Just like the president, fellow Illinoisan Senator Dick Durbin was one of the first Democrats to publicly decry the IRS scandal which he called “absolutely unacceptable” and “unthinkable.” But an Oct. 2010 letter to then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, urging an investigation of “several 501(c)(4) organizations that appear to be in violation of the law” reveals his real feelings on the issue.
Durbin’s letter only targeted one group by name: Crossroads GPS, making “potential donors think twice about contributing to a group a U.S. senator had publicly named as an illegal operation.”
Now the Illinois Senator is suggesting that he may publicly expose another conservative group to left-wing hysteria over the killing of Trayvon Martin.
The editorial page of Thursday’s Wall Street Journal reported 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.
ALEC, which is holding its annual meeting in Chicago this week, is a conservative association of state legislators, foundations and businesses that advocate limited government and free markets. Many but not all of its areas of focus are economic. As Durbin writes in his letter 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.”
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.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) put out a strong statement today in reaction to Durbin’s chilling letter to ALEC donors:
Senator Durbin’s request for ALEC supporters to announce an official position on gun laws in advance of a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing is inappropriate, and I encourage recipients not to respond. 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.