This is an open letter to the Connecticut Congressional Delegation.
We are profoundly concerned by the actions of federal agents operating on the streets of Portland, OR, without state or local approval and in violation of past precedent. Their presence is in direct contravention of the declarations of both the mayor of Portland and the governor of Oregon, as well as both of Oregon’s U.S. Senators, all of whom have demanded that the federal agents be removed immediately.
It is clear to us, the undersigned members of the Board of Directors of Common Cause in Connecticut, that the presence and actions of the federal agents in Portland, who operate without any identification or accountability and who are detaining citizens without warning or reason and violently attacking peaceful protesters, is an abuse of federal power. These activities smack of dictatorship and are wholly at odds with the U.S. Constitution. The Trump administration’s explanation of protecting federal property is patently untrue and implausible. If these actions are allowed to continue unabated and without correction, we fear we will see such lawless federal forces on the streets of cities across the country, perhaps including Stamford, New Haven or Hartford.
While we join in the call by Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ronald Wyden and Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici for investigations into the presence and actions of unmarked federal agents in Portland, we have little faith that either the U.S. Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security Offices of Inspector General will conduct fair and impartial investigations. Rather, we urgently call on you, as our state’s members of Congress, to take immediate legislative action to curb this federal lawlessness in Portland and prevent it from being replicated in other locations. The Customs and Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security must be required to respect the law and prohibited from operating as an unrestrained and violent federal police force within our country’s boundaries and in our cities.
We stand ready to assist you in protecting our constitutional right to protest and assemble peaceably, the accountability and transparency of our government, and our democracy.
State Governing Board of Common Cause in Connecticut
- Bilal Dabir Sekou, Chair, Vernon
- Susan Pease, Vice-chair, Hartford
- Dan E. Livingston, Hartford
- Michele Jacklin, Glastonbury
- Alex Knopp, Norwalk
- James Barber, New Haven
- Diana Evans, East Hartford
- Mary Jennings, Berlin