Protesters gather downtown to fight against American Legislative Exchange Council

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – More than 1,000 protesters stood in from of the Grand Hyatt Hotel Wednesday to fight against an organization, that they argue, allows corporate lobbyists to cozy up to lawmakers. 

The American Legislative Exchange Council, is meeting this week and is governed by state legislators who comprised the board directors and is advised by the Private Enterprise Advisory Council, a group of private, foundation and think tank members. On its website, the group touts limited government, free markets and federalism.

Francine Busby, chairwoman of the San Diego County Democratic Party, called ALEC a group of extremists and, at a news conference before the peaceful demonstration, demanded that Mayor Kevin Faulconer not make a speech at the conference.

Common Cause President Miles Rapoport characterized the conference as "a festival of closed-door deal-making by politicians, corporate executives and lobbyists. They gather to do the public's business in private, fashioning legislation that undercuts the public interest in things like clean air and water, quality public schools, economic fairness and participatory democracy."

Republican presidential hopefuls Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor, and Mike Huckabee, the ex-Arkansas governor, are scheduled to speak at the conference on Thursday.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, canceled a scheduled Friday appearance.

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