 states, ‘The State of Nevada has a strong moral claim upon the public land retained by the Federal Government within Nevada’s borders.’ Let us strengthen that bill and go on and claim this land and our sovereignty.”
As Grijalva claims in his letter, “The ALEC vision of state sovereignty trumping long-standing federal government efforts to manage public lands has already had tangible effects on Bureau of Land Management and other agency employees’ efforts to do their jobs. Examining how severe that impact has been, and whether ALEC is exerting undue influence on federal land management efforts, is well within the scope of [the inspector general’s] office. I believe a timely examination of these issues would serve the public interest.”
In a written statement to the Washington Post ALEC claimed that Rep. Grijalva is unable fairly to oversee his area of Congressional jurisdiction:
“This seems like high political theater on the part of Rep. Grijalva,” said ALEC spokesman Bill Meierling. State lawmakers have a clear interest in managing public land within their borders, he said. And Grijalva, as the ranking member of the House Natural Resources subcommittee on public lands and environmental regulation, clearly has an interest in maintaining federal control of such lands, he added.
“Mr. Grijava’s allegations are frivolous, fail to cite the regulations governing lobbying activity and are no doubt part of a long time effort by those who disagree with ALEC’s ideas to discredit the organization, rather than debating its proposals,” the group said in a written statement.