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August 10, 2013

Here's what political intimidation looks like

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If you want to know what political intimidation looks like, this link will take you to a PDF of the letter sent to IPI (and allegedly over 300 organizations) about their support of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

I'm not going to excerpt any language from the letter in this blog entry, because you just have to read the entire thing.

Durbin's office probably made a major mistake sending this letter to think tanks like IPI (and the Cato Institute), because we don't cow to things like this--in fact, we see them as opportunities to point out political intimidation. The letter was reallly designed for corporations who are members of ALEC, to make the occupants of the executive suite call up their government affairs office and ask what the heck Company X is doing with this organization that generated a letter from a U.S. senator. It's subtle but strategic intimidation of free speech and freedom of association, and IPI intends to respond along these lines.

The Wall Street Journal did an editorial strongly condemning Durbin's intimidation, but remarkably, so did the Chicago Tribune, arguably Durbin's home state paper and not exactly a conservative organ.

There are many ironies here. In particular, I can't help but notice that the state of Illinois, which Senator Durbin represents, is one of the most financially sick states and probably the most politically corrupt state in the nation. And while he's trying to intimidate ALEC members, they are sitting in task force meetings trying to find ways to make their state pension funds solvent, to deliver services to their residents in the most efficient and most effective ways possible, and to create jobs within their states.

All things Senator Durbin and Illinois should be concentrating on instead of intimidating those who are succeeding where Durbin and Illinois are failing.

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