Transparency News 8/10/17

Thursday, August 10, 2017

State and Local Stories

More than 500 people gathered Wednesday in the Virginia Historical Society auditorium for the contentious first public hearing of Mayor Levar Stoney’s Monument Avenue Commission. The event, held with the intent to gather input on how best to add context to the Confederate statues lining Monument Avenue, bordered on chaotic as more than 40 speakers weighed in and tempers flared. The standing-room-only crowd weathered a tense, two-hour hearing that saw members of the commission attempt in vain to keep the conversation civil as speakers offered opposing viewpoints. Audience members, at points, heckled or shouted down some speakers with whom they disagreed.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

The Virginia ACLU and Albemarle County-based Rutherford Institute are representing Unite the Right rally sponsor Jason Kessler, saying a decision by Charlottesville officials to move the demonstration to McIntire Park may violate his First Amendment rights. Meanwhile, officials reiterated their belief that the Aug. 7 decision to move the rally from Emancipation Park is constitutional and is not based on the content of the pro-white nationalist gathering. The Rutherford Institute and ACLU Foundation of Virginia on Wednesday traded letters with City Attorney S. Craig Brown regarding Kessler’s proposed rally and the reasons why the city approved the rally permit only for the larger McIntire Park.
Daily Progress

Political theater roiled the Louisa County Board of Supervisors as Eric Purcell, chairman of the planning commission, was abruptly removed from his post by the man who appointed him. Troy Wade, who represents the Louisa district on the board and serves as its chairman, made a motion to remove Purcell at the supervisors meeting Monday, Aug. 7, but didn’t give a reason. He then voted, along with four fellow board members, to oust Purcell. Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes (Patrick Henry district) called Wade’s decision to dismiss Purcell mid-term “unprecedented.”
The Central Virginian

National Stories

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the agency that runs the Metro system in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, claiming that its rejection of several advertisements — including one from the A.C.L.U. itself — violated the First Amendment. The ads rejected by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which runs mass transit services in and around the nation’s capital, included one for an abortion pill, another promoting a new book by the right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, and yet another urging consumers to reject animal cruelty. A fourth, submitted by the A.C.L.U. itself, consisted of little more than transcripts of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution in English, Spanish and Arabic.
New York Times

Using the former national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn case as an example, below is a brief overview of two kinds of leak investigations. These investigations are usually undertaken by the Justice Department, but the Department’s Inspector General may lead the charge where the leak potentially comes from within the Department itself. The first months of Trump’s administration have raised several questions: Is anyone investigating leaks, like the Flynn leak? If so, who? What can the inner workings of a leak investigation reveal about disseminating important information to the public in the era of presidential threats of leak crackdowns? And what does it mean for inspectors general—who are independent voices within agencies—to take on a larger role in leak investigations?
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press