ALEC: America’s secret political power

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.—There’s something rotten in the air. A muggy, oniony, chemical smell that wafts over the lines of uniformed riot police, paddy wagons and metal barriers that are holding back a straggle of protesters waving slapdash placards reading “Shut Down ALEC.”

“Get back ma’am, for your own safety,” a courteous voice warns me. “They’re gonna start pepper spraying.”

Pepper spray?

It’s a surreal touch at the lush, sprawling Westin Kierland Resort, where the air is scented with fragrant flowering bushes and the aromatic lotions of the spa.

But the protesters are at the gate, and inside, hundreds of state legislators from all over the U.S., their wives and entourages are meeting with corporate leaders for a three-day annual policy summit. Or, to their banner-bearing foes, a cradle of “corporate profiteering at the expense of our communities.”

“Today only,” blazons a sign hoisted by a silver-haired protester, “Buy One Senator Get One Free!”

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About James Crist

How do we stop America's decline? The country is in trouble and we can all feel it. Where did we go wrong? How do we fix it? We now have an auction-based government, for sale to the highest bidder. Politicians have become nothing more than corporate whores and pawns for the rich. If we want our representatives to represent us, let them get their campaign money from us, their constituents. We have to amend the constitution to get the big money out of politics.
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