Epping resident Tom Sutliff’s Attorney, Chuck Douglass, sent me the 41 page Federal Court ruling on Compeled Speech violations in Tom’s Town of Epping.
I’ll boil it down - Tom and his group, EPRG, win!
Tom did not get everything he wanted from the case but I would call having the Federal Court rule that the Epping selectmen violated Tom Sutliff’s constitutional rights by denying him the ability to link his taxpayer activist site to the town’s website without first handing over to the Select Board a detailed financial report and membership list of his group – something the tax and spend groupies did not have to do to link to the town site a big step forward.
For some unknown reason, the Federal Court got mired down in a recent Supreme Court ruling about a meat producers association and some federal bureaucracy about compelled speech, which has NOTHING to do with local legislative bodies, taxpayers, and municipal government. I guess having the same title on your case must mean something – who knows. In any case a part of the action Tom Sutliff brought will have to wait for another NH violation to take action on.
So go ahead Epping, keep on sending out taxpayer funded opinion pieces selling your tax and spend political positions to the voters without offering equal space to taxpayers like EPRG or anyone else. And show everyone who is boss by trying to pry a membership list and financial statement out of a private taxpayer group in exchange for linking to your taxpayer funded web site. Smart move.
All these shenanigans will make great reading in the court depositions you will have to sit through later on.