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August 12, 2014

Major Small-Business Group Faces Questions over ALEC Ties

A top executive with the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's largest advocacy group for small firms, has taken an advisory role with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), leading liberal organizations to question the nonprofit federation's claims to be nonpartisan, according to The Washington Post.

ALEC recently added Steve Woods, the business federation's senior vice president of state operations, to its private enterprise council, which advises the board of directors. ALEC works to connect lawmakers and business executives to craft state bills and has a reputation for promoting conservative and pro-business policies.

Eric Reller, a federation spokesman, said Mr. Woods' involvement with ALEC is personal and "not in a capacity for NFIB." Brendan Fischer, general counsel for the liberal Center for Media and Democracy, called the appointment "the final step towards the NFIB abandoning any pretense" of being a nonpartisan advocate for small businesses.

The federation has primarily backed Republican candidates and received millions of dollars from entities affiliated with Karl Rove and the Koch brothers. The nonprofit's officials dispute claims that it has an ideological agenda, saying its policy stands are determined by feedback from more than 350,000 members.