Posts Tagged ‘Franklin’

COMMENTARY: Attacks on ALEC hypocritical and unfair

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

By Steven Greenhut | Vice President of Journalism

SACRAMENTO — A cadre of liberal groups has decided the scourge of the nation is a little-known conservative organization that provides model legislation to state legislators across the country.

Overheated criticisms of the American Legislative Exchange Council have been echoed throughout the media following the Trayvon Martin shooting in Sanford, Fla., because ALEC had advocated the “Stand Your Ground” laws that anti-gun-rights activists blame for the tragic shooting.

The public rap against ALEC is that, as the Atlantic magazine recently explained,  “[I]t’s a shadowy back-room arrangement where corporations pay good money to get friendly legislators to introduce pre-packaged bills in state houses across the country.”

Atlantic highlights ALEC Exposed, a group run by a former Justice Department official who created a wiki site spotlighting more than 800 bills that emanated from the supposed ALEC star chamber. Other groups, including a conspiracy-minded outfit that claims ALEC’s efforts to battle voter fraud are designed to keep black people from voting, have been strong-arming corporate sponsors into abandoning ALEC. Given the backbone-challenged nature of corporate America when it comes to political matters, it’s no surprise the scare tactics are working.

Even ALEC this week announced it is backing away from gun rights and social issues and focusing entirely on free-market economic and business issues. I agree with that decision and personally find “Stand Your Ground” laws to be misguided despite my strong support for gun rights, but it’s too bad these reasonable changes — ones that will bolster the organization in the long run — came across as capitulation. That will only embolden ALEC’s enemies. And those enemies have few good arguments, which is why they spin their conspiratorial yarns and try to make it seem as if ALEC is doing something unethical or unconventional. These leftist critics don’t like ALEC simply because ALEC advocates policies they oppose.

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Cuts are happening in newsrooms across the country. According to the American Journalism Review’s 2009 analysis of statehouse reporters, there were 30 percent less reporters covering government than when last compared to 2003. While there hasn’t been a comparable report since to prove the continuing trend, any seasoned reporter can attest to the continued cuts by walking in a newsroom or a press conference.

This is a threat to democracy.

Read more here.

Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity: Wisconsin U.S. Senate debate Of Republican candidates utilizes social media to engage citizens

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity: Wisconsin U.S. Senate debate Of Republican candidates utilizes social media to engage citizens

Contact: Mary Ellen Beatty, (224) 381-9459 

Citizens asked to submit debate questions to candidates via social media platforms

WAUKESHA, WIS. – As more and more citizens turn to social media and online resources to gather information and news, the Wisconsin U.S. Senate Debate of Republican candidates scheduled for this Wednesday will feature questions submitted by citizens via social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Starting today and leading up to the debate on April 11, citizens can submit their most pressing questions to U.S. Senate candidates Jeff Fitzgerald, Eric Hovde, Mark Neumann and Kip Smith. Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson declined the invitation to participate.

“If we want citizens to be engaged in public debate, we need to meet them on their own terms,” said Jason Stverak, president of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. “The way citizens consume news and information is trending toward social media outlets, and journalists need to make an effort to incorporate these changes or risk losing the very audience they claim to serve.”

Read more here.

Will Swaim Joins Steven Greenhut To Expose Government Waste, Fraud and Abuse

Friday, April 6th, 2012

OC Weekly Blog

Can two past journalism enemies join together in common cause?

The answer is yes based on the relatively new union between Will SwaimOC Weekly‘s founding editor, and Steven Greenhut, the longtime lead editorial writer and columnist for crosstown rival Orange County Register.

Greenhut is nowadays vice president of journalism at the Virginia-based Franklin Center for Government & PublicIntegrity and Swaim is now the managing editor of the organization’s nationwide news operations.

Greenhut, the nemesis of public employee labor unions, works from Sacramento; Swaim works from Irvine.

The Franklin Center–which was established in 2009 and is run by former North Dakota Republican Party executive director and Rudy Giuliani presidential campaign operative Jason Stverak–aims to provide “fresh, original, hard-hitting news content” that focuses on investigations of local, state and federal government.

Read more here.

Socialism Won’t Fix California’s Struggling Public Utilities

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Golden State activists want the government to take over the water companies.

Orginially posted on

By Steven Greenhut, Franklin Center’s VP of Journalism

Faced with rising water rates, some politicians and community activists in Southern California are revisiting a fundamental question that most of us thought had been answered by the collapse of the Soviet Union: Is government the most efficient way to provide services?

We know of the poor quality of products and services provided by government monopolies. Yet officials in Stanton and Claremont think otherwise. They have discussed spending tens of millions of tax dollars to “buy” their water systems from a private water company that doesn’t want to sell them. To make matters worse, their efforts would require the use—some would say the abuse—of the power of eminent domain to acquire the properties by force. Taxpayers will be on the hook for all of this.

Read more here.

Pew state pension, retirement crisis update shows $3 trillion sneak-a-tax

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

By FRANK KEEGAN – Look past Page 1 of the latest Pew Center on the States’ update of retirement promise shortfalls, and you will get an idea how huge it really is. Right now citizens are on the hook for at least a $3 trillion sneak-a-tax increase that is getting bigger fast. Leaders must be honest with the people, or we are doomed to eternal debt.