Attorneys for the Goldwater Institute are asking Senator Dick Durbin, “Have You No Sense of Decency?” According to the Institute, Durbin is holding a McCarthy style witch hunt of conservative organizations.
Durbin 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.
Goldwater Institute senior staff responded to Durbin’s office in a letter dated August 9. The letter reads:
ATTN: THE OFFICES OF SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN
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 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
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the senator has sent letters to corporate and nonprofit supporters of the American Legislative Exchange Council, asking them to disclose their positions on “stand-your-ground” legislation that ALEC supported in Florida in 2005.
Durbin wrote to ALEC donors, “… Although ALEC does not maintain a public list of corporate members or donors, other public documents indicate that your company 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 am seeking clarification whether organizations that have funded ALEC’s operations in the past currently support ALEC and the model ‘stand your ground’ legislation.”
According to Breitbart.com, Durbin says he will convene a subcommittee hearing in September “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.”
In response Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued a statement saying that Durbin’s letter was “inappropriate,” and he encouraged recipients not to respond. Cruz wrote, “While Senator Durbin is free to make any inquiry he likes, in my view this effort represents an inappropriate governmental intrusion into the personal and political views of American citizens and businesses. In light of the current IRS targeting scandal, this action raises concerns about retaliation against those who may disagree with the Chairman and the Obama Administration.”