Once a little-known corporate-funded network for pushing conservative policy, the American Legislative Exchange Council has become big news.

Thanks to a national campaign spearheaded by ColorOfChange.org, unions and others, ALEC has been thrust in to the spotlight for its backing of controversial bills like voter ID and Florida's "Stand Your Ground" bill.

As a result, 13 companies and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have backed away from funding ALEC, and at least one state legislator -- Democrat Rep. Ted Vick in South Carolina -- has renounced his association with the group.

But in the midst of the controversy, ALEC is likely to find strong support among at least one group: The politicians that ALEC has given awards for their leadership in carrying out the group's agenda.

The following is an (incomplete) list of lawmakers in Southern states that have won awards from ALEC over the last decade according to SourceWatch, which pieced together information from ALEC's website and public records requests.*

ARKANSAS

  • Sen. Steve Faris (D), William J. Raggio Excellence Award - 2010

FLORIDA

  • Rep. Tom Feeney (R), State Legislator of the Year - 2002
  • Sen. Debby Sanderson (R), State Legislator of the Year - 2002

GEORGIA

  • Rep. Calvin Hill (R), State Chair of the Year - 2011
  • Rep. Chip Rogers (R), State Chair of the Year - 2011 (currently national Treasurer of ALEC)
  • Rep. Tom Graves (R), State Legislator of the Year - 2009
  • Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R), ALEC Leadership Award for Limited Government - 2009
  • Sen. Zell Miller (D), Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award - 2002

LOUISIANA

  • Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award - 2011
  • Rep. Billy Tauzin (R), Adam Smith Free Enterprise Award - 2007

MISSISSIPPI

  • Rep. Jim Ellington (R), State Legislator of the Year - 2011
  • Rep. Charlie Ross (R), State Legislator of the Year - 2007

NORTH CAROLINA

  • Rep. Thom Tillis (R), State Legislator of the Year - 2011
  • Rep. Harold Brubaker (R), William J. Raggio Excellence Award - 2009 (currently an ALEC board member)
  • Rep. Julia Howard (R), State Legislator of the Year - 2006/2007

TENNESSEE

  • Rep. Curry Todd (R), State Legislator of the Year - 2008 (currently an ALEC board member)

TEXAS

  • Rep. Jerry Madden (R), State Legislator of the Year - 2011
  • Gov. Rick Perry (R), Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award - 2010
  • Rep. Wayne Christian (R), State Legislator of the Year - 2008
  • Rep. Tom Craddick (R), William J. Raggio Excellence Award - 2008
  • Rep. Troy Fraser (R), State Legislatover of the Year - 2006
  • Rep. Phil King (R), State Legislator of the Year - 2006

The fast-growing and politically influential states of Texas (6 award-winners) and Georgia (5) top the list, with North Carolina featuring three.

Also notable: For three years (2008-2010), Southern legislators had a lock on ALEC's William J. Raggio Excellence in Leadership and Outstanding Service Award, which rewards the long-term services of those who have been a member of ALEC for at least 10 years, have served in a leadership position and have made a "demonstrable contribution to the success of ALEC through advancing Jeffersonian principles, recruitment, fundraising or other comparable activity."

For a complete list of ALEC awards and other information, visit Sourcewatch's ALEC Exposed website. For a list of ALEC's current board members, visit here.

* Also receiving awards were Sen. David Williams (R-KY) for Legislator of the Year (year unknown), and Brenda Ellington and Beth Wilson, legislative aides for Rep. Noble Ellington (R-LA), for Volunteers of the Year.