Letter to the House of Representatives Regarding the Domestic Terrorism DATA Act

In a letter to the House of Representatives, ADL urged members to support the Domestic Terrorism DATA Act.

July 12, 2019

Dear Representative:

We are writing to urge you to support H.R. 3106, the Domestic Terrorism Documentation and Analysis of Threats in America Act, or the Domestic Terrorism DATA Act, which we have endorsed.

The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) is a leading anti-hate organization and has been working to secure justice and fair treatment to all since its founding in 1913. As part of our mandate, we have been compiling and analyzing comprehensive domestic terrorism data for years. We use this data to investigate the threat of extremist groups and domestic terrorism, work with law enforcement to help keep our communities safe from those threats, and inform debates about how to shape policy. ADL has long found that data collection is essential to effectively counter hate and extremism in all forms.  Without transparency, collective efforts, and comprehensive data collection, advocacy and solutions are not possible.

Our data show that threats against Jews, Muslims, and other minorities in the United States are at disturbingly high levels, and a key reason for that is the resurgence of white supremacist ideologies. ADL's latest report on extremist-related murders, Murder and Extremism in the United States in 2018, found that 78% of the 50 murders committed by extremists in 2018 were tied specifically to white supremacy. The ten-year overview tells a similar story: Of the 313 people killed by right-wing extremists between 2009 to 2018, 76% were killed by white supremacists, making white supremacists the deadliest extremist movement in the United States over the past decade.

The proliferation of hate and the dangerous ideology of white supremacy puts our communities at risk.  From Charlottesville to Pittsburgh to Poway, American communities are under attack.  In a time of crisis such as this, one might expect a complete overhaul of the priorities, policies, and resources that the U.S. government brings to bear to counter and prevent this ideology from claiming its next victims.  Instead, Americans have been met with an abdication of that duty, while the government, in fact, has reduced resources to counter domestic terrorism, leaving our communities more vulnerable to the next inevitable tragedy.

The Domestic Terrorism Documentation and Analysis of Threats in America Act focuses on increasing the coordination, accountability, and transparency of the federal government in collecting and recording data on domestic terrorism. H.R. 3106 would Require FBI, DOJ, and DHS to produce an annual, unclassified joint report that provides the following: data on domestic terrorist incidents; assessments, investigations, indictments, prosecutions, and convictions with a domestic terrorism nexus; the number of full-time staff working on domestic terrorism employed by DOJ and DHS, as well as a new requirement for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit the annual joint reports.

Data drives policy; we cannot address what we are not measuring. Collecting accurate and transparent data on domestic terrorism is an essential way to ensure this threat to American democracy receives the attention it deserves. That is why we urge you to support the Domestic Terrorism DATA Act.

Sincerely,

Erika Moritsugu
Vice President, Government Relations, Advocacy, and Community Engagement
Anti-Defamation League