Additional Information on Dick Durbin

* During his years in the U.S. Senate, Durbin has supported the use of military force by Democratic presidents but opposed it during Republican administrations. For example, on January 12, 1991 (during the George H.W. Bush presidency), Durbin voted against authorizing the invasion of Iraq pursuant to U.N. Security Council Resolution 678, in the wake of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. A few years later, however, the senator voted repeatedly to support President Clinton’s military ventures in the Balkans and Iraq. Then in October 2002 (when Republican George W. Bush occupied the Oval Office), Durbin voted against the joint resolution authorizing the use of military force against Iraq.

* Although Durbin voted in favor of the Patriot Act in October 2001, he has repeatedly criticized it for what he perceives to be its excesses. In 2005 he introduced legislation, the “SAFE Act,” proposing to repeal several key elements of the anti-terrorism measure.

* In 2005 Durbin allied himself with a leftist movement opposing Social Security privatization. The movement was organized in Illinois around the Save Our Security Illinois Coalition, which included Chicago Democratic Socialists of America.

* In 2006, the Friends of Dick Durbin Campaign Committee received a financial contribution from George Soros, founder of the Open Society Institute.

* When the longtime Chicago socialist Timuel Black celebrated his 90th birthday in December 2008, Durbin read to him a personal birthday greeting from President-elect Barack Obama.

* In June 2010 Durbin addressed the 2010 “America’s Future Now!” Conference in Washington, DC, an annual event co-hosted by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Campaign for America’s Future.

* In 2012 the Institute for Policy Studies issued it “Congressional Report Card for the 99 Percent,” rating various members of Congress in terms of their positions on income taxes, a Wall Street speculation tax, infrastructure investments, union benefits for workers, student financial aid, and commitment to reducing economic inequality. The report’s “Honor Roll” gave an A-plus grade to 5 members of the U.S. Senate (all Democrats): Sherrod Brown, Dick Durbin, Al FrankenBernie Sanders, and Sheldon Whitehouse.

* As of 2012, Durbin’s net worth was $1,345,246.

* In May 2013 Durbin received the inaugural Nancy Pelosi Award for Immigration and Civil Rights Policy at a ceremony sponsored by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

* In January 2015, Durbin and many Democrats objected strenuously when Republican House Speaker John Boehner—without first asking President Obama for his approval—invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress on March 3rd about the gravity of the growing Iranian nuclear threat and his “profound disagreement” with the deal that the Obama Administration was pursuing with Iran. On February 23, Durbin and fellow Senator Dianne Feinstein invited Netanyahu to meet in a closed-door session with only Democrats during his visit. Netanyahu declined the invitation the following day, saying in a written statement: “I regret that the invitation to address the special joint session of Congress has been perceived by some to be political or partisan. I can assure you that my sole intention in accepting it was to voice Israel’s grave concerns about a potential nuclear agreement with Iran that could threaten the survival of my country.” In response, Durbin said: “We offered the Prime Minister an opportunity to balance the politically divisive invitation from Speaker Boehner with a private meeting with Democrats who are committed to keeping the bipartisan support of Israel strong. His refusal to meet is disappointing to those of us who have stood by Israel for decades.”

* Durbin has had a working relationship with senior Chicago Communist Party USA member Bea Lumpkin, appearing with her at various events.

* Over the years, Durbin has received financial and political from such organizations as the Council for a Livable WorldJ Streetand the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Campaign for America’s Future founder Robert Borosage has cited his close relationship with Durbin and Nancy Pelosi. “I’d say we are the bridge,” said Borosage. “We are attuned to the grassroots and in touch with the progressive leadership in Congress.”

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