The PJ Tatler

Senator Durbin is a...

Check this out. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is threatening corporations that sponsored a popular law, nearly a decade ago, because…well, because he feels like it, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Rather than accusing political enemies of flouting federal law, he’s suggesting that he may publicly expose them to public outrage 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 adds that in September he will convene a subcommittee hearing “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.”

So while the letter acknowledges that recipients have a right to participate in policy debates, Durbin’s intent is transparent: Renounce ALEC, and quit donating money, or I’ll shame you but good.

The Journal notes that as Durbin well knows, companies that support ALEC’s economic initiatives don’t care about “stand-your-ground” laws: “His goal is to scare them with reputational damage by mentioning them in the same breath as Trayvon Martin.”

He’s doing this, allegedly, because of Stand Your Ground laws and the Trayvon Martin killing.

Which, as everyone knows, had nothing to do with Stand Your Ground laws. So it’s not really about that. Stand Your Ground is a pretext.

While Durbin is casing about, though, for enemies who did support Stand Your Ground, he will studiously avoid the most famous person in Illinois who supported that 2005 law. Because his name is Barack H. Obama (D) and he’s currently the President of the United States.

Durbin is really engaging in a campaign of intimidation against donors who have supported things that he does not like. So he is threatening to bring the power of the state down on them. Despite the fact that, as he admits, they haven’t broken a single law.

He just wants to use his power to shame them and intimidate them. His actions are un-American.

The Tribune deserves credit for taking Durbin on and exposing his latest attempt to use the government to silence anyone who disagrees with him. His previous similar campaign involved the IRS and conservative groups. Maybe you’ve heard of it? His grubby fingerprints are all over that one.

Unfortunately, whatever the Tribune or anyone else writes will never shame Durbin, because he’s among the most shameless creatures in Washington.