Two different conservative organizations with whom we’ve got contacts have received letters from Sen. Dick Durbin’s office today which look an awful lot like the actions that precipitated the IRS scandal. Apparently there’s a massive fishing expedition afoot.
This came to the our buddy Kevin Kane at the Pelican Institute…
Dear Mr. Kane,
I write to seek information regarding your organization’s position on “stand your ground” legislation that was adopted as a national model by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
ALEC describes itself as a think tank that develops model bills for state legislators. In 2005, ALEC approved the adoption of model “stand your ground” legislation entitled the “Castle Doctrine Act.” This model legislation was based on Florida’s “stand your ground” law, and it changes the criminal law regarding self-defense and provides immunity for certain uses of deadly force.
In years subsequent to 2005, ALEC cited the introduction and enactment of state bills based on its model “stand your ground” legislation as “ALEC’s successes.” As recently as March 2012, ALEC issued a statement defending its model “stand your ground” legislation from criticism after the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida. On April 17, 2012, ALEC issued a press release stating that it was eliminating the task force that had initially approved the model “stand your ground” legislation.v However, ALEC has never issued a statement retracting the organization’s approval of its model “stand your ground” legislation, nor has ALEC ever issued a statement calling for any state laws based on ALEC’s model “stand your ground” legislation to be repealed.
Although ALEC does not maintain a public list of corporate members or donors, other public documents indicate that your organization funded ALEC at some point during the period between ALEC’s adoption of model “stand your ground” legislation in 2005 and the present day. I acknowledge your organization’s right to actively participate in the debate of important political issues, regardless of your position, and I recognize that an organization’s involvement with ALEC does not necessarily mean that the organization endorses all positions taken by ALEC. Therefore I am seeking clarification whether organizations that have funded ALEC’s operations in the past currently support ALEC and the model “stand your ground” legislation.
I ask that you please reply to this letter by answering yes or no in response to the two questions below. Please feel free to provide additional information explaining your yes or no response.
1. Has Pelican Institute for Public Policy served as a member of ALEC or provided any funding to ALEC in 2013?
2. Does Pelican Institute for Public Policy support the “stand your ground” legislation that was adopted as a national model and promoted by ALEC?
Please provide a response to this letter by September 1, 2013. Note that I am sending similar letters to other organizations that have been identified as ALEC funders at some point between 2005 and today. In September, I plan to convene a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights to examine “stand your ground” laws, and I intend to include the responses to my letters in the hearing record. Therefore, please know that your response will be publicly available.
Thank you for your attention to this request. Please feel free to contact Dan Swanson or Stephanie Trifone on my staff at 202-224-2152 if you have any questions. I look forward to receiving your response.
We heard earlier today that the Center for Security Policy received a similar letter.
Kane told us that the suggestion the Pelican Institute is a funder of the American Legislative Exchange Council is a ludicrous one and wonders where Durbin, the Illinois Democrat whose reputation as a jackbooted partisan willing to sink to any level to score points for the Left is exceeded only by Harry Reid, could have gotten such an idea. Obviously Durbin or someone on his staff got hold of a sign-in sheet or two from some ALEC conferences and decided to embark on a fishing expedition.
What’s going on here isn’t difficult to ascertain. The Left has decided that Stand Your Ground laws need to be demonized and/or repealed, and as a result they’re going to attempt to shame and intimidate the people they think are responsible for them. And Durbin said last month he was going to crank up a dog and pony show in the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights committees he runs in order to cast those laws as discriminatory – despite the fact that, at least in Florida, black people disproportionately avail themselves of them.
Naturally, Durbin won’t be able to do anything about 29 different pieces of state legislation. But his dog-and-pony show will fire up the Democrat base in advance of the 2014 elections. Because evil Republicans at ALEC passed Stand Your Ground laws so creepy-ass crackers could kill black people, see.
And the Left has had it in for ALEC ever since Republicans began taking over state legislatures in large numbers, beginning in 2008 and accelerating in 2010.
Interestingly enough, the reference to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law completely misses the fact that its presence on that state’s books predates ALEC’s involvement in that legislation across the country. Also interestingly, Louisiana’s Stand Your Ground law was authored by a Democrat, then-state representative and now state senator Eric Lafleur, and signed by Democrat governor Kathleen Blanco.
But those facts aren’t interesting to Durbin. He’s carrying latrine buckets for the Democrats who want to go after Stand Your Ground, and he has his staff firing off intimidating letters to everyone in sight, probably in an effort to find and scare people in order to smear ALEC.
The Left wants to destroy ALEC’s effectiveness in drawing up model legislation to further conservative policies in state legislatures controlled by Republicans. They’ve done everything they can to scare some of the corporate partners in that organization away, and now they’re trying to move in for the kill.
It’s part of the same pattern as the IRS scandal – use the levers of government in an effort to break down their opponents’ ability to conduct political business. And they’re not even secretive about it anymore.