Press Releases

 

Entries in Free Speech (121)

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
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!

In The News

Obamacare's restaurant calorie label mandate is a complete mess

Government do-gooding is turning into a nightmare for small businesses

Read more

WatchdogWire

More crash, more cash at red-light camera intersections

Camera issues more tickets than town's total population!

Click here to see how much money it brought in!

Proponents and opponents target open-carry in Texas

Senate committee looks to remove barriers to Second Amendment rights

Watch the video here!

Stay Connected


Friday
Mar282014

Public Citizen - Hollow bill passes in Granite State Senate 

New Hampshire State Senate Moves Forward Hollow Bill, Legislature Needs to Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Statement of Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Senior Organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign

Today the New Hampshire state Senate defeated proposed language calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and get corporate money out of politics. Instead they moved forward a hollow bill, SB 307, creating a committee to examine the impact of the Citizens United ruling and make recommendations to the New Hampshire congressional delegation.

New Hampshire residents made it crystal clear that they want to free elections from corporate influence and mega-donors when they overwhelmingly passed warrants at 48 town meetings calling for the state Legislature to support a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This ruling gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, drowning out the voices of everyday Americans.

The amended language was voted down 12 to 12 by a near party-line vote, with all Democrats voting in favor and all but one Republican – Senator Russell Prescott – voting against.

Thirty-six of the 48 towns that voted to pass a resolution were in Senate Republican districts, showing bipartisan support for a constitutional amendment. Polls have also shown that the call to overturn Citizens United is popular among a wide swath of New Hampshire residents, no matter their political party. According to a University of New Hampshire Survey Center Granite State Poll (PDF), 72 percent of New Hampshire residents oppose the Citizens United ruling (81% Democrats, 70% Independents, 64% Republicans) and 69 percent of New Hampshire residents support a constitutional amendment that limits campaign contributions and spending (75% Democrats, 73% Independents, 61% Republicans). This shows the Republican Senators are out of step with their constituents on this issue.

The bill that was passed today now moves to the New Hampshire House of Representatives for a vote. The House has the opportunity to amend the bill to include the statement that the New Hampshire Legislature recognizes the need for a constitutional amendment – essentially the backbone of the bill. If the House passes a version of this bill including that powerful statement, the bill would then move back to a conference committee.

It is important that the House listens to the overwhelming majority of New Hampshire residents and pass a version of the bill that includes language calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, which would set New Hampshire on the path to becoming the 17th state to calling for an amendment to stop the flood of money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy into our elections.

For more information about the efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in New Hampshire visit www.nh4democracy.org.

Friday
Mar212014

ALG's Daily Grind - Giving away the Internet surrenders the First Amendment 

6

March 20, 2014

Permission to republish original opeds and cartoons granted.

Giving away the Internet surrenders the First Amendment
Electronic Frontier Foundation in 1998: "Internet administration has always guaranteed free speech and due process, since it has been done by U.S. Government contractors who are required to follow the U.S. Constitution. If the New IANA moves Internet administration out from under the U.S. Government, as there is general agreement to do, the public will lose these guarantees…"

Cartoon: Joke and change
The Russians are laughing at us.

Why do schools exist?
New York City's far left mayor Bill de Blasio this month used his new mayoral authority to take aim at children, ordering three charter schools, which had previously been approved space to operate within city school property, to no longer be allowed to open in the approved sites.

Lazear: The Hidden Rot in the Jobs Numbers
"Hours worked are declining, resulting in the equivalent of a net loss of 100,000 jobs since September."

Wednesday
Mar192014

Public Citizen - Four out of five NH towns support constitutional amendment

Final Tally: 47 New Hampshire Towns Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Statement of Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Senior Organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign

The final tally of the town meeting votes last week is irrefutable evidence that New Hampshire residents want to free elections from corporate influence and mega-donors. At 47 town meetings, citizens overwhelmingly passed warrants calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. With 59 towns voting, this shows there was a 4-to-1 margin of towns that approved the initiative versus those that defeated it. At least five towns have a similar warrant on their ballots to be voted on in the spring.

Now that the people of New Hampshire have spoken, it is important that the state Senate move forward next week, when it votes on SB 307. That bill would create a committee to examine Citizens United and different approaches to a constitutional amendment. The Senate should pass a version that includes language calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. That ruling gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, thereby drowning out the voices of everyday Americans. The influence of corporations and the wealthy was starkly apparent during New Hampshire’s 2012 gubernatorial race, when outside groups spent $19 million – almost five times what the candidates spent themselves.

Polls show the call to overturn Citizens United is popular among a wide swath of New Hampshire residents, no matter their political party. Seventy-two percent of residents have said they oppose the Citizens United ruling, and 69 percent would support a constitutional amendment that limits corporate campaign contributions and spending, according to a University of New Hampshire Survey Center Granite State Poll. Additionally, more than 100 New Hampshire residents recently marched across the state in the dead of winter to show their support for campaign finance reform.

With the voting results, the polls and grassroots organizing, it is crystal clear that the residents of New Hampshire want to join the nationwide movement and become the 17th state to call for a constitutional amendment to stop the flood of money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy into our elections.

For more information about this effort and to find out how towns voted, visit www.nh4democracy.org.