Posted on June 5, 2023

What State Harassment and Institutional Terror in Woke America Looks Like

John Kline, American Greatness, June 3, 2023

A federal court ruling likely to drop this month should provide a good indication as to whether America still has a fully functioning First World justice system. The case, involving an investigation from New York Attorney General Letitia James into the supposed mismanagement of controversial news outlet, has received zero media coverage so far, despite it being as crude, brutish, and nakedly political as James’ other lawfare campaigns (notably against former President Trump and the NRA). In fact, it’s arguably worse, as it was clearly designed to dox VDare’s writers and volunteers and bankrupt the tiny outlet out of existence.

In a recent column about James’ investigation, VDare founder and editor Peter Brimelow recounts with frustration the increasing difficulty his outlet has had in spreading its advocacy of “immigration patriotism” over the years. This includes being blocked by social media and payment processors, potential advertisers being subjected to Anti-Defamation League-style intimidation campaigns, and even lawyers and accountants being unwilling to help the group publicly. Its very ability to exist online was threatened a few years back when a black supremacist lawyer now leading the Justice Department’s Civil Rights section tried to pressure its registrar into delisting its domain.


{snip} Brimelow says James’ current attack is the “most serious threat” he and his wife and VDare-partner, Lydia, have ever faced in the outlet’s 24-year history.

Among the claims James is investigating is that VDare’s New York-registered foundation has been dormant for some years. (Says Brimelow: “We were working through another foundation registered in a different state. This is why we made no further filings: they were not necessary.”) She also alleges the Brimelows are taking advantage of a conference center bought by their nonprofit (a historic house in West Virginia) by living in it rent-free (something that is palpably not true, they assert). James also claims VDare’s board is solely overseen by Brimelow family members (again, not true, they assert, but, in any case, not abnormal). {snip}

Finally, James asserts that the conference center was bought by the Brimelows’ foundation but then transferred to a for-profit corporation controlled by Peter’s wife. But according to tax records available on VDare’s site, it’s not Lydia, but the same foundation that actually controls it. As Peter wryly states in his column: “FOR THE RECORD: every step of the [conference center] transaction was carefully monitored by expensive lawyers—because we were well aware that we were susceptible to scrutiny by a malicious and unscrupulous politically motivated regulator.”

Considering the investigator in question, the real motivation behind the charges certainly deserves strong skepticism. Having campaigned for her attorney general position by promising to go after Trump without even specifying on what basis (just like New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg), James has tainted everything she touches. {snip}

But even if dismissed by the courts as meritless, just by opening an investigation, James knows the costs to the organization will be destructive. Peter Brimelow says, in addition to severely limiting VDare’s normal operations, the compliance costs to the small, two-employee outlet have so far topped $300,000. This mainly involves complying with James’ mammoth subpoena, which encompasses close to 50 separate demands for internal documents, nearly all of them wildly improper, Brimelow explains. {snip}

Then there is the aforementioned and highly disturbing demand that Brimelow hand over “[d]ocuments sufficient to identify” the names and addresses of all of VDare’s past and present employees, volunteers, and independent contractors, including the many pseudonymous writers VDare publishes. Considering such information is clearly unnecessary to investigate Brimelow’s own supposed misconduct, one can fairly conclude James’ subpoena is simply designed to dox and intimidate and is steeped in political discrimination. {snip}

Despite their good-faith efforts to comply with James’ bad-faith subpoena, continued, unyielding pressure from James’ office has forced the Brimelows to file a federal lawsuit claiming, among other things, that the First Amendment rights of its past and present contractors, etc., are being violated (the decision we should be getting soon).