Wall Street Journal's Kimberly Strassel writes Friday about Illinois' senior U.S. Senator that his vendetta towards American Legislative Exchange Council is a key reason for this week's stand your ground hearing.
Despite all of the ink over Mr. Durbin's tactics, few have stopped to question his motivation. After all, the senator's disdain for ALEC preceded the "stand your ground" fight. No one on the left much likes ALEC, but the senator's determination to dismantle the group is striking. Why?
The answer is that ALEC's biggest reform successes have cut at the heart of Mr. Durbin's political base. Democrats pull much of their money from lawyers and law firms, but Mr. Durbin is among the most favored—and the legal profession is his biggest industry contributor. Over his political career, according to OpenSecrets.org, he's been showered with more than $4.3 million in campaign contributions from the trial bar. Only a handful of Senate Democrats can claim such huge numbers, and they include Majority Leader Harry Reid and New York power broker Chuck Schumer.
In short, Mr. Durbin owes his career to a special interest that counts ALEC among its greatest threats. The free-market group has produced model reforms on medical malpractice, class actions, damages, forum shopping and expert testimony, to name a few.
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