PCJF Sends Cease and Desist Letter to D.C. Government
The ANSWER Coalition has been hit with $7,500 worth of fines for 50 anti-war posters that were put up in the past two weeks. This is on top of nearly $70,000 in fines that have already been imposed on the Coalition.
This is an effort to suppress grassroots organizing. It's an unprecedented targeting of a political organization for engaging in free speech activities. The ANSWER Coalition conforms to the regulations and rules for postering, and after each event we send out teams of volunteers to canvass the city and take down posters, regardless of whether we posted them.
These recent fines also come directly after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ruled in our favor that we have the right to proceed in our efforts to challenge D.C.’s regulations as unconstitutional. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Carl Messineo from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund sent a cease and desist letter yesterday to the Department of Public Works.
The letter states: “In part to demonstrate that your agency’s massive targeting of ANSWER is nothing less than an attack on the substance of its political speech, ANSWER has complied with every provision of the District’s unconstitutional regulations, even under protest and even while challenging the illegality of the regulations in Court. Yet DPW continues to issue draconian fines without a shred of basis. This conduct is a shameful abuse of authority.” Click here to read the full letter.
Other speakers at the press conference include Mahdi Bray, Executive Director, Muslim American Society Freedom; Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition; Cindy Sheehan; James Circello, Iraq War veteran and member of March Forward; Mike Ferner, President of Veterans for Peace; Geoff Millard, Chair, National Directors of the Iraq Veterans Against the War; Cynthia McKinney; Eugene Puryear, Youth and Student ANSWER; Mounzer Sleiman, Vice Chair of National Council of Arab Americans; Debra Sweet, National Coordinator of World Can't Wait; Representative, Military Families Speak Out.