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Hiding the sausage

How ALEC, a well-funded right-wing organization, is grinding out state laws

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“I went to ALEC because I was really naïve at the time,” she recalls. “I thought this was really someplace you go to learn and get information.”

Specifically, Argenziano was pushing through three pharmaceutical bills, one of which involved supporting Warfarin, a generic blood-thinning alternative to Pfizer’s name-brand Coumadin. She braved the standard good-ol’-boy fare and rubbed shoulders with surprisingly few legislators, she says, as it was mostly staff members in attendance. When she entered the committee on healthcare, she was in for a surprise.

“I walk into the room and it’s Pfizer, it’s freaking Pfizer, that only had one side of the story and it was so biased that I knew then that it was just a mechanism for these guys,” she says. “Now, as you know, now this is years later. They have gotten to the point where they write the legislation that is repeated from state to state.”

For Argenziano, it was a wake-up call. She says she found a much fairer alternative in the National Conference of State Legislatures, an actual nonpartisan group that charges no dues and accepts no donations from for-profit corporations. “There I found balance.”

ALEC, she says, is dangerous.

“They own the government. I knew that they owned a certain amount, that there were certain contributions and certain leaders they owned, but I didn’t realize to what degree,” she says. “Now I’m frightened because they really own a great deal of our government from state to state. I’m not anti-corporation, but I am anti them taking over the government.”

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