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January 11, 2008
Contact: Don Cookson

Secretary Matthew Dunlap Accepts Maine Civil Liberties Union's Highest Award for His Work in Opposition of REAL ID

Dunlap's opposition to REAL ID "A truly patriotic act"

Bangor — Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap received the Maine Civil Liberties Union’s (MCLU) Roger Baldwin Award in a ceremony at the MCLU Annual Meeting at the Bangor Public Library Thursday night. Dunlap was recognized along with Senate Majority Leader Elizabeth Mitchell and State Representative Scott Lansley for tireless efforts to bring an end to the failed policy that is the Federal REAL ID Act. “I am truly honored to receive this award,” Dunlap remarked, noting “Maine’s political and community leaders have recognized REAL ID for what it truly is- a poorly thought out policy that fails to achieve its’ supposed primary goal of improving national security, while at the same time creating enormous concerns about the privacy of all Americans.”

Dunlap has been involved in the discussion about enhancing the security of state-issued credentials since being appointed to the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee to Establish Minimum Standards for State-Issued Driver's Licenses and Identification Cards created under the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004. He has been a staunch advocate for strengthening the veracity of all identity documents and government issued credentials, but opposes what he sees as broad privacy concerns and enormous financial burdens created by the passage of the REAL ID Act in May of 2005. Dunlap has been at the forefront of Maine’s efforts to express opposition to the REAL ID Act, first with a near-unanimous Joint Resolution from the Legislature calling for the repeal of REAL ID, followed by passage of a law barring Dunlap from spending any state money in efforts to comply with REAL ID (Title 29-A, Section 1411). Dunlap says “The state's opposition to the Real ID Act is not an expression of disinterest in national security, and my own efforts are not expressions of bureaucratic narrow-mindedness and a desire to say no. All of us have been concerned about the cornerstones of our liberty--our ability to live freely--as being seriously compromised by the mechanics of this legislation. This is what has driven opposition to the Real ID Act. Even if the Legislature and I were wrong--even if personal privacy was not permanently thrown off, subject to the random scrutiny of unknown officials for unknown purposes--Real ID would not take a single step forward in the defense of any American against a determined act of terror.”

Dunlap’s prominence in the national debate over REAL ID has led ABC News to seek him out for remarks in response to the announcement of the Department of Homeland Security’s finalized rules for REAL ID, which were announced in a press conference at 12 noon on Friday. The Secretary's comments will be aired during ABC’s nationally televised World News Tonight Friday evening, seen here in Maine at 6:30 pm Eastern time.

The MCLU’s Baldwin Award honors Mainers who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the protection of civil liberties. The award is named for the founder of the American Civil Liberties Union, Roger Baldwin.