House Speaker defends ALEC, berates liberal activist

Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell on Thursday blamed a liberal activist for spreading misinformation about a conservative group he is involved with that ghostwrites bills for legislators across the nation.

After a news conference Thursday, Howell (R-Stafford) lashed out at Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA, which released a report about the American Legislative Exchange Council’s influence in Virginia in January.

“I guess I’m not speaking in little enough words for you to understand,’’ Howell said as reporters watched.

“I’m a smart girl ... I think words with multiple syllables would be just fine for me,’’ Scholl retorted.

ALEC, which Howell used to lead, is a pro-business, free-market group whose members include legislators as well as private companies, which pay thousands of dollars to have a seat at the table. In recent days, several corporations have dropped their support of ALEC.

Watch the video, caught by a tracker for the Democratic Party of Virginia, and check back for more information.

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