Saturday, 28 March 2009

Doogan broke a federal law by outing Mudflats


I have combined two comments by an incredibly knowlegeable lawyer so as to look at Mike Doogan's actions from a legal viewpoint. The comments appeared on Shannyn Moore's site and they are worth reading as a post. As a matter of fact, the comments on Shannyn's blog are wonderful and include Doogan's idiotic responses to e-mails from one of his constituents.

Now, the law:

"In matters concerning public interest and/or public figures, there is a first amendment privilege to comment, criticize, satirize, you name it. Further, even if what is printed is false, it is constitutionally protected unless published with actual malice and disregard of falsity. Simply put, the First Amendment protects the right to speak and strictly limits anything that inhibits that right. That’s because someone in Doogan’s position can’t decide what is “true” and what is “false.”

So even if Mudflats were not entirely accurate (and I have never seen anything which was not substantiated), she had the right to speak and to do so anonymously. The fact that Doogan disagrees that she should be able to do so without identifying herself shows only one thing: he is utterly ignorant about the constitution. His opinion that people should identify themselves is meaningless–he can think whatever the heck he wants but the Constitution trumps his personal opinion.

The man Doogan was acting on behalf of the state. He made a determination that someone should exercise her constitutional rights only in the manner he deemed appropriate, not in the manner in which she had the First Amendment right to comment. He also made someone who had taken pains to keep her identity private a public figure.

This is a violation of federal law and of the state common law right to privacy. The fact that he did it on state time and in his capacity is what is called “state action” for a section 1983 civil rights claim.

The point is that, acting in his capacity as an employee for the state of Alaska, he violated someone’s constitutional right to speak and to do anonymously. This is a big lawsuit and filing it will do a whole lot more than anything else to stop it ever happening again–and will get Mudflats the compensation she deserves."

Mike Doogan is in deep trouble...

Link to Shannyn Moore

24 comments:

Greytdog said...

Doogan is only in trouble if the citizens of Alaska allow him to terrorize them. He went after AKM because she wouldn't cower - the question now is: will the rest of us allow him to use his ELECTED position to terrorize us too?

mdlw56 said...

Another ethics complaint, for sure.

Palin has started pulling in favors, it seems to me.

Thanks for allowing me to voice my opinions on your blog, too! I appreciate all your good works!!!

the problem child said...

Thank yoou again, Regina, for separting the wheat from the chaff (not in anyway to diminish the other comments made). As usual, a superior post.

Postergirl said...

Regina, I'd left a comment on Immoral Minority, correcting Gryphen on the use of "than" vs. "then", and you mentioned there that English was not your first language. It isn't for me either :-). I'm Swedish, but for some reason, spelling is something I'm good at. And useage, though, I'm not a good writer. I can't string together interesting thoughts in writing as well as you and Gryphen! Anyhoo :-) I would say that your English and your writing is top notch! And yes, I do read your blog often. I visit all the blogs that Sarah Palin would hate. As an American with a European background, I find Sarah Palin and the type of people who absolutely are crazy about her, absolutely terrifying and perplexing. I don't understand HOW anyone could have wanted that woman in the Vice Presidency!!!
Thankfully, most Americans said no to her as well.

basheert said...

Greytdog: While you may be correct, the fact that he violated her Constitutional rights could get him into some really iffy hot water. There must be, in Alaska, at least ONE constitutional lawyer who is willing to sue this dirtbag's a** off and win based on case merits.
If he is allowed to do this - and get away with violating citizen civil rights with no consequence, then Alaska truly deserves what they voted into office.
But it is up to Jeanne as to whether she chooses this route. He appears to also be guilty of 2nd degree stalking in violation of Alaskan Statutes.
It appears as well that he is playing these childish games with bloggers using State computer equipment and State Paid Time.
He also is in violation of his ISP using his computer to violate someone's civil rights.
Will the citizens of Alaska choose to ignore all of this?

If it was a matter of a simple ethics complaint, it may be worth riding it out until his election. However this guy could very well find himself doing some serious jailtime with fines as well.

Will Alaska hold him accountable?

FEDUP!!! said...

So... is this a potential for a civil lawsuit or a criminal one?
I hope AKM WILL pursue this - as you stated, it will do a lot to nab this kind of action in its infancy!

Amy Jones said...

I hope we will get more specific information on this. I, too, am an 'anonymous' blogger, primarily because I have had a little time in the limelight, and feel the ideas we discuss are more important than our personalities.

Thank you for bringing attention to this aspect of Doogan's actions.

Helen said...

Wow, it's getting deeply unreal in Alaska - could it be that because of it's remoteness politicians three operated off the radar for so long they just can't adjust to the new reality of national and worldwide scrutiny?

I think that anyone with integrity and a law degree could make A LOT of money in Alaska these days...

Anonymous said...

I want to tell you that you may be the only one who is safe right now and BLESS YOU for doing what you do, even across the pond. I cannot believe all of this. Having raised my children in Alaska, with one still living in Wasilla, I am sickened by what has become of that beautiful State and a lot of its people! I don't know why you pursue this as you do, living so far removed from us, but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping on. As I said, you may be the only one left standing to be able to bring this to the conclusion that we all know needs to happen!

basheert said...

Does this have something to do with Doogan's "outing" of Mudflats?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoffrey-dunn/huffpo-exclusive-right-wi_b_180283.html

Nicki said...

I posted about this on my blog as well. I'm not from Alaska, but the information that AKM has provided has been so enlightening to the state of affairs there. I am wondering if Alaska has a recall process?

Tm68 said...

Awesome post! I hope Doogan fries for this.

Virginia Voter said...

Good, Doogan is in deep doo doo

Annette said...

I have never commented here before but over at Celtic Diva's I post and I do have a blog of my own. I found this link at her web site and it may be something to check out. It may hold part of the reason for his "outing" of AKM... I am sure there is more behind this.. and what I am not sure. I think it is something people in Alaska or with more resources than I have to check out.. but this is a starting place.. there has to be a reason they think of him in this way.

http://www.conservatives4palin.com/2009/01/mike-doogan-our-democrat-of-month.html

Dianne said...

Cowardly, cowardly, cowardly. AKM must have really touched a nerve with this POS. Hopefully, an attorney specializing in consitutional law will make contact with AKM and, at least, give her some advice. Or better yet, sue the pants off this jerk!!!

basheert said...

Mr. Doogan has "stepped" into it bigtime - from the U.S. Supreme Court:

The right to anonymity is VITAL to our political system. Check out the following quote from a US Supreme Court case upholding the right to such communications. This is taken from the EFF web page http://www.eff.org/issues/anonymity

” Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment. A much-cited 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission reads:

” Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society. ”

basheert said...

By the way, I have just sent an email to the White House directed to Atty Gen Eric Holder, requesting an investigation into Violation of Constitutional Right to privacy, by an elected official using State Owned Resources, and 2nd Degree Stalking Violation.

www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

They DO listen. Go for it ...

Metavirus said...

If you want to really express your outrage, you should write an email to the Democrats with the real power, the Minority Leader and Minority Whip. There email addresses are rep.beth.kerttula@legis.state.ak.us,
rep.david.guttenberg@legis.state.ak.us .

Here’s the email I sent:

Dear Minority Leader Kerttula and Minority Whip Guttenberg,

You may or may not be aware of this but a fellow member of the Democratic Caucus, Rep. Mike Doogan, has taken it upon himself to trample upon the privacy of a citizen of Alaska. Rep. Doogan recently unilaterally and maliciously revealed the identity of a anonymous female blogger who writes the site Mudflats. Rep. Doogan’s actions were reprehensible and will involuntarily expose this poor woman and her family to the harsh light of the public media spotlight.

Please find below my email to Rep. Doogan complaining about his deplorable actions. I hope that you will take this matter under advisement and consider how poorly these actions by Rep. Doogan tarnish the image of the Democratic Party in Alaska.

If you want to really spread the word, you should email the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics. Their emails are Representative_John_Coghill@legis.state.ak.us,
Representative_Berta_Gardner@legis.state.ak.us,
Senator_Gary_Stevens@legis.state.ak.us,
Senator_Thomas_Wagoner@legis.state.ak.us .

Here’s the email I sent:

Dear Reps. Coghill and Gardner and Sens. Stevens and Wagoner,

You may or may not be aware of this but a member of the Alaska House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Doogan, has taken it upon himself to trample upon the privacy of a citizen of Alaska. Rep. Doogan recently unilaterally and maliciously revealed the identity of an anonymous female blogger who writes the blog Mudflats. Rep. Doogan’s actions were reprehensible and will involuntarily expose this poor woman and her family to the harsh light of the public media spotlight.

Please find below my email to Rep. Doogan complaining about his deplorable actions. As members of the Alaska legislature’s Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, I hope that you will take this matter under advisement and consider how poorly these actions by Rep. Doogan tarnish the image of the Alaska legislature.

basheert said...

Here we go - the story is now on Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dawn-teo/famed-anonymous-anti-pali_b_180313.html

basheert said...

Oh good ... Huffingtonpost has the story - Rock On!!!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dawn-teo/famed-anonymous-anti-pali_b_180313.html

empish said...

reply to my ethics complaint from Berta Gardner:

Thank you, Elizabeth, for making your views known to legislators. Here is a link to a page with information and forms for filing an ethics complaint:

http://ethics.legis.state.ak.us/ethics_complaint.php

I'm truly heartsick about the revelation about the Mudlflats blogger but a quick review of the statutes on legistative ethics does not suggest to me that revealing the name is a violation of legislative ethics. Here are the statutes for your review:

http://www.touchngo.com/lglcntr/akstats/Statutes/Title24/Chapter60.htm

mlaiuppa said...

That is...*if* she decides to sue.

Which I hope she does.

This isn't about her anymore. It's precedent. And it's important to get it on the books that our elected representatives cannot make up the law as they go along and that their office doesn't give them carte blanche.

basheert said...

empish:
AKM has a posted requesting people email responses they have received on this matter and OF COURSE they will respect anonymity.

Head on over there ok???

Anonymous said...

So what about prosecution under this part of the ethics code:

AS 24.60.060. Confidential Information.

(a) A legislator or legislative employee may not knowingly make an unauthorized disclosure of information that is made confidential by law and that the person acquired in the course of official duties. A person who violates this section is subject to a proceeding under AS 24.60.170 and may be subject to prosecution under AS 11.56.860 or another law.

I'm no lawyer, but it sure looks to me that this applies here; I'm sure Doogan used some "official" channels to get the info he needed, and, as has been pointed out previously, the information revealed certainly is/was "confidential by law."