Archive for August, 2008

Liberal intimidation tactic may be illegal

Friday, August 15th, 2008
Liberal intimidation tactic may be illegal

Jeff Johnson – OneNewsNow – 8/15/2008 8:15:00 AMBookmark and Share

Accountable America letterA public-interest law firm wants the Department of Justice to investigate a new liberal political group that is allegedly threatening donors to conservative advocacy organizations.

The official-looking document comes on the letterhead of “Accountable America” and begins with the large, ominous word “WARNING” in all capital letters. The document goes on to promise public exposure and criminal investigations of those who financially support conservative political action committees, even though their anonymity is protected by federal law.

Tom Fitton, president of the public-interest law firm Judicial Watch, says intimidating voters or political donors is illegal. Fitton says his group believes the letter may violate a key, federal civil rights law, popularly known as the “Ku Klux Klan Act,” that was passed in the 1870s.

“[That law] essentially prohibits anyone from conspiring to intimidate any citizen who is lawfully entitled to participate in our elections from working to support or advocate anyone who is running for federal office,” he explains. “And we believe these letters are designed to intimidate those who may want to participate in this year’s election or support conservative groups otherwise.”

According to a New York Times interview with Accountable America leader Tom Matzzie — one of the individuals behind the liberal MoveOn.org — Accountable America is planning to “confront donors to conservative groups, hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.” Fitton says such intimidation is illegal, and he wants the Department of Justice to investigate.

“I think the DOJ needs to take enforcement action now,” the Judicial Watch leader says. “I mean, this letter to me is enough to begin a federal civil rights investigation into this [group].”

“Why is it that this group is able to send a letter out to intimidate people from participating in federal elections? This is what the Ku Klux Klan did in the late 19th Century and this is what that law was designed to prevent.  And it’s a shame in this modern era that there’s a group mimicking these intimidation-like tactics, which is threatening people if they participate in our politics.”

Fitton was asked if Accountable America is disclosing who their supporters are.

“I don’t think they are — [but] they’re not required to under the law, and neither are the groups on the other side who are conservative,” he acknowledges. “They’re essentially just making threats up out of whole cloth in terms of accountability.”

And Fitton has no problem with demanding accountability — provided it is done in a lawful and proper manner, he says. “[I]t’s one thing to demand accountability, and it’s another thing to intimidate people from participating in our elections as they’re able to and entitled to under our U.S. Constitution,” he states.

On its website, Accountable America describes itself as a “non-partisan, non-profit” group that does not seek to elect or defeat candidates or endorse candidates for federal office. “Accountable America works to stop the outrageous policies of right-wing and special interests in Washington,” it says.

However, one conservative fundraiser said his donors are “not going to be intimidated by some pipsqueak on the kooky left.”