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January 20, 2005
ACLU Silences Its Internal Critics

In a move that normally would have the ACLU filing lawsuits on behalf of whistleblowers in any other organization, the whistleblowers find themselves at war with the ACLU's Board of Directors, according to the New York Times:

The American Civil Liberties Union, which since its inception has fought to protect free speech rights, is scheduled to begin a debate today over whether to discipline - or potentially move to oust - two board members for speaking to reporters.

The executive committee of the A.C.L.U. board will discuss whether Wendy Kaminer and Michael Meyers have acted inappropriately as board members. The two have criticized some actions by the executive director, Anthony D. Romero, and the executive committee for what they said was a failure to provide proper oversight.

Nadine Strossen, president of the A.C.L.U., wrote in an e-mail message responding to a reporter's questions that the subject was added to the committee's agenda at the request of its Oregon affiliate. The committee will then decide whether the entire board should address it over the weekend at its quarterly meeting.

What did the critics do to get the ACLU to reverse itself and fight on the side of suppressing free speech? They revealed that the ACLU had agreed to have its donors checked against terrorist watch lists and that the executive director told the Ford Foundation to use Patriot Act language in its grants despite official ACLU opposition to the law. Both developments enraged the general membership of the ACLU and threatened the positions of Romero and other board members who defended him. Now the same people want to either discipline the two whistleblowers or kick them out of the organization.

Most of the general membership disagrees with the board's pending consideration of disciplinary action, and it's not hard to see why. Essentially, the ACLU will validate retaliation in any organization by chasing Kaminer and Meyers out of the ACLU for speaking out. This incident shows just how far their management has led the ACLU into hypocrisy and embarrassment. If Kaminer and Meyers get kicked out for speaking their minds, it will be the final nail in the ACLU's coffin. After its embrace of the Patriot Act, revealing donor information, and cooperating with the watch lists, the Left won't stand for it and the ACLU has no friends on the right.

Remind me to mourn their passing ...

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 20, 2005 10:20 PM

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