by David Safier
The Angel just loves the smell of free energy drinks in the afternoon. That rumbling you heard Tuesday was sound of lawmakers stampeding toward the Ice Cream Parlor in the Old Capitol to snatch up some free swag from one of the state's most influential lobbying groups. The Arizona Beverage Associationhad laid out a wide assortment of drinks and legislators wasted no time stockpiling the free beverages. Inside the parlor it was chaos as lawmakers rushed around the room hoarding Coke, Starbucks and other products like it was the coming of Armageddon. Rep. Ed Ableserwalked off with more than 30 assorted sodas and energy drinks like Full Throttle and Monster Energy. Rep. Frank Antenori preferred the more traditional. He scored an entire case of Coke Zero.
Having a Coke on the AZ Beverage Assn. tab doesn't strike me as much of a problem. Walking off with 30 sodas or a case of Coke Zero? It's not like a lobbyist is giving legislators a yacht or tickets to the Super Bowl. But these folks make 24 grand a year. A free case of Coke Zero can make a legislator feel a bit too kindly toward the beverage lobby.