Many on the Left are crying that Hillary Clinton’s email evasion was no big deal and “nothing to see here.” Now that the FBI has pretty much rewritten the espionage law to let her off the hook, the Left says it’s time for all of us to move on and that Hillary’s missing and deleted emails are “old news.”
But, what signals do Hillary’s unprosecuted crimes against transparency and the rule of law send to local government officials who take their own behavioral cues from national figures. Considering all Hillary got away with, you should start watching the local elected officials in your neck of the woods to see if they exhibit a renewed hostility towards transparency and the Freedom of Information Act. What Hillary got away with they will expect to get away with too!
A new book is out that chronicles the surprisingly thrilling story of what happened when two citizen sleuths in the Chicago suburbs ran up against local government officials who were determined to hide their secrets at all costs, Freedom of Information Act and open government laws be damned.
SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment by Megan Fox and Kevin DuJan blows the whistle on the recent scandal in Orland Park, Illinois where local government and the police force circled the wagons to cover-up sex crimes that had been occurring at the Orland Park Public Library for many years. After being discovered they investigated themselves and decided they did nothing wrong!
Fox & DuJan used the Freedom of Information Act to audit the library’s internal incident reports and what they uncovered was stomach-turning: time after time, whenever a sex crime was committed in this public library, the staff chose not to call the police like they were supposed to do. That was true even when a man admitted to viewing child pornography on one of the library’s computers. Over and over again, staff refused to call the police and allowed the sexual predators to escape. And staff noted all this in their own incident reports!
Instead of coming clean and admitting their mistakes, the library employees listened to bad advice from the American Library Association (ALA) and aggressively fought Fox & DuJan on document production. The library wasted more than $500,000 in attorney fees trying to hide information from the public about the sex crimes that were allowed to keep happening in the building and wasteful spending by the library director and trustees.
Fox & DuJan busted the library for using taxpayer money to buy gold jewelry for board members and even treat them to a $500 steak dinner, all in violation of state laws prohibiting these trustees from receiving compensation for serving on the board. At every turn, public officials insisted that transparency laws did not apply to them. Instead of handing over information, they abused public resources to lash out at Fox & DuJan to scare them off their investigation into improprieties in the Orland Park Public Library.
According to their book, library staff and trustees asked the local police to harass Fox & DuJan to intimidate them and take away their First Amendment rights. Public officials were dumb enough to plot and scheme over email, which they then tried to hide from the public. One board member even encouraged a library employee to file a meritless SLAPP (strategic litigation against public participation) lawsuit against Fox & DuJan in another classic effort to chill free speech.
But, why should you care about a book about some library nobody ever heard of near Chicago? SHUT UP! is not your typical boring political book and it’s much more than just the tale of what happened when local government decided to silence two citizen sleuths in an affluent suburb. Surprisingly, the book is written like a mystery story and thriller and is laugh out loud funny. Fox & DuJan detail every punch local government took against them and make the ALA and other villains look like the complete idiots they are.
SHUT UP! is incredibly topical because the hostile attitude that Hillary Clinton has shown towards transparency is the exact same attitude infecting government officials at all levels. These people hate the public and will go to great lengths to silence the public to keep their secrets.
Anyone who intends to go up against local government in their neck of the woods in a Freedom of Information fight to obtain documents that the government doesn’t want anyone to ever see would benefit from reading SHUT UP! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment, available now on Amazon.com.