Documents obtained by Documented shows that Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Chairman Pat Browne registered for the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 44th annual meeting that took place in Denver, Colorado in July 2017. The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is famous for drafting industry favored model legislation and advancing their agenda in state legislatures around the country. The spreadsheet shows that Senator Browne registered for a full conference pass on June 9, 2017, and that he was a member of the Tax and Fiscal Policy task force.
Aside from serving as a legislative mill for big monied interests, ALEC is also well connected with many Koch Brother funded organizations. Multiple State Policy Network organizations such as the Goldwater Institue, the Mackinac Center and the Illinois Policy Institute attended this conference or sit on the Tax and Fiscal Policy task force. These organizations are connected to the Commonwealth Foundation and are some of the main forces attacking public sector unions throughout the country. The Illinois Policy Institue was the main driver behind the landmark Janus vs AFSCME suit that rolled back fair membership for public sector unions, and the Mackinac Center was testifying about post-Janus legislation in Harrisburg this past week.
Pat Browne is facing a tough reelection in the Lehigh Valley. Browne’s senate district comprises all of Allentown, and recent polling showed his challenger, Mark Pinsley, is in position to possibly pull off a major upset. Hillary Clinton won the 16th senate district by 4.9% in 2016 and Governor Tom Wolf took by 5.8% in 2014. Recent internal polls provided by the campaign shows Governor Wolf leading Scott Wagner by 22% and Susan Wild leading Marty Nothstein for the Pennsylvania 7th Congressional District by 13%.
Pinsley has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution, Flippable, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, the Service Employees International Union and other labor organizations. Pinsley has refused to take money from corporate political action committees throughout this campaign. In a statement about Senator Browne’s ALEC membership, Pinsley’s campaign said “legislators who participate in ALEC have pushed forward bills that put the interests of corporations ahead of the interests of the public they were elected to serve. It is not surprising that my opponent Pat Browne is an active participant in pushing forward ALEC’s agenda.”
Pat Browne’s senate campaign was reached for comment on his involvement with the American Legislative Exchange Council via email, but his campaign did not comment.