Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin was set to bring Trayvon Martin’s mother to the Senate this week as part of his longstanding fight against the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Durbin has been targeting right-leaning groups and nonpartisan private businesses with demands for information about their ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its model ‘stand your ground’ legislation, prompting concern and pushback from some of his targets. (Related: Durbin under fire for ‘Stand Your Ground’ inquiries)
Durbin sent letters to approximately 300 organizations and businesses, including AT&T, demanding information about their financial ties to ALEC, an organization that designs model legislation at the state level to promote free-market and small-government principles. (Related: ALEC rebukes Durbin’s ‘stand your ground’ inquiries)
Durbin, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on the constitution, civil rights, and human rights, was set to hold a hearing Tuesday on ALEC called, “‘Stand Your Ground Laws’: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force,” featuring slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton. The hearing was postponed due to the deadly shooting at Washington, D.C.’s Navy Yard.
“I write to seek information regarding your company’s position on ‘stand your ground’ legislation that was adopted as a national model by an organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC),” Durbin wrote in his letter.
“ALEC describes itself as a think tank that develops model bills for state legislators. In 2005, ALEC approved the adoption of model ‘stand your ground’ legislation entitled the ‘Castle Doctrine Act.’ This model legislation was based on Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law, and it changes the criminal law regarding self-defense and provides immunity for certain uses of deadly force,” Durbin wrote.
“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,” Durbin wrote.
“I acknowledge your company’s right to actively participate in the debate of important political issues, regardless of your position, and I recognize that a company’s involvement with ALEC does not necessarily mean that the company endorses all positions taken by the organization. Therefore I am seeking clarification whether companies that have funded ALEC’s operations in the past currently support ALEC and the model ‘stand your ground’ legislation,” Durbin wrote.