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Entries in Franklin Center (86)

Saturday
Jul262014

Franklin Center - Free speech won a major victory  

 

Dear Friend,

More than a year ago, a company founded by Terry McAuliffe – the Clintons’ former chief fundraiser and now the governor of Virginia – slapped the Franklin Center with an $85 million libel lawsuit.

I wanted you to be among the first to know – yesterday, a federal judge in Mississippi threw out the entire lawsuit.

Our investigation into GreenTech Automotive and into McAuliffe’s role with the company, which he used to launch his candidacy for governor, started when one of our reporters found that, while the company didn’t seem to be producing many cars, it was soliciting investments through a controversial federal program called EB-5. The EB-5 program offers any foreign national who invests $500,000 in a U.S. company a green card. The program has been rife with problems – and appeared to be one of GreenTech’s main funding sources.

The lawsuit filed against us – one of the largest libel suits in American history – was nothing less than an attempt to shut us down for telling the truth. But we decided to fight back, to defend ourselves, and most importantly, to keep digging. Altogether we produced more than 90 stories examining McAuliffe’s connections to GreenTech from every possible angle.

This is all too often how the progressive establishment operates. Rather than engaging their opponents in a battle of ideas, seeking to win on merit, they use the legal system and other bullying tactics to shut their opponents down. This time, however, we were able to to fight back on behalf of all of those whom the system has tried to silence.

We’re sure there will be many more battles like this to come. Even as I write, one of our reporters is fighting Gov. McAuliffe’s office for answers on the immigration crisis – going so far as to camp out on the floor, just outside his office, waiting to confront him and demand the information that taxpaying citizens are clamoring for and deserve. And GreenTech may even appeal the court’s order dismissing its baseless lawsuit. Will you considering supporting us in the hard, ongoing work of investigative journalism?

Thank you so much for your loyal support and readership. Because of you, the cause of free speech won a major victory against the powerful, moneyed progressive establishment. Please know that you have the gratitude of the entire Franklin Center staff.
Best regards,

Jason Stverak
President
Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity

Thursday
Jul102014

Inside look at the Franklin Center Fellowship  

An inside look at the Franklin Center Blogger Fellowship

Last April, the Franklin Center launched its inaugural Blogger Fellowship initiative with fellows Ben Howe and Amelia Hamilton. They are now halfway through a six-month program of writing about government inefficiency, education reform, and other pressing issues of the day. With assistance from the Franklin Center, Howe and Hamilton have been working to promote their work through new media tools like YouTube, Twitter, and Google Hangouts, as well as through more traditional channels like podcasts, radio, or TV interviews.

Learn more about the fellowship here.

A Note From Our President

Dear Reader,

Here at the Franklin Center, there's nothing conventional about the ways we change the world. We believe that unconventional channels like on-the-ground reporting and citizen journalism have the power to influence establishment institutions and reshape our country's narrative for the better. Our freedoms, after all, are protected by the people, not our politicians.

That's why we started a blogger fellowship program. Our fellows Ben Howe and Amelia Hamilton are movers and shakers for the cause of liberty in the digital age. They've produced documentaries exposing cronyism, written books about the American Revolution, and challenged traditional media. We're proud to call them Franklin fellows, and I can't wait to see what else they're capable of - especially with an extra push from supporters like you.

Best regards,

Jason Stverak
President, Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity

 

P.S. If you would like to help us keep up the fight for a free press, you can donate here!

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Saturday
Jul052014

Franklin Center - 238 years ago today 

Dear Reader,

On this day 238 years ago, just after John Hancock made the most indelible signature in all of history, our namesake Benjamin Franklin uttered, "We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." Notorious for his sharp wit, Franklin was not one to pass on an opportunity to make a pun, but this one-liner spoke both to the gravity of the Founders' situation and the eternal fragility of freedom.

As they lined up to sign the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers one by one became traitors to the world's most powerful Empire, and faced the very real danger of "hanging separately" even if they hung together. They were among the first to risk their lives for the new United States of America, and they would hardly be the last.

Franklin's quote, however, applies just as much to the content of the Declaration as to its signers. Freedom is singular, not plural, and an attack on one right that our Founders put their lives on the line for is an attack on our broader liberty. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to vote, and all the other privileges we enjoy are inseparable from one another--and when government encroaches on one, each of them are in danger of "hanging separately."

The Fourth of July is a day to celebrate our freedom and all the men and women who have stood up for it--from Franklin and Jefferson to those fighting for liberty around the world today. I hope you and your family enjoy your holiday weekend.

Best regards,

Jason Stverak
President, Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity

 

Friday
Jun132014

Watchdog - Will armored vehicles roll into your town?

Are armored vehicles rolling into your town?

For years, they’ve been used as armored vehicles for U.S. troops in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. But Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles are now being operated by law enforcement agencies across the country. Don’t be surprised to see them patrolling the streets in towns across New Mexico.

What impact will this have for NM residents?

 

When Brat trumped Cantor: A lesson in social media

Nobody saw it coming. At least, virtually nobody saw it coming.

But Randolph-Macon College economics professor Dave Brat’s victory over Eric Cantor, U.S. House majority leader and the second most powerful Republican in the country, is like a 9.0 quake on the Richter scale, as University of Virginia political analyst Geoff Skelley put it.

Read more and let us know what you think?

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Is the WI John Doe battle almost over?

Much has changed in the four months since conservative activist Eric O’Keefe stood up — legally speaking — and said that he was mad as hell and he wasn’t about to take anymore. Is this the beginning of the end?

Why are property taxes on the rise in PA?

One in three school districts in Pennsylvania is raising property taxes without the consent of residents, thanks to a loophole in a state law meant to relieve the burden of rising education costs.

Cartoon of the Week

 

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Thursday
Apr102014

Franklin Center - Citizen journalism shines during Sunshine Week 

Citizen journalism shines during Sunshine Week

The Franklin Center’s citizen watchdog initiative, Watchdog Wire, recently observed Sunshine Week, a nationwide event all about two of the most important building blocks of good government: transparency and accountability.

“Sunshine Week is important because it raises awareness of our increasingly opaque government, and also shows citizens ways that they can help fight to maintain an open, accountable political system on all levels of government,” says Rachel Swaffer, Outreach Associate for Citizen Watchdog.

See what our citizen watchdogs accomplished during Sunshine Week

Watchdog.org Takes Home Six Awards at the Virginia Press Association’s Annual Conference

Alexandria, Va.– Two reporters from Watchdog.org’s Virginia Bureau won six awards–including two for first place–in the 2013 News/Editorial and Advertising Contest for the Virginia Press Association (VPA) on Saturday.

Read more here

A Note From Our President

Dear Reader,

While most offices were observing March Madness, our team of journalists observed Sunshine Week, a nationwide celebration of government transparency and accountability. On the ground across the country, Watchdog Wire's citizen journalists used open records laws, archives, and state and local government websites to cast light on the dark corners of government. We're committed to helping make citizens more aware of the tools they have in front of them to hold government accountable - because tyranny has no greater enemy than an informed and engaged citizenry.

Best regards,

Jason Stverak
President
Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity


P.S. If you would like to help us keep up the fight for a free press, you can donate here!

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