Group Claims Feds Broke Montana Campaign Law

Group Claims Feds Broke Montana Campaign Law
Posted by CN Staff on February 24, 2005 at 22:36:26 PT
By Bob Anez, Associated Press Writer
Source: Associated Press
Helena -- A national organization that successfully promoted a 2004 ballot measure legalizing marijuana for medical purposes claims the national drug czar's office violated Montana law by not filing reports on what it spent to fight the initiative. In a complaint filed with the state political practices commissioner Wednesday, the Marijuana Policy Project said the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and Scott Burns, deputy director, failed to report spending related to a visit Burns made to Montana last fall to voice opposition to Initiative 148.
The organization said it filed similar complaints in Oregon and Alaska this week. "Montana law requires those who campaign for or against an initiative to disclose their expenditures," said Steve Fox, director of government relations for the marijuana group. The federal agency "publicly and actively campaigned against I-148, but failed to make the legally required campaign finance disclosures," he said. "For an administration that trumpets its efforts to advance democracy around the world to defy the most basic legal requirements of fair and honest campaigning is shocking." Jennifer Devallance, press secretary for the drug czar's office, declined Thursday to comment on the legal issues raised in the complaint. But she said Fox's organization wants to use it "as a chilling effect to prevent people from speaking out against the dangers of marijuana." The same complaint was filed in Nevada two years ago against John Walters, then the director of the office, after he campaigned in that state against a ballot measure to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana by any adult. Nevada officials decided a few months later not to take action against Walters because he was carrying out the duties of his office, which include combatting marijuana legalization efforts. They cited an 1890 U.S. Supreme Court decision that federal officials are immune from state action when exercising the functions of their offices. Burns came to Montana last October to discuss efforts to reduce the supply and demand of illegal drugs with local law enforcement, treatment center officials and others. But his three-city visit included criticism of I-148, which passed in the general election with 62 percent of the vote. Fox said Montana's campaign finance laws require any groups or organizations actively opposing or supporting ballot measures to report how much they spent to do so. He said federal law allows states to require federal officials to comply with state laws so long as it does not prevent them from following federal law.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Bob Anez, Associated Press WriterPublished: February 24, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Associated Press Related Articles & Web Site:Marijuana Policy Project Law Creates Tangle of Legal Issues Can Now Register for MMJ Treatment
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on February 25, 2005 at 15:35:54 PT:
"The cost of doing (DrugWar) business"
Americans truly have no idea of exactly how much has been spent, but we can extrapolate using the GAO's own figures that since 1980, over 200 Billion has been poured down the DrugWar commode, producing only dangerously crowded prisons, savaged civil liberties, crooked cops, judges, probation officers, prison labor magnates, etc. But the public never sees the problem because they are - in reverse of the usual problem - too far away from the forest to see the individual trees. Unless they are directly affected or in close proximity to someone who is, the vast majority of Americans feel themselves not involved, as if the kinds of things seen daily on 'reality' shows like COPS are happening in foreign countries with English subtitles masterfully dubbed in.This distancing has served the DrugWarriors well, for it allows them to conduct their operations largely without supervision. Unless...Unless, you bring the public closer to the forest, so they can see the individual trees. Once they get their bearings, once they have oriented themselves, they begin to realize that not all is as they are told it is. By giving them something familiar to grasp, something their minds can handle, they are given a sense of perspective.When we talk of 'billions', most can't conceive of the figure. But find out how much Johnny Pee's interfering little junkets cost, and the figures involved immediately snap the public's attention into focus, because the sums, though lesser, are more familiar. The public can wrap it's brain around hundreds of thousands instead of billions...because they can compare the expenses involved in ol' Johnny's taxpayer funded jaunts with their own dwindling salaries, their crushing mortgages, the outrageous cost of braces for their kid's teeth, etc. That's why this effort to make the DrugCzar cough up the final tally of costs is so important; Joe Sixpack may think himself immune from the ravages of the DrugWar so long as he keeps his nose clean (I'm sure many of the people listed on Pete Guither's DrugWarVictims roster felt the same way, but their innocence didn't save them from death) and is unconcerned with calls to protect civil liberties, but rub his nose in how much money is being wasted by the DrugWar by these relatively small examples, and watch out.
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Comment #6 posted by siege on February 25, 2005 at 09:07:55 PT
All it adds up too is BUSH is a want to be, The absolute ruler of the World. and he don't care who he hurts to get there.
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on February 25, 2005 at 08:29:07 PT
Anyone using the moniker "Cannaman" is definitely on the same page with me!
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Comment #4 posted by Cannaman on February 25, 2005 at 07:53:40 PT
To Sam Adams
You are to me exactly correct. You couldnt have written a better piece than this one. We are on the same page Sam!!!
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Comment #3 posted by goneposthole on February 25, 2005 at 07:48:56 PT
the tactics change, the facts remain
"That’s not to say that “substance abuse” isn’t a serious problem. At the time the drug war was launched, deaths from tobacco were estimated at about 300,000 a year, with perhaps another 100,000 from alcohol. But these aren’t the drugs the Bush administration targeted. It went after illegal drugs, which had caused many fewer deaths — over 3500 a year — according to official figures. One reason for going after these drugs was that their use had been declining for some years, so the Bush administration could safely predict that its drug war would “succeed” in lowering drug use."--Noam Chomsky 
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on February 25, 2005 at 07:08:11 PT
Mayan, thanks for posting. I've read a couple articles in mainstream media on this guy also. He has been the neocons "dirty laundry" guy going back to Viet Nam.This is their standard MO. Reward the guys who do your dirty work for you. Wasn't it Asa Hutchinson that was responsible for allowing the cocaine smuggling in Arkansas?Disgraceful. This guy is a criminal. He was responsible for OK'ing the US-backed death squads in Honduras for years as our ambassador there.Most people in this country don't even care that we're being ruled by criminals; or that the criminals are taking over half of their income in taxes. I think a lot of our apathy has to do with the mass-education system. For 12 years we're programmed to sit still & absorb whatever information is programmed into us, then we undergo 4 years of college, a regression process to reduce grown men & women into little children that spend the prime of their lives playing at getting drunk and developing into perfect little narcissists.OK, it sounds cynical but how else can you explain what's going on in this country? I think it's just too BIG. Mass society. As the feds take over more and more, we're ruled by people thousands of miles away. There's no connection. Europe is divided into smaller units of government & culture, there's less disconnect in that model. Here, the feds are always brought in to do the dirty work. They're the only ones that can violently attack medical MJ users, because they're the only ones detached enough from everyday life in a given town or state.
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on February 25, 2005 at 01:23:53 PT
This & That
I sure do wish the government would stop spending my tax-dollars to lie to me. I take serious offense.We are simply ruled by crooks. Here's an unrelated article regarding our newly appointed DNI(Director of National Intelligence). Ought to be able to smuggle mucho cola with the big insider job and all... John Negroponte & CIA Cocaine Trafficking CoverUp: Bush's approval rating plummet... how the shrub's approval rating has steadily gone down since 9/11? He's not bottomed out yet by a long-shot! What a horrible president. I imagine they'll still name bridges,buildings,aircraft-carriers,oil freighters,etc. after him. This country is nuts. 
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