AUGUST 11, 2008
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it is launching an investigation into a nationwide effort by a liberal activist group to intimidate supporters of Republican and conservative causes. According the August 8 edition of The New York Times, Accountable America, a liberal group, plans to send a letter “to confront donors to conservative groups, hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions…The warning letter is intended as a first step, alerting donors who might be considering giving to right-wing groups to a variety of potential dangers, including legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through their lives.
The group is also hoping to be able to respond if an outside conservative group broadcasts a television advertisement attacking Senator Barack Obama, or another Democratic candidate, by running commercials exposing the donors behind the advertisements.”
Attempts to intimidate individuals from participating in the presidential campaign can be a violation of federal law. A key federal civil rights law (42 U.S.C. § 1985(3)), popularly known as the Ku Klux Klan Act, may be applicable if “two or more persons conspire to prevent by force, intimidation, or threat, any citizen who is lawfully entitled to vote, from giving his support or advocacy in a legal manner, toward or in favor of the election of any lawfully qualified person as an elector for President or Vice President, or as a Member of Congress of the United States; or to injure any citizen in person or property on account of such support or advocacy.”
“Threats and intimidation have no place in our democratic elections and are a violation of the law. This new front group, Accountable America, seems to have crossed a legal line,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.