I strongly recommend everyone stop what you're doing and go read the article linked to in the title. It concerns the American Legislative Exchange Council, pretty much the pre-eminent conservative legislative think tank in the country, boasting nearly 1/3 of state legislators as members. Though registered as a non-profit, ALEC reaps millions of dollars from some of the country's biggest corporations, who literally pay to have a stake in ALEC's direction on one of 10 task forces. ALEC drafts models of, and lobbies for, corporate-friendly legislation (often to the detriment of the American people); in fact, it was behind much of the "tough-on-crime" and truth in sentencing laws that were passed in states and at the federal level over the past few decades, which have directly benefitted one of ALEC's biggest contributors, CCA by sending ever-increasing numbers of citizens to prison for ever-increasing periods of time. In fact, the prison rate grew so exponentially as a result of these types of laws, many of which are the direct result of ALEC's influence on various legislators/legislatures that many states and the federal government were practically forced into expanding privatized prison services because they literally coudln't expand their own prison systems' capacity rapidly enough to keep up with the surge. ALEC functions as almost a shadow organization, and has been behind much of the legislation across the country that has directly benefited corporations at the expense of many Americans. While this article looks mostly into ALEC's connections with the recent Arizona Immigration bill specifically, it has some great background information on what this author considers to be one of the most sadistically influential organizations in our nation's history.
UPDATE: The second part of this great story can be found here.