Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Cleta Detherage Mitchell

She ain't no Finn from the Range!

She is an Oklahoma lawyer, practicing in D.C., who was retained by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to appear before the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board -- apparently as a lobbyist because she isn't a member of the Minnesota Bar -- to whine about the rules of the board for the disclosure of the identity of contributors to groups advocating a position on ballot referendums.

She is agin' it, of course.

If you follow the second link, it will take you to a story in the Minnesota Independent about how the board has these disclosure rules under current consideration.

NOM wants to use gobs of anonymous money to further its campaign of bigotry, innuendo, and libel against gays and lesbians in the upcoming referendum on gay marriage, or as many of us call it, a referendum on marriage discrimination. And it uses operatives like Cleta Detherage Mitchell to cloak it as a First Amendment issue.

Mitchell gave us an idea of how this works just a couple of weeks ago. She was in town to speak at a lawyers' symposium about the decision in Citizens United v. FEC. She was on a panel with a couple of law professors in what purported to be an academic setting, and at one taking place at the only public law school in the state at the University of Minnesota.

But it became evident that Mitchel had an agenda, an agenda that included pointed criticism of the Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board's aforementioned rules. She offered her remarks without disclosing that she had a "dog in the fight" until pressed with a question from the audience about it. Without the question, many persons in attendance would not have had that important bit of information in evaluating her comments.

Disclosure of contributors is currently a big issue in the the referendum. Katherine Kersten wrote about it recently, and Maggie Gallgher discussed it at length in her remarks at St. Thomas Law School a few weeks.

But as MNO so memorably put it, "If you take away our white sheets, it's our civil rights that will be denied!" The KLAN's white sheets and hoods are different only in degree, not basic kind.

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