October 22nd, 2010 5:33 pm | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics

Oregon War Veterans Wheel in Big Gun to Block Release of Public Records


A Salem non-profit filed a federal lawsuit today against Oregon Attorney General John Kroger and Secretary of State Kate Brown.

The lawsuit, filed by one of the country's highest-profile opponents of campaign finance regulation, is on behalf of the Oregon War Veterans Association. The lawsuit filed in in U.S. District Court in Eugene seeks to stop Kroger from releasing documents that the AG's office began gathering in April as part of a civil investigation into OWVA's activities.

As WW previously reported, OWVA is what is known as a 501c(19) non-profit. That's an unusual designation allowing contributors to claim tax deductions for their gifts, which can be political contributions.

Under Oregon's public records law, WW and The Oregonian requested copies of the documents OWVA turned over to the AG's office in the investigation. The group then hired the Indiana firm of Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom to block Kroger from releasing any records to the press.

"The compelled public disclosure of the War Veterans' internal documents will irreparably harm the associational and speech rights of the War Veterans, its members, and its donors in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution," lawyer James Bopp argued today's filing.

(Another Bopp client, the conservative group Citizens United, won a landmark Supreme Court case earlier this year. The ruling erased federal restrictions on corporate spending on campaigns. Bopp has long been one of the nation's leading opponents of campaign finance reporting rules).

Kroger spokesman Tony Green says his agency does not comment on pending litigation.
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