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The conservative policy group American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, says that a new organization centered on affordable housing, dubbed SMART ALEC, is threatening ALEC’s trademark and other intellectual property.

A June 13 letter from ALEC’s attorney warned Matthew Cardinale, SMART ALEC’s president and CEO, that unless he erases all trace of SMART ALEC “in all media,” ALEC “will take all necessary action” to prevent the upstart’s use of its name and trademarks.

Cardinale, a third-year law student at Gonzaga University, spent years as an activist and self-published reporter at Atlanta City Council meetings. Before he went to law school, he represented himself in suing the city over vote-recording policies in council committees; he won a ruling from the Georgia Supreme Court in 2012. Last year, the council adopted model legislation concerning affordable housing Cardinale crafted.

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