June 14, 2016
J.P. Wieske was appointed last week by Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel. Wieske’s past ties to ALEC were not mentioned in the job announcement or in Wieske’s staff biography on the state insurance commissioner’s web site. There was also no mention in the job announcement and agency bio about Wieske having served as a volunteer expert for the Heartland Institute, a conservative Illinois think tank.
But Heartland’s profile about Wieske mentions his work with ALEC. Wieske is the former chair of ALEC’s Health Reform Working Group. He was even named ALEC’s 2008 Private Sector Member of the Year.
ALEC is a pro-business bill mill that unites business interests and state legislators from around the country, including nearly four dozen in Wisconsin in recent years, to develop so-called model legislation that lawmakers can tweak and introduce in their home states. The group’s legislation generally favors business on environmental, local control, privatization, labor, taxes and other issues. Here are a few examples of ALEC legislation that have come down the legislative pike in Wisconsin – here, here, here, and here.