Under the Dome

GOP legislators to be reimbursed for ALEC conference costs

Five Republican leaders plan to seek reimbursements for attending the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, conference last week.

The conservative state lawmakers’ group – often a target for criticism from the left – met in San Diego through Saturday, and House Speaker Tim Moore wrapped up his chamber’s work in Raleigh a day early last week as he left for the conference.

According to the legislature’s controller, Wesley Taylor, five legislators have filed travel authorizations: Moore; Rep. Hugh Blackwell of Burke County; Rep. John Fraley of Iredell County; Rep. Craig Horn of Union County and Sen. David Curtis of Gaston County.

The authorization allows them to receive $104 per day for travel expenses as well as reimbursement for registration fees, which cost up to $750 for legislators at the ALEC event. It is considered professional development.

Other legislators are attending but have not filed for reimbursement, including Rep. Jason Saine. The Lincolnton Republican gave a talk there Friday with the title “Utilizing Technology and Data Analytics to Promote Efficiencies in Government.”

A spokeswoman for Moore did not respond to a request for a full list of House members attending. A photo on Twitter showed that House Majority Leader Mike Hager, Senate Finance Chairman Bob Rucho and Rep. Sarah Stevens of Mount Airy were present at a meeting there with presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

Legislators’ participation in ALEC while a state budget deal remains incomplete drew criticism from Democrats and liberal groups.

Tazra Mitchell of the N.C. Justice Center held a news conference Wednesday to speak out against Republican-led tax cuts she attributes to ALEC’s influence.

“They sell this economic snake oil to states across the country,” she said. “ALEC is behind some of the regressive policies that have been pushed in North Carolina. These policies are a prescription for poor results.”

House Democratic Leader Larry Hall posted a sarcastic tweet suggesting Republicans should have stayed in Raleigh to work on the budget.

Meanwhile, Horn was tweeting about what he’s learning at the ALEC conference: