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A social event will be held next week in Bismarck for lawmakers to meet and raise money for a legislative organization that pushes for free-market legislation.

MDU Resources will be hosting a beer and wine tasting for lawmakers Wednesday at its corporate campus in Bismarck. The event is to promote and raise money for the American Legislative Exchange Council.

ALEC is a corporate-funded organization that works with conservative legislators as well as businesses and foundations to create models for state legislatures to pass.

The group on its website lists its main legislative principles as free-market enterprise, limited government and federalism. Policies the group has pushed in several states in the past include reducing corporate taxation and regulations, promoting gun rights and minimizing environmental regulations.

MDU Resources Director of Government Affairs Geoff Simon said the event is intended to raise money for future ALEC events and build support for the organization. Simon is one of ALEC’s private sector co-chairmen for North Dakota.

The group’s public sector co-chairmen for North Dakota are Republican Reps. Al Carlson and Bette Grande of Fargo.

“This is the first time our company has hosted one of them,” Simon said of the event.

Simon said he’s a believer in the main principles that ALEC pushes for. He said similar events have been held in the Dakotas before and he decided to step up and help organize the event for North Dakota lawmakers.

Simon said the event is basically a typical social mixer for lawmakers and likely include some information provided by organizers promoting the group. He said no specific policy discussions would be taking place Wednesday.

The price tag for lawmakers for tickets to Wednesday’s 5:30-7:30 p.m. event is $250 apiece.

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Reach Nick Smith at 250-8255 or 223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.

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