Second RI lawmaker wants out of ALEC membership
PROVIDENCE, R.I.—A second Rhode Island legislator wants to relinquish his taxpayer-funded membership in a conservative legislative group accused of falsely claiming tax-exempt status while doing widespread lobbying.
Sen. John Tassoni said Tuesday he wants out of his American Legislative Exchange Council membership. The advocacy group Common Cause last month filed an IRS complaint accusing ALEC of masquerading as a public charity. ALEC develops model legislation.
The Smithfield Democrat said the state has spent about $2,300 in membership dues for about 24 legislators, including him.
The website RI Future reported last week that 20 percent of General Assembly legislators are members. Most said they didn't know much about the group but joined because Rep. Jon Brien, a Democrat on the national board, asked them to.
"I'm not sure how I became a member, but having learned recently about the enormous amount of corporate funding for the group and corporate influence on the group, I have decided to terminate my membership," Tassoni said in a statement.
The Providence Journal reported Friday state Sen. Walter Felag also wants out of his membership.