Michigan AFL-CIO president Karla Swift heavily plagiarized her recent op-ed against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), lifting entire paragraphs from a “toolkit” created and distributed by the Center for Media and Democracy, a liberal nonprofit group that runs a website entirely devoted to trashing the group.
ALEC is a nonprofit organization that creates model legislation for state legislators; its focus on free markets and limited government and strong influence in state capitals has made it the object of frequent attacks from Democrats.
Swift’s editorial lifts content from multiple sections of the anti-ALEC toolkit, copying several paragraphs verbatim. We have posted a copy of the toolkit here, with the plagiarized sections highlighted. In all, seven of the editorial’s twelve paragraphs are found in the toolkit. The editorial is part of the Detroit News’s “Labor Voices” feature, which has published pieces by Swift and three other labor leaders, including Teamsters president James Hoffa. The toolkit, dated December 2013, runs for 16 pages and encourages readers to “expose” the groups.
In her editorial, Swift attacks the organization as “a corporate bill mill” that produces model bills “that often benefit the corporations’ bottom line.”
“Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations and pay for a seat on ALEC task forces,” she writes. “ALEC and ALEC corporations often pay for legislators to go to lavish resorts to participate in ALEC, but when ALEC or the corporations are not paying for these so-called ‘scholarships,’ the expense is often passed on to the taxpayers.” The entire paragraph is pilfered from the toolkit’s fifth page.
An attack on the conservative Mackinac Center is also pieced together from the information provided by the Center for Media and Democracy.