At least 17 Arizona state legislators attended a lavish recruitment dinner on Tuesday for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an out-of-state right-wing corporate bill mill that wields a heavy influence in Arizona and at state capitols around the country. [Hat tip to Progress Now for the info.]
The senators and representatives, including Senate President Andy Biggs, enjoyed dinner and drinks alongside several prominent lobbyists in a private back room at Donovan’s, one of the Valley’s finest steak and chop houses. They came at the behest of Rep. Debbie Lesko, ALEC’s Arizona Chairwoman, whose leaked invitation billed the event as “an Arizona ALEC Membership Reception/Dinner” while including her House office number for RSVPs. It is unclear how many Arizona legislators Lesko invited to Tuesday’s shin-dig, but no Democrats were seen arriving.
In addition to Sen. Biggs and Rep. Lesko, lawmakers spotted at the dinner included: Reps. Eddie Farnsworth, John Kavanagh, Carl Seel, Brenda Barton, Bob Thorpe, David Livingston, J.D. Mesnard, Justin Olson, Michelle Ugenti, T.J. Shope, Adam Kwasman, Jeff Dial; and Senators Nancy Barto, Chester Crandell and Don Shooter. [You'll remember that Farnsworth and Kavanagh were big stars on Thursday-- valiantly defending the anti-gay bill SB1062-- when the Arizona House passed it. You'll also remember that Farnsworth, Olson, Ugenti, Lesko, and Seel were on the committees that forced the death of the Equal Rights Amendment by not hearing it. So, who are they supposed to be working for?]