Monday, November 15, 2010

Tea Party Group Fights Back: King Street Patriots File Counter Lawsuit Against Texas Democratic Party; Seeks to Overturn Sections of Texas Election Code as Unconstitutional

/PRNewswire/ -- King Street Patriots, a group of concerned citizens in Houston, filed a counter lawsuit today against the Texas Democratic Party and at the same time are asking a judge to rule certain portions of the Texas Election Code governing political speech as unconstitutional.

The non-profit King Street Patriots made up of citizen volunteers dedicated to election integrity, are subjects of a lawsuit by the Texas Democratic Party that falsely claims the group broke state prohibitions against corporate campaign contributions and that it should have to register as a political organization and even reveal donor records. King Street Patriots, in an effort to protect their constitutional freedoms, is asking the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, force the Texas Democratic Party to pay attorneys fees and rule that sections of the Texas Election Code run afoul of the United States Constitution.

"By using state law to try to silence citizens' political speech, the Texas Democratic Party has brought a political slap lawsuit that has nothing to do with the rule of law and everything to do with political retribution," said KSP lead constitutional counsel James Bopp Jr., of the James Madison Center for Free Speech and architect of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Citizens United. "Our clients simply will not be intimidated by such despicable tactics. The only allegation against them is that they exercised their rights under the First Amendment, and we expect the Texas courts to vindicate those rights."

Although King Street Patriots is non-partisan, the group dedicated to keeping elections fair and free drew the ire of the Texas Democratic Party earlier this year after turning over to authorities questionable voter registrations in Harris County and training hundreds of volunteers as poll watchers there.

"It is outrageous that a group of American citizens who simply volunteered to get involved in the political process are forced into court by the Texas Democratic Party," said Kelly Shackelford, president and chief counsel of Liberty Institute, also representing KSP. "Using a political party to sue and attack citizens, and to try to reduce the Constitutional rights of all Americans, is a disgrace."

Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal organization dedicated to protecting First Amendment rights and the Constitution. James Bopp, Jr. has a national federal and state election law practice. He is an attorney with Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom and General Counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech. He is also a former Co-Chairman of the Election Law Subcommittee of the Federalist Society.

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