Wednesday, Eagle Forum of Alabama revealed the Department of Justice backing an August 9 subpoena "demanding all information related to the non-profit’s legislative activities promoting the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion And Protection Act (VCAP) since 2017."
The VCAP bill, passed by the Alabama Legislature earlier this year, was sponsored by State Sen. Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville) and State Rep. Wes Allen (R-Troy). The law protects minors from gender-altering medical procedures and drugs.
Immediately after the legislation was signed by Gov. Kay Ivey, then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki threatened Alabama officials by saying they were being "put on notice" by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services and vowing President Joe Biden would hold them accountable.
In May, U.S. Judge for the Northern District of Alabama Liles Burke issued a preliminary injunction to stop Alabama from enforcing the ban while a court challenge goes forward.
Now, Eagle Forum of Alabama is squarely in the middle of the legal battle instigated by the Biden Justice Department.
Kristen A. Ullman, president of Eagle Forum, called the DOJ's actions "unprecedented" and "harassment."
“At stake here is the ability of all private citizen advocates and non-profit advocacy organizations to engage in the legislative process regardless of their viewpoint,” Ullman said in a statement. “If the DOJ can weaponize a subpoena, any American can be unduly burdened and prevented from engaging in our democratic republic form of government. Freedom of speech and freedom of association will be squelched.
“This unprecedented, massive demand by the DOJ for information unrelated to the issues before the court is a blatant attempt to intimidate and silence a non-party organization and crush its Constitutionally-protected rights to educate others, petition the government, and speak freely. This harassment must be stopped. It’s a shot across the bow of people and groups engaged in the legislative process throughout the nation. If the Department of Justice doesn’t like your viewpoint it may target you next.”
Eagle Forum of Alabama executive director Becky Gerritson defended her group's advocacy promoting the VCAP legislation.
“After hearing from citizens in Alabama, including parents, doctors, lawyers, and guidance counselors, about their concerns for otherwise healthy children who want to transition to the opposite sex, we decided to undertake the protection of these vulnerable children and have done so publicly and ardently,” Gerritson said in a release. “Eagle Forum of Alabama operates primarily by volunteer Alabama citizens. The right to engage in these activities, free of compulsion and harassment, must be preserved.”
The release announcing the subpoena declared Eagle Forum of Alabama to not be a party to this legal action.
"The DOJ subpoena is broad, intrusive, and meant to harass," the release said. "It seeks 5 ½ years of information, including: all private communications with legislators or anyone else regarding VCAP; every note, meeting-minutes, letter, policy goals and strategy effort, speech, presentation materials, research, polling; drafts of the bill or its amendments (which can be found on the legislative website); and documents pertaining to publicly-posted social media and webpages, etc."
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