How Not To Respond To An Online Political Critic: Ask The Attorney General To Jail Her For Five Years

from the that-congressman-is-nuts dept

When will they learn? Slashdot points us to the story of Congressional Rep. Alan Grayson from Florida. Like most any elected official, there are people who oppose him and are trying to convince people to support his opponents. That’s part of the ballgame that you play as a politician. In Grayson’s case, one of his critics is a woman named Angie Langley, who set up a website called MyCongressmanIsNuts.com, which is a parody of Grayson’s own CongressmanWithGuts.com (not linking to either, as I don’t wish to link to any political sites). Again, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Now, it turns out that Langley is not actually a constituent in Grayson’s district, but lives nearby. That is a bit misleading, but hardly a major issue.

Until, that is, Grayson turned it into one by sending a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder (pdf) asking for an investigation of Langley and the eventual jailing of her for five years over falsely representing herself as a constituent:


These matters were brought to Ms. Langley’s personal attention
through complaint to the FEC weeks ago, but she and the Committee
continue to solicit contributions fraudulently, and have stubbornly refused to
return the contributions that they already have, received. Therefore, Ms.
Langley and the Committee should be fined, and Ms. Langley imprisoned
for five years.

Again, there is an issue with falsely soliciting political contributions, but the thing is, she wasn’t getting much attention for her campaign, and the issue of where she lives is really quite minor. There are always people who oppose elected officials. But sending this letter and requesting five years in jail for Langley suddenly made this a national story — and guess who that’s helping? It’s certainly not Grayson. But I understand that Langley has suddenly found a lot more willing donors to her campaign. Wouldn’t Grayson have been better off just focusing on his “guts” and not why someone outside his district thinks he’s “nuts”?

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Comments on “How Not To Respond To An Online Political Critic: Ask The Attorney General To Jail Her For Five Years”

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33 Comments

Cooling effects

That guy’s nuts…grab ’em!

Okay, in all seriousness, isn’t this a case of trying to create a cooling effect on meddlesome out of jurisdiction idiots trying to game the political system for their odd party line stances? I seem to remember certain radio talk show hosts encouraging listeners to “storm the borders” of a neighboring state or two and try to affect elections there. Oh, and by the way:

“there is an issue with falsely soliciting political contributions”

Sorry, but fuck that. With all the bitching we do about lobbyists granting backdoor and under the table campaign contributions, I’ll be damned if I’m going to stand by and not highlight how HUGE that element of this story is. This woman was meddling outside of her voting area/district/whatever, and LYING to people to raise POLITICAL funds. I’m shocked they didn’t try to slap some kind of wire fraud or mail fraud (if she accepted donations by or advertised her site via snail mail) to slam her ass in a federal pen for x years per offense, The Firm style….

:Lobo Santosays:

Re: Cooling effects

(I hate to disagree with you.. usually you’re like my inner voice saying what I’d like to, but here goes.)
Her about us page (in very brief):

Through paid advertising and grassroots activities, we will hold Alan Grayson accountable for his votes and actions.

The header graphic says:

…independent organization committed to defeating Alan Grayson in 2010.

While this is certainly a case of “carpet bagging” (not the porn kind) I’m fairly certain it isn’t illegal. Maybe she works in his area; perhaps she’s planning on running for his position or backing somebody who is running for his position. This just seems like ‘business as usual’ in the political world… with one guy getting all butt-hurt for no good reason.

Just Another Day In The Neighborhoodsays:

Re: Cooling effects

I think Bizarro Dark Helmet wrote that post.

“I seem to remember certain radio talk show hosts encouraging listeners to “storm the borders” of a neighboring state or two and try to affect elections there”

– and are they behind bars? Didnt think so

“meddling outside of her voting area/district/whatever, and LYING to people to raise POLITICAL funds”

– Sorry, but that seems to be norm.

– And what about the talking heads that encourage actual violence … are they behind bars? Nope.

Dis-Grayson

As a constituent of Dis-Grayson I agree completely with the anti-Grayson website, in fact I have one of their large stickers on mycar. The guy is a total moron, who was institutionalized in the 80’s but released. What a mistake. For those who do not know, he is claiming that Ms. Langley is committing fraus because the name of the site is MYcongressmanisnuts, but she is not a constituent. What a load of crock. I imagine that title of the site will be passed to a constituent, so that issue is over. Now just to get rid of Dis-Grayson. We have 8 horse (at least) in the GOP primary already, none in the Dem primary (yet). The best grassroots/citizen legislator/etc., candidate is Patricia Sullivan. Check her out at http://www.PatriciaSullivanforCongress.com, and then support her if you can.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Dis-Grayson

Its is disappointing that as yet the opposition parties have failed to promote any candidate having credentials sufficient to mount a strong challenge to Mr. Grayson. Fortunately the OC Mayor has bowed out of any such challenge, sparing me having to hold my nose and mark my ballot selecting Mr. Grayson. How sad it is that more often than not votes are cast in favor of the lesser of two evils.

As you may guess, I reside smack dab in the middle of Mr. Grayson’s district…Windermere. While I am not inclined to label him “Dis-Grayson”, I am inclined to label him a self-promoting blowhard who honed his skills (and income) as a lawyer by shaking down government contractors with qui tam lawsuits of dubious validity.

Khtinysays:

Re: Dis-Grayson

Where does Ms. Sullivan stand on any of the issues? Her website doesn’t say anything about issues. Every time I hear her speak she talks about the Constitution which I great but what are her solutions to health care, taxes, energy? Todd Long has conservative solutions to our nations problems. Go to toddlongforcongress.com he has a page that talks about the issues and proposes solutions. He wrote a book that outlines specific conservative solutions. Todd wrote a whole book about the issues and Ms. Sullivan can even put a page on her website about issues or solutions. She is an intellectual lightweight. We all love the Constitution but where does she stand on ANYTHING? How can you support someone when you don’t know where they stand on the issues?

The Anti-Mikesays:

short term pain, long term gain

While Grayson may or may not be nuts, the request for legal action isn’t far off the mark. Any short term negative (of exposing the other site to a wider audience) is likely recouped by his willingness to take on the issue now, rather than letting it fester all the way into a campaign period.

I also think that it is very important that voters are not mislead by people from outside the district trying to slant the process. Angie Langley is apparently someone who isn’t even in the district, and as such, her actions in this case are a negative to the process. She may be right in what she says, but she is the wrong person to lead the charge.

In the end, I suspect that Grayson will get the result he is looking for, with the site going away and the issue disappearing long before any votes are cast.

Mike, I have to say, this is another one of those cases where you appear to be standing on the wrong side again.

Lancesays:

This has been an interesting read...

I logged on expecting to see a flood of comments upholding Ms. Langley’s right to free speech and laments about the attack on her right to engage in political discourse.

My thoughts are that her actions are not valid, based on the following:

  1. Ms. Langley’s site seems to be soliciting funds which she will receive.
  2. The site is aimed at a specific congressman.
  3. Given that the site is aimed at a specific congressman, it would seem to imply that the owner of the site is represented by the targeted congressman. I believe it is questionable whether this passes the “moron in a hurry” test.

There are several courses of action that Ms. Langley could have taken, and may still be able to take. The easiest would be to provide links from her site to the sites of valid candidates, who would be able to receive campaign monies. Another option would be to turn over the site to a political action committee (or whatever organizations are similar these days) that could support alternative candidates.

I believe Ms. Langley should return the contributions she has received to this point and then use her site as a means to point people to legitimate fundraising sites.

politics as usualsays:

Re: This has been an interesting read...

Yet, this sort of thing occurs everywhere – all the time. What makes this case special?

Election results are influenced by outside money at a rate that probably approaches 100%. Plenty of websites, volunteers, etc solicit monetary contributions for use in political endeavours which cross many imaginary lines. And this has been going on for some time … welcome to the real world.

Onnalasays:

PAC funds and Filings

Long time reader, first time commenter.

Normally I’m rather impressed with your site and the way that you bring to light some very interesting stories but I think you missed the mark with this one.

For all your kneejerk reaction to the headline in this one, Mr Grayson actually has a valid point and not over what she might say on a blog. She took the extra step and registered as a PAC with all the political financial obligations and TAX EXEMPT status that goes with it.

The problem is that she is taking in money, registered as a PAC, but is acting as a campaign site against one specific congressman. PACs do not have a disclosed donations list, but PACs are also not allowed to be specific in raising what amounts to campaign funds.

This issue isn’t about free speach, its about campaign fraud. Thats why there is a five year jail term tacked onto it. He isn’t asking the AG to toss her in cause ‘he’ doesn’t like her, he is asking the AG to apply the maximum fine for political fraud.

She filed the documents with the federal elections committee forming her tax exempt PAC with broadly false statements while true statements would have severely limited or not allowed her to form a PAC at all.

Eddie Thompsonsays:

Todd Long

This is why I am supporting Todd Long in his run against Grayson. We need a fighter to take on Grayson. Todd Long has been fighting for conservative values for the last 5 years. He wrote a book called The Conservative Comeback and hosted a radio show on 540 WFLA. He ran against Ric Keller in the GOP primary in 2008 and lost by only 1400 votes. The rest of the people in this race are good patriots but Todd Long is the only one who has been fighting for the last 5 years. He didn’t “wake up” because of the bailouts, he was awake and fighting when the bailouts happened. I just donated to Todds campaign at toddlongforcongress.com

ANGIE LANGLEY HAS A HISTORY OF BREAKING ELECTION LAWS.

Angie Langley has not just deceived the public with her website.
She is a form President of the Lake County Republican Club. When she
is interviewed she fails to mention that. She even makes it appear she
has no connection to a political organization except being a registered
Republican.
Her site is inflammatory and not educational. She told Fox News that she
knows he is nuts because she “has eyes and ears.” She also told them
that she knows his policies because she sees him on television.
She doesn’t mention that she and/or the Lake County Republican Club
has been cited twice for campaign irregularities and the second time
paid a $1000.00 fine. The LCRC didn’t even contest their not disclosing
the source of their funds and register properly with the Florida Election
Commission.
Angie Langley contributed $1000.00 to Ginne Brown-Waite’s campaign and
another $300. Ginne is the woman who voted against child health care, against the health care reform bill, and said people would die if the bill passed since medicare would lose money.
Angie Langley also contributed to Mark Foley’s campaign. He is the man who is against gays and pornography but had to leave Congress because of
emails he sent to his interns.
The Attorney General is investigating more than this woman’s residence.
If you put up a website to educate people and it is done legitimately it is fine. But if you are just attempting to smear a Congressman it is definitely very serious and she should get the full wrath of the law.
Congressman Grayson is the best man to come along in 50 years. He stood up against defense contractors who were robbing taxpayers of money that was directed to Iraq while our men and women were bleeding and dying.
We NEED him more than he needs us. If he went back to practicing law he would make tons more money than he makes as a congressman.

You may want to donate money to Congressman Grayson. Here is the
link……https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/2012?refcode=thermometer

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