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. A PDF of this letter, as well as Sen Durbin's original letter are linked at the bottom of this article.
August 9, 2013
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,
President, Goldwater Institute
Vice President for Litigation, Goldwater Institute
Director for Policy Development, Goldwater Institute