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"?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    dave blevins (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 2:28pm

    Not just "nuts":
    ignorant, self-centered, poorly read, has terrible advisers ...

     

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  2.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 2:46pm

    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....

     

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  3.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Cooling effects

    Oh, and FYI, Alan Grayson is a complete moronic tool...which doesn't change the fact that this woman is equally retarded....

     

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  4.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 3:02pm

    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.

     

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  5.  
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    IshmaelDS (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re: Cooling effects

    I have to agree with Lobo, Living outside the jurisdiction shouldn't be a bar to trying to make people aware of why you don't like a particular politician. (don't know if it's illegal down there as i'm up in canada)

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    interval, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 3:50pm

    Study the Constitution or the Bill of Rights much?

     

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  7.  
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    Hawaiian Mike, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 4:08pm

    On the ladies website a video has the congressman referring to her as a K Street lobbyist. If this is true then her site is not an independent grass roots site, but instead is the latest tool being used by lobbyists to bully America's legislative branch.

     

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  8.  
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    Just Another Day In The Neighborhood, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 4:24pm

    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.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 4:26pm

    Re:

    "the congressman referring to her as a K Street lobbyist."

    Well, if he said so, it must be true - huh

     

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  10.  
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    HolaJohnny (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 4:46pm

    Re: Re:

    No no no, I think your confusing Grayson with the Obama Koolaid a lot of voters drank...

     

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  11.  
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    tired old shoe, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ahhhh - yeahhhh
    you know that whole koolaid thing is so passe, isnt it time to adopt some new slogan to throw around?

     

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  12.  
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    HolaJohnny (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If the SHOE fits... And really I'm not a fan of our last four presidents but defend away if you want.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 5:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If the foo shits wear it
    and who asked anyway ?

     

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  14.  
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    Stefan (Patriot Come Lately), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 5:46pm

    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 www.PatriciaSullivanforCongress.com, and then support her if you can.

     

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  15.  
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    HolaJohnny (profile), Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you like I could squeeze out a foo for you to wear. But then again it might not give you the support you want... No one asked I just didn't want ACs jumping on my back since I think we should flush our two party system but don't let that stop you.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 6:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What was the topic again ...

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 7:52pm

    Re: Re:

    K-street was filled with the latest red menace during the halcyon days of the republican domination of the house and senate.

    The Congressman in question may be an idiot and he may have found real fraud. If she isn't a constituent as she claims and collects funds for a political movement against him is it fraud?

     

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  18.  
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    The Anti-Mike, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 10:09pm

    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.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2009 @ 10:42pm

    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.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 4:10am

    Re: short term pain, long term gain

    Yes, because only people within a certain district can comment on a congressman. Anyone else in the nation that publicly states things about a politician should be jailed.

    Do organizations like MoveOn continuously relocate to the districts of the politicians they attack?

     

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  21.  
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    Lance (profile), Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 6:04am

    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.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: short term pain, long term gain

    But ... but ...
    not this time ....

     

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  23.  
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    politics as usual, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 6:54am

    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.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Cooling effects

    would bizzaro dark helmet have a fu manchu or just a straight goatee underneath the helmet?

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    C-c-c-c-c-c-c-ombo breaker!

     

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  26.  
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    Onnala (profile), Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 7:59am

    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.

     

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  27.  
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    Eddie Thompson, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 1:31pm

    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

     

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  28.  
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    Eddie Thompson, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Cooling effects

    You are wrong sir. Mycongressmanisnuts.com is a federal PAC and two of the three people on the board live in Graysons district. Nothing misleading and no fraud. Just because one of the board members lives outside the district doesn't make it fraud.

     

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  29.  
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    Khtiny, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 1:46pm

    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?

     

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  30.  
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    Khtiny, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 1:52pm

    Re: PAC funds and Filings

    Two of the three people on the PAC committee live in the district. Just because one of the board members lives outside the district doesn't make it fraud. These people have done nothing wrong and Mr. Grayson looks like a cry baby for trying to jail people that disagree with him.

     

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  31.  
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    The Anti-Mike, Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 4:01pm

    Re: Re: short term pain, long term gain

    Comment? They can comment all the like - but they cannot run an opposition campaign or solicit funds for such.

     

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  32.  
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    Donald Mersel, Dec 25th, 2009 @ 6:07pm

    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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  33.  
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    SeaWife, Jan 7th, 2010 @ 10:40am

    Alan Grayson

    I support Alan Grayson. He's fun. We need someone to speak up to the party of NO. Am sure the wealthy Mr. Grayson is getting a big kick out of this...just giving the same ol' BS back to who started all this nonsense.....The Rethugs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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