This week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) sent Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) a letter that claimed the Senator’s investigation into ALEC’s involvement “Stand Your Ground” laws was a form of “intimidation.” The letter was supposed to have carried the clout of about 300 state legislators who signed onto it, but, according to an investigation by progressive group by ProgressNow, many of the signatures on that letter were falsified or duplicated.
ALEC has come under intense scrutiny for its involvement in orchestrating passage of Stand Your Ground in several states. The law became a hotbed of controversy in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death. Though it wasn’t ultimately used in killer George Zimmerman’s defense, Stand Your Ground allowed Zimmerman to walk free on the night of the killing, turned out to be central to the case at trial, and was cited by one of six jurors as a justification for his acquittal.
After the Zimmerman verdict was announced, Durbin said that he would conduct an inquiry in ALEC’s involvement in the bill.
The group hit back Monday with a letter that tried to discredit Durbin’s inquiry. The group said it was signed by 293 elected officials. But, ProgressNow found, 55 of the signatures are “blatantly invalid.”
“[A] simple Google search found that seven of the signatures on the letter were unidentifiable, four were spouses of elected lawmakers, 35 of the signatures were duplications and one was an expletive rant,” said ProgressNow Research Director Brian Wietgrefe in a release.
The group’s full ananlysis is available here.
Over half of states in the U.S. have enacted some version of Stand Your Ground laws. Much of that legislation is similar to model legislation crafted by ALEC. The National Rifle Association, too, has been pivotal in lobbying for Stand Your Ground.