Indeed, we do. Not that we have had need of it in the past…
Sidenote: well, maybe one time – when Carol Shea-Porter “stole” one of my images and used it in her campagn ads. Didn’t have the money to sue at the time.
…and hopefully have no need to really have on in the future. But we “have a team”. Even though the last few months we announced new capabilities and have rolled them out (we have a few more coming soon!), this “capability” was rather unplanned; it just happened organically. And only realized we “had”one the other night. So, I asked:
From: Skip <Skip@GraniteGrok.com>
Sent: Friday, May 3, 2019 6:35 PM
Subject: …League of Women Voters?
As Steve put it: And..the League of Women Vote Stealers (of NH) will see ‘GraniteGrok’ and **** kittens.
They have stated that only the Monadnock T-L paper can take pictures; there will be no recording / video of their candidates night. The impression is that only the T-L can report on it. I emailed the organizer and she (Kate Coon of Peterborough) has booted my question of “well why CAN’T we come and record???” to the NH leadership.
I would like to add to their angst – what might be legally available, even if just a “Letter”, to make that “kitten” clause of Steve’s to happen?
Shoulda brought you guys in earlier even if just for the fun of it.
And happily, they rose to the task. I’m going to race past the intermediate posts and get to the chase as to what was sent (after all, Steve keeps telling me “600 words, 600 words” and in this series, I’m way, WAY over that!). While the LWV Peterborough organizer, Kate Coon, was CC’d on this email, the Director of the establishment, The Monadnock Center for History & Culture, which is hosting the event, was the recipient (emphasis of the most important bit mine):
Director, The Monadnock Center for History & Culture
19 Grove Street
Peterborough, NH 03458
I write on behalf of GraniteGrok.com.
It has come to our attention that your organization, apparently qualified under Section 501-c-3 of the Internal Revenue Code, is hosting an event on Monday, May 6, apparently sponsored by the League of Women Voters (the “Sponsor”). Your own web site lists the first of your “Core Values” is that “The Monadnock Center welcomes everyone.”
But we have been advised that the Sponsor has expressly prohibited the attendance and coverage of the event by GraniteGrok.com, a well-known New Hampshire-based journalistic enterprise, that wishes to attend, record the event and publish the recording along with whatever editorial comments might be deemed appropriate. The Sponsor has apparently determined, in its judgment, to allow only one designated journalistic enterprise to attend and report on the event, which is a blatant display of partisan bias.
The web site of the Internal Revenue Service indicates that 501-c-3 status may be in jeopardy if the organization promotes or allows itself to promote political events other than non-partisan activities, and that “voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.”
This is to advise you formally that, on behalf of GraniteGrok.com, demand is hereby made that you either (a) require the Sponsor to allow the attendance, recording and reporting of the event by GraniteGrok.com; or (b) immediately decline to allow the Sponsor to use your facilities for this event.
Further, if this event proceeds in your facility, or elsewhere, and if the so-called Sponsor uses funds from its related 501-c-3 foundation to support this event, without allowing participation by GraniteGrok.com, its actions in prohibiting, or attempting to prohibit, the free exercise of press freedom, by limiting the press coverage of the event to only one journalistic enterprise of its choosing, and prohibiting coverage by other members of the press, may also constitute prohibited partisan activities, for which a complaint may be filed with the Internal Revenue Service against the related 501-c-3 organization that is involved.
Please govern yourselves accordingly!
Copy via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Norman J. Silber
Member of The Florida Bar & the New Hampshire Bar
243 Mountain Drive
Gilford, New Hampshire 03249-6764
And sometimes, it comes to this.
Now, the question is of the form “chicken or the egg”? Was this letter the tipping point for us being allowed to record by the LWV Peterborough? Or was contacting the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript by us and others? Or was it the President of the LWVNH’s call on her own after emailing?
Dunno. To be perfectly honest – other than from a pure curiosity standpoint – it doesn’t matter. Whatever / whichever worked is fine by me. Did we win and they lose? Wrong question, to a degree. I’d rather put it this way – who actually won were the folks on the ground that needed a bit of backup to have a more “inclusive” and certainly a more transparent event for the folks in Peterborough. That’s what counts and that’s what is important.
I’m just glad that someone looked to us for some assistance in what they saw was something wrong and that we were then able to help out for a good conclusion/outcome with a bit of writing and a Big Flashlight that brought it up to the next level. Just like my intent for GraniteGrok – bringing us up to that next level! But it doesn’t stop here.
We have another situation in the more southeaster part of the State in which someone is asking for some help as well.
Thus while this story is over (except for showing up and covering the event), this next situation will be covered in a bit.
And thanks to the Groksters that helped out!