Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Liberties Enjoyed by the ACLU

The "L" in ACLU, stands for liberty, however, this liberty can only be enjoyed by the higher ups of the ACLU: not regular employees or any other organization. It is Ok for the ACLU to shred documents while demanding the retention of documents by the government.

It doesn't end there, apparently, it is acceptable for the ACLU to intimidate it's staff too. But, only the staff, remember, those in executive positions must always be cushioned against all scrutiny & criticism. At no time are they to be held accountable for anything they do. They are free to violate any policy or rule they want at any time (unlike you). The ACLU is an organization dedicated to fighting for the liberties of others, not that of their employees.

when Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the organization, casually mentioned to a group of employees in 2002, about a year after his arrival, that he had a shredder in his office, they were shocked, said two former employees who did not want their names used because they feared it would interfere with future employment. Mr. Romero was told it was a violation of policy, the former employees said, but no one pushed the issue.

This is not the first time that the manifesto & the practices of the ACLU have collided.

The debate over the use of shredders is reminiscent of one late last year over the organization's efforts to collect a wide variety of data on its donors, even as it criticizes corporations and government agencies for accumulating personal data as a violation of privacy rights.

However, the lawyers at the ACLU have excellent justifications for their actions.

"As an advocacy organization dedicated to protecting privacy," Ms. Whitfield said on Friday, "we take very seriously the confidentiality of our donor records and have policies in place to ensure proper document management procedures."

Oh that's why. If this statement wasn't exculpatory enough, there are also lots & lots of legal loop holes that the ACLU can jump through to remain unblemished. This is an organization of lawyers after all.

A spokeswoman for the organization, Emily Whitfield, declined to answer specific questions but made the following statement: "The A.C.L.U.'s records management policies have always been of the highest standards in keeping with, if not more stringent than, those of other nonprofit."
The organization refused to address which documents were being shredded, among other questions.
Shredding has become more closely controlled after scandals arising from questionable record-keeping have rocked the corporate world.
Congress has amended the criminal code to permit fines and jail sentences for those who alter, destroy, mutilate or conceal documents with the intent of preventing their use in official proceedings. Many lawyers for companies and nonprofit entities have advised their clients to enact strict policies on records management.
The A.C.L.U. allows for document shredding but has policies for recording what is destroyed that predate recent changes in the law

It's really interesting how people in this organization, which pushes for openness & transparency, do not believe in openness & transparency about the internal state of their organization. Janice Lind, the archive overseer who got upset about & complained of the shredding of documents, was non the less
was disturbed that her correspondence had become public and declined to comment further

And these are the people who complain about "the old boys network" & the "code of silence".

While being an ACLU staffer isn't all that great, it isn't without it's privileges. For one thing, you can make human mistakes without being accused of accessory to commit a crime & participate in a conspiracy.

To track what was being destroyed on those machines, the records managers attempted to impose a system similar to the one used for the locked bins, putting document destruction sheets next to all the shredders except Mr. Romero's about a year ago. Employees in the departments with the shredders signed the sheets, according to a memorandums, but rarely noted what they were shredding

Isn't it nice to know that lefty tax exempt organizations enjoy "liberties" you & I don't.

HAT TIP: Stop the ACLU

I read this post last night, but thought I needed to calm down before I commented. The sad thing is that shredding documents and threatening employees is by no means that worst thing that the ACLU does. This bunch would sell out the United States in a heartbeat if given the chance, all the while claiming to be selfless defenders of our constitutional rights.

I know how you feel. The ACLU makes me crazy.
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