Our Common Good


ProgressVA recently released a report on the legislative influence of the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — which began hemorrhaging donors in the wake of a campaign raising awareness of its efforts to disenfranchise voters and enact Florida-style “stand your ground” laws. The group noted that the Commonwealth of Virginia has spent $232,000 of taxpayer’s dollars over the past decade to send legislators to ALEC conferences and meetings.

Virginia House Speaker William Howell (R), himself a national board member of ALEC and its 2009 national chairman, took issue with the report and called it “inaccurate.”

In an exchange caught on camera, Howell berates the group’s executive director Anna Scholl, mocking the group’s website and her. Howell criticizes the Washington Post’s article about the group’s as “full of half-truths or un-truths.”

In a failed attempt to back up his accusation, Howell notes that while the Commonwealth paid about $230,000 on ALEC-related expenses, it spent even more on travel for the same and other legislators to attend conferences by the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislators.

When by Scholl pressed as to how omission of that irrelevant detail constituted an inaccuracy, Howell berated her:

I guess I’m not speaking in little enough words for you to understand.

When Scholl responded to the slight, telling him “I’m a smart girl, actually I went to the University of Virginia,” more than capable of understanding polysyllabic words. Howell curtly replied, “We’ll good for you.”