Free-Market Groups Denounce Intimidation by Senate Democrats

July 14th, 2016 by 4 Comments

On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation joined the American Legislative Exchange Council and 20 other free-market public policy organizations in a letter to U.S. Senate Democrats after internal emails revealed that 19 U.S. Senate Democrats planned a coordinated attack to intimidate and silence conservative and free market groups. The letter is reprinted below. [Download the Coalition Letter Here]

July 12, 2016

To:

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Senator Al Franken (D-MN)
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Senator Edward Markey (D-MA)
Senator Gary Peters (D-MI)

Dear Senators:

We, the undersigned, have long since known that you have a list—an enemies list of intellectual foes you wish to isolate. But our policy differences are not why we write. We write today with grave concern over political leadership in a time of deep national division. We write at a time when free speech and association are more important than ever in our national experiment. How will we, together, solve problems if we cannot speak? How can you lead when you refuse to listen?

You were elected by the people to build consensus and find compromise—to fiercely debate the most pressing issues of our day. Often, these debates are meant to be contentious and without a clear solution because innovation comes from great challenge. Sadly, our democracy and our freedom hangs in the balance as you use your office to bully and single out groups to blame rather than ideas to debate.

Just as you do, our civil society organizations represent many, many millions of Americans and a wide array of perspectives and interests. They deserve and increasingly demand healthy and respectful political dialogue, and well-informed, well-debated public policies. To support the debate our founders intended, all Americans have the right to support causes they believe in without fear of threats from overzealous government officials—threats paraded and perpetrated by you on the Senate floor.

The delicate balance of our democracy is preserved when all groups are free to speak in the public square, and ALL Americans should be concerned when agents of the government use their official offices to marginalize political foes.

Your enemies list groups together organizations that themselves maintain differing perspectives. While you have singled us out, labeling us as the enemy, we don’t even always agree with one another. And that’s the point: disagreement breeds solutions.

We hear you. Your threat is clear: There is a heavy and inconvenient cost to disagreeing with you. Calls for debate will be met with political retribution. That’s called tyranny. And, we reject it.

At the birth of our nation, patriots asserted their right to speech and broke British law in doing so. King George used the full force of the British crown to suppress the rebellion—to suppress speech. In spite of the tyrant’s commands and because they had put their lives on the line to defend their rights, the patriots enshrined free speech in our founding documents; the same documents that gave you your job.

In a country where you should be the patriots leading us into a great future, sadly today you are the tyrants.

Sincerely,

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform

Lisa B. Nelson, American Legislative Exchange Council

John A. Charles, Jr., Cascade Policy Institute

David Rothbard, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow

Kent Lassman, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Nicole Neily, Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

Benita Dodd, Georgia Public Policy Foundation

Bridgett Wagner, The Heritage Foundation

Fred Birnbaum, Idaho Freedom Foundation

Joseph Bast, The Heartland Institute

Robert McClure III, James Madison Institute

Brett Healy, The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy

Kory Swanson, John Locke Foundation

Dave Trabert, Kansas Policy Institute

Jason Hayes, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Brent Mead, Montana Policy Institute

Sharon J. Rossie, Nevada Policy Research Institute

Sally Pipes, Pacific Research Institute

Kevin Kane, Pelican Institute for Public Policy

Paul J. Gessing, Rio Grande Foundation

Lynn Taylor, Virginia Institute for Public Policy

Carol Platt Liebau, Yankee Institute for Public Policy

4 thoughts on “Free-Market Groups Denounce Intimidation by Senate Democrats

  1. From the same Benita Dodd that called a state rep an idiot on Facebook because she disagreed with him? “healthy and respectful political dialogue”.,,Hypocrite much?

      1. I have previously offered the screenshots to GPPF and they weren’t interested I suppose. They are still available. So, actually yes she would.

        1. Please stop perpetuating this myth. Unless there is some Order of the Perpetual Elected Official, the person in question was NOT a state representative at the time of the exchange — December 9, 2015. We have informed you previously you to take any complaint directly to Benita Dodd.

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