Afternoon Read: VA House Speaker Defends ALEC, Slams ProgressiveVA | NBC4 Washington
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Afternoon Read: VA House Speaker Defends ALEC, Slams ProgressiveVA

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    Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell defended ALEC -- the conservative lobbying group that he used to head -- and had some stinging words for ProgressiveVA Executive Director Anna Scholl.

    Howell blamed the liberal activist for spreading false information about ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.

    ALEC is responsible for ghostwriting conservative legislation across the country and ProgressiveVA released a report about ALEC’s influence in January.

    After a press conference Thursday, Howell and Scholl came face to face:

    Scholl asked Howell why he had said that her report was wrong and after a bit of talking he said to her, “I guess I’m not speaking in little enough words for you to understand.”

    “I’m a smart girl," she said, telling the speaker that she went to the University of Virginia. “I think words with multiple syllables would be just fine for me,” Scholl replied.

    Someone from the Democratic Party of Virginia caught the heated exchange on video.

    ProgessiveVA’s report found that ALEC had pushed more than 50 bills in the Virginia Legislature, including one that called for shutting down companies that hire illegal immigrants and another that would allow people to use deadly force to protect their homes.

    * A Metro committee approved a measure Thursday to increase fare rates that would go into effect in July.

    The hikes still need to be approved by the full board, but, according to The Washington Examiner, the unanimous approval in committee is a good sign that it will pass.

    The Examiner reports that under the plan, peak rail prices will increase 5.7 percent, from a minimum of $1.95 to $2.10. The maximum would be $5.75.

    Bus riders will no longer have to pay the 20-cent peak of the peak surcharge for the busiest times of day and off-peak riders will pay from $1.70 to $3.50.

    * Already making big headlines this week, Ann Romney will headline an all-women fundraising event Monday in Northern Virginia that is expected to bring in more than $300,000.

    About 150 women will be at the sold out event hosted by Catherine Reynolds and Marlene Malek -- the wife of Republican fundraiser Fred Malek -- according to The Washington Post.

    Ann Romney has been front and center in the news this week after CNN contributor Hilary Rosen said Ann Romney doesn’t understand the struggles of women because she “hasn’t worked a day in her life.”

    The comment has triggered a media firestorm of everyone from mothers to pundits and journalists debating women and the economy.

    Ann Romney’s 63rd birthday is Monday.

    * Rep. Gerald Connolly is sitting rather pretty for his congressional reelection bid.

    His race isn’t supposed to be too close and, according to The Post, his most recent financial reports show that he raised $400,000 in the first three months of the year and already has more than a million dollars in the bank.

    This far exceeds any of his opponents.