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Ross Miller’s “Humpty Dumpty” Jihad Against Free Speech

As I noted the other day, Democrat Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller has filed a lawsuit against our organization, Citizen Outreach, over a pair of mailers we sent out criticizing Democrat Assembly Speaker John Oceguera in October 2010. The mailers noted “Johnny O’s” record of voting for tax hikes over and over again, as well as being a double-dipping government employee.

For the record, the mailers were completely accurate.

And in no way called for the defeat of Assemblyman Oceguera in the 2010 election. And young Mr. Miller knows it.

Which is what makes his lawsuit even more outrageous!

Get this…

According to the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS 294A.004), an expenditure by a political action committee “to advocate expressly” for the election or defeat of a candidate would require the organization to file a campaign expense report with the Secretary of State…just as Miller is demanding.

However…

Our mailers did NOT “advocate expressly” of the defeat of Speaker Oceguera according to the standard definition of the United States Supreme Court in its 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision.

In that decision, the Court ruled that to constitute “express words of advocacy” for the election or defeat of a candidate the communications would have to include what has come to be called “magic words.” Magic words noted by the Court include “vote for,” “elect,” “support,” “cast your ballot for,” “Smith for Congress” “vote against” “defeat” or “reject.”

Again, our mailers included no such words of express advocacy.

And Ross Miller knows it. Here’s how I know he knows.

On December 15, 2010, Miller introduced through the Legislative Operations and Elections Committee of the Nevada Legislature a boatload of proposed changes to Nevada’s election laws via Assembly Bill 81.

Now get a load of this particular new change Miller included in the bill:

Sec. 36. “Advocates expressly” or “expressly advocates” means that a communication, taken as a whole, is susceptible to no other reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a clearly identified candidate or group or candidates or a question or group of questions on the ballot at a primary election, primary city election, general election, general city election or special election. A communication does not have to include the words “vote for,” “vote against,” “elect,” “support” or other similar language to be considered a communication that expressly advocates the passage or defeat of a candidate or a question.

Without a shadow of doubt, Ross Miller knew that our mailers (and those of other organizations) did NOT violate the Supreme Court’s definition of “express advocacy” or, therefore, Nevada law as written.

So he pulled a Humpty Dumpty…deciding to make “express advocacy” mean
what he wanted it to mean…and to hell with the United States Supreme Court!

For the record, the Democrat-controlled Senate and the Democrat-controlled Assembly passed Miller’s bill over the objections of all 10 Senate Republicans and 10 of 16 Assembly Republicans (the bad Assembly Republicans were Pete Goicoechea, Scott Hammond, Cresent Hardy, Pat Hickey, Randy Kirner and Lynn Stewart).

The bill was (unfortunately) signed into law and took effect three months ago on October 1, 2011.

Now here’s the thing…

Miller’s lawsuit against Citizen Outreach claims our mailers “constitute express advocacy because there is no reasonable interpretation of these communications other than as an appeal to vote for or against a clearly identified candidate on the ballot.”

The problem, of course, is that at the time those mailers went out, the language Miller is suing us under DIDN’T EXIST in the law. It was actually added to the statutes A YEAR AFTER the mailers went out!

So what Miller’s trying to do is prosecute us retroactively for something
that wasn’t even in the law at the time of the supposed violation!

And that’s before we even get to the question as to whether or not Miller and the Nevada Legislature can overturn the free speech definition of “express advocacy” established by the United States Supreme Court – the highest judicial authority in the land!

While the Supreme Court ruled long ago that communications had to include certain “magic words” to constitute “express advocacy,” Miller and the Democrat-controlled Legislature (aided and abetted, shamefully, by six Assembly Republicans) have essentially told the Supreme Court to take their definition and shove it.

Folks, this is a case we can win. It’s a case we HAVE to win.

But we can only win it if we fight Ross Miller in court – where his legal bills for his attorney, Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto – are paid for by taxpayers. We, on the other hand, have to raise our own money for our own defense.

And I’m sure Miller knows this, as well. We’re a small non-profit organization. We’re not the Heritage Foundation or the American Conservative Union or the National Rifle Association. So we don’t have very deep pockets. So by selectively targeting us, Miller hopes to “spend us into silence” with legal bills, and send a chilling message to everyone else.

So I need your help.

If you haven’t done so already, PLEASE go online right now and kick in whatever you can afford towards our fight against Ross Miller – $50, $100, $250, $500…or more.

Just click here

Or send your donation to:

Citizen Outreach
3753 Howard Hughes Parkway
Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89169

Because if Ross Miller gets away with this now against Citizen Outreach, you know he’s going to come back in 2012 against every other conservative organization that dares try to educate voters and expose the records of government officials…including tea party and other mom-and-pop, kitchen table groups.

(SIDE NOTE: The only other group that I’m aware of that Miller is going after using this new law is a small group of citizens trying to recall a Democrat city councilman who is a former big-time union boss. Protecting his own. Go figure, huh?)

Ross Miller – like Monica Lewinsky, a former intern for President Bill Clinton – is as partisan and anti-conservative as any government official Nevada has seen. Won’t you join us in standing up to this “Humpty Dumpty” secretary of state…before it’s too late?

Thank you for your consideration and unwavering support for liberty and freedom!