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Columnist’s agenda should be made clear
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Dear editor,


The Great Bend Tribune rightly requires every individual who has a letter printed in the newspaper to include who they are. Like all newspapers, the Tribune provides a forum, but it cannot be anonymous and hidden. It must be public and accountable. 

Please require this same standard of the outside columnists that you chose to print. 

In an Aug. 6 column, Lisa Nelson, spent two-thirds of her column trying to tie her identity to the original colonists, liberty seekers, Lincoln, Greeks, Romans, Native Americans and the founding of democracy. Then she described how we and our elected representatives can’t govern ourselves without her organization and states it would be fruitless to try. 

As noted in her byline, Nelson is CEO of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Investigative journalism says to follow the money. In the case of ALEC, well over 90% of the money comes from corporations, trade groups and think tanks. What ALEC then does is function as a bill mill to create and route pages and pages of legalese through compliant legislators and into something like 200 of our state and federal laws every year. 

It is senseless to presume these companies annually provide millions to ALEC without receiving a larger financial benefit in return. A clear-eyed example was ALEC being funded by the tobacco industry as it opposed tobacco control regulations, designed to reduce smoking. 

To a large extent, ALEC is a collection of big money corporations that obtain financial rewards by getting laws passed that favor their interests. If they want to claim they are keepers of democracy itself and that we cannot function without them, they should buy an ad. If the Tribune still sees ALEC as some kind of public columnist, please at least require a clear accounting of who they are.

John Sturn