Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Shouldn't Metro Legal Have to Explain Their Decision?

So, now we know that Eric Crafton's local referendum organization received 90% of their funding from a Virginia-based pro-English group. That would seem to minimize the chances that an individual donor would have been the target of threats.  So, why would Metro Legal risk setting a precedent of political cover for future candidates, a precedent that does not ever seem to have happened in the past?

It is clear that Eric Crafton mislead the public last week when he argued that 90% of his movement's donations came from people giving less than $100 apiece. Even the best kept astroturf can never really look grassroots. I simply fail to understand why Metro Legal would give Mr. Crafton any credibility by delaying the transparent disclosure of his true corporate sources far away on the east coast. How are Virginian nativists under any greater threat than a local donor who supported English Only's opponents?

UPDATE: From the WTF?! Department via the Tennessean:
Cain told Election Administrator Ray Barrett in an email at 7:39 a.m. today that there was no evidence of "a substantial risk of bodily harm from a perceived likely threat."
These are serious allegations. I would think that Metro Legal would need to demonstrate that the perceived threat to a large anti-immigrant organization was more real than imagined before delaying transparency that could effect the vote. Or else, candidates in the future can just write letters willy-nilly to Metro Legal saying that they perceive a threat and they want their donor information kept secret until after the election and beyond.

UPDATE: Nathan Moore posted the entire text of the Cain's letter to Barrett at his blog:
I have carefully reviewed the cases related to the disclosure of the names of the contributors that were listed on the reports filed yesterday. After reviewing the concerns raised initially by Jonathan Crisp, President, Nashville English First, in light of the standards set in Kallstrom v. City of Columbus, 136 F.3d 1055, and Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, it is my opinion that you may release these reports to the public. To reach the Kallstrom standard, there must be evidence that “the release of private information places an individual at substantial risk of serious bodily harm, possibly even death, from a perceived likely threat.” Kallstrom at 136 F.3d at 1064.

The “threats” alluded to in Mr. Crisp’s letter and the attachments do not evidence a substantial risk of bodily harm from a perceived likely threat. This coupled with Mr. Crisp’s conversation with you yesterday indicating that he no longer objects to the release of the reports convince me that these records are public records that must be released in that not even Mr. Crisp, who originally raised the concern, believes there is any substantial threat.

I appreciate your patience in allowing us the opportunity to review this matter.

Sue Cain
Director of Law

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