Daily Media Links 6/7

June 7, 2022   •  By Tiffany Donnelly   •  
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We’re Hiring!

Senior Attorney – Institute for Free Speech – Washington, DC or Virtual Office

The Institute for Free Speech is hiring a Senior Attorney with a minimum of seven years of experience. The location for this position is either at our Washington, D.C. office or remotely anywhere in the United States.

This is a rare opportunity to work with a growing team to litigate a long-term legal strategy directed toward the protection of Constitutional rights. We challenge laws, practices, and policies that infringe upon First Amendment freedoms, such as speech codes that censor parents at school board meetings, laws restricting people’s ability to give and receive campaign contributions, and any intrusion into people’s private political associations. You would work to hold censors accountable; and to secure legal precedents clearing away a thicket of laws, regulations, and practices that suppress speech about government and candidates for political office, threaten citizens’ privacy if they speak or join groups, and impose heavy burdens on political activity.

New from the Institute for Free Speech

Introducing Adam Tragone, IFS’s Newest Attorney

The Institute for Free Speech is glad to announce the addition of attorney Adam Tragone to our legal team. Tragone brings extensive trial and appellate court experience to IFS and will help us continue expanding our legal work to defend First Amendment rights.

“In recent years, we’ve stepped up our efforts to defend political speech rights in the courts by taking on more cases affecting a wider range of First Amendment issues. Skilled litigators like Adam are essential to growing our ability to tackle the many challenges facing free speech today. We are pleased to welcome him to our team,” said Institute for Free Speech President David Keating.

Hailed as a Super Lawyers Rising Star since 2021, Tragone was previously an associate at Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has defended journalists and media outlets in a range of First Amendment matters, including access and privilege issues, defamation and privacy, and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Adam graduated from Duquesne University School of Law, where he was the executive editor of the Duquesne Law Review and received the Louis L. Manderino Honor Society for Distinguished Achievement in Moot Court and the McGinley Fellowship for Public Service.

Prior to law school, he served as the managing editor of Human Events, one of the nation’s oldest weekly publications.

“My experience in journalism taught me the importance of First Amendment rights to a free society. I am excited and honored to be joining one the nation’s preeminent organizations fighting for free speech today,” said Tragone.

Please join us in welcoming Adam to the Institute for Free Speech.

Independent Groups

Salon: How dark money fueled the Jan. 6 insurrection — and why we can’t find it

By Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

Spending reports from 501(c)(4) groups to the IRS can differ markedly from what they report to the Federal Elections Commission. Filing conflicting reports to two federal agencies meets the prima facie definition of a criminal false statement. There is adequate predication for the Treasury Department, the FEC and the Department of Justice to take a look. Have they?

Although dark-money groups can hide their influence apparatus from the IRS and the public, nothing says that grand juries can’t get access to that information. In the Watergate investigation, courts decided that even executive privilege had to yield to grand jury investigative subpoenas. But investigators won’t get what they don’t ask for — or don’t subpoena. 

The strongest solution is to require disclosure of who spends to influence our politics. My DISCLOSE Act would require groups that spend money in elections — including super PACs and 501(c)(4) dark-money groups — to disclose donors who gave $10,000 or more during an election cycle. Pass this law and the American people might find out who funded the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Online Speech Platforms

Associated Press: Musk threatens to walk away from Twitter deal

By Tom Krisher and Matt O’Brien

Elon Musk is threatening to walk away from his $44 billion bid to buy Twitter, accusing the company of refusing to give him information about its spam bot accounts.

Bloomberg: Texas Attorney General Opens Investigation of Twitter Bots

By Francesca Maglione

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he opened an investigation of Twitter, claiming the social media platform may be misleading people with false reporting of its bot accounts, violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The Republican attorney general announced the probe the same day Twitter would-be buyer, billionaire Elon Musk, threatened to pull out of his deal to purchase the company, saying it wasn’t meeting his demands for more information about spam and fake accounts.

In regulatory filings Twitter reported fewer than 5% of all users are bots, while they may make up as much as 20%, Paxton said in a press release.

The States

Wall Street Journal: DeSantis Harpoons the Tampa Bay Rays

By The Editorial Board

But Mr. DeSantis is also in danger of abusing his power if he uses it to punish business for political speech he doesn’t like. Not wanting to subsidize professional sports is a compelling reason to veto the spending provision. Framing the veto as an act of censure is no better than the woke left demanding that corporate executives conform to their agenda. Politicians who behave like bullies invariably get a comeuppance when they overreach.

If Rays fans are put off by political lecturing from a ball club, they know how to quit buying tickets. And if Florida gets a reputation for petty retaliation against business, companies know how to go elsewhere.

Reason (Volokh Conspiracy): 6 Months in Jail for Speaking to Newspaper About Your Court Case

By Eugene Volokh

I’m not sure the collateral bar rule is sound. It’s true that it’s important for the rule of law that people generally follow court orders, but it’s also important that people generally follow statutes—and yet we allow people to violate a statute and raise a First Amendment defense when they’re prosecuted, rather than requiring them to challenge the statute up front. Why not do the same for court orders? Indeed, some states, such as my own California, reject the collateral bar rule and do allow people to raise a First Amendment defense when challenging a contempt prosecution for violating an injunction, and the skies haven’t fallen. (California has many problems, but I don’t think they stem from the collateral bar rule.)

Moreover, many civil defendants can’t afford a lawyer, and, unlike in criminal cases, don’t have court-appointed lawyers; they may thus find it hard to appeal an injunction. It’s only when they are prosecuted for contempt, and are entitled to a court-appointed lawyer if there’s the possibility of jail time, that they can realistically raise their First Amendment claims.

But in any event, rightly or wrongly, most jurisdictions do follow the collateral bar rule. So if you think the injunction against you violates your First Amendment rights, you need to appeal promptly or else forfeit your First Amendment claim.

Breitbart: California Burger Shops Blacklist Pennsylvania Bun Company for Supporting GOP Candidate Doug Mastriano

By Penny Starr

Burger shops in the United States and around the world have embraced the buns from Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe in Pennsylvania. But some restaurants in northern California are dropping the use of the buns because of the company’s support for the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor, state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

Mastriano, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, recently won the Keystone State’s Republican gubernatorial primary.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that, until now, the buns have been “the reigning champ” with burger chefs:

Tiffany Donnelly

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