Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sen. Dick Durbin launches witch hunt among press corps

By M.D. Kittle |
MADISON, Wis. – U.S. Sen. Richard “Dick” Durbin has some questions for Watchdog’s parent organization, asking who we know, what we know, and when we knew it.
In a letter to the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, Durbin asks the nonprofit news organization whether it has given money to or ever been affiliated with the American Legislative Exchange Council, the model legislation think tank that liberals — and journalism experts like Durbin — love to hate.
“What is it he thinks he’s doing here?” asks Jason Stverak, president of the Franklin Center. “Does he think he has the authority to oversee state legislatures? Is it his job to tell citizens and groups what sort of policies they may advocate? What about tracking down all the members of that group?
“Why not just ask it: are we now or have we ever been members of the American Legislative Exchange Council?”
Earlier this week, U.S. Sen Dick Durbin (D-Ill) contacted the Goldwater Institute to inquire about the private organization's relationship to the American Legislative Exchange Council--most notably, whether the Institute has supported ALEC in the past or endorsed the group's "Stand Your Ground" model legislation. The following is a response by Goldwater Institute senior staff to Sen Durbin's office, and this letter (pasted below) will be sent to the office of Sen Durbin today.

We are in receipt of your letter dated August 6, 2013 requesting information about the Goldwater Institute’s relationship with the American Legislative Exchange Council and whether or not we support the “Stand Your Ground” legislation adopted as a model bill by that group.

"Have You No Sense of Decency?"

That was the question posed by attorney Joseph Welch that historians credit with ending the Senator Joseph McCarthy’s witch-hunt.

It is the same question we pose to your office today in response to your effort to intimidate us for daring to associate with the free market, limited government organization known as the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Simply put, especially in the wake of IRS intimidation and harassment of conservative organizations, your inquisition is an outrage.

We refuse to answer whether we are or ever have been a supporter of ALEC or its model legislation. We refuse to answer not because we disavow ALEC—far from it. We refuse to answer because as free Americans, that is our right.

Your attempt to silence your fellow Americans through threats and intimidation because they don't share identical political beliefs is disgraceful and not worthy of the title you hold.

Thank you for your attention,

Darcy Olsen
President, Goldwater Institute

Clint Bolick
Vice President for Litigation, Goldwater Institute
Nick Dranias
Director for Policy Development, Goldwater Institute

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