Unequal Treatment Under the Law

Sorry about the light posting this week but this has been crunch week so far. We have had 3 major clients and 1 major potential client in our facility this week so far and I have our Subsea Group’s Senior Vice President here to visit with me and my team (my boss’s boss) – so a bit busy…

I have been following one thing for the past few weeks with interest.

That is the fight of the Richmond (VA,) Tea Party (RTP) and their dust-up with the City of Richmond. If you haven’t been following this – and if you don’t watch FOX or check out the right side of he blogosphere, you wouldn’t know about it – the Richmond Tea Party sent an invoice to the city, asking for a refund of all the money that they had to pay for permits, sanitation, police protection and insurance in order to be allowed to rally on city owned public space.


Because the Mayor and the city officials have allowed the #Occupy bunch to “occupy” the same space for weeks on end without charge and have actually provided all the services for free that they mandated the RTP to pay for.

Now, in a perfect example of how a Marxist state works, the RTP has been slapped with an audit of their finances. The RTP is compliant according to their treasurer and the city is asking for things that they RTP doesn’t even do (collection of hospitality taxes for room and board for a rally?). This is a clear and transparent abuse of power in retaliation for the RTP publicly pointing out the malfeasance of the Richmond city government.

This is a clear example of unfair treatment under the law and raw political partisanship and how in a government controlled society some people are more “equal” than others.

From the Daily Caller:

At the time of the Richmond Tea Party’s complaint, members of the occupy movement had been allowed to squat in Kanawha Plaza for two weeks, complete with a supportive visit from Richmond’s Democratic Mayor Dwight Jones. The city also picked up the nearly $7,000 tab for toilets and cleanup. Previously, the tea party had to fork over approximately $8,500 for its three one-day rallies in the park. The Richmond Tea Party alleges that, in retaliation for its request for a refund, the city hit it with a tax audit.

“The city and mayor apparently feels that the Richmond Tea Party has not paid its fair share for use of Kanawha Plaza,” tea party member Colleen Owens wrote. “We challenged the mayor’s unequal treatment between groups and he responds with even more unequal treatment.”

Fox News has reported that the government of Richmond disputes the allegations of targeted auditing, saying that the Richmond Tea Party was just one of 700 groups and businesses that hadn’t paid their excise taxes for 2010.

Owens told Fox that not only did the tea party’s special permits qualify it for an exemption from the tax, but the occupiers have not even obtained the proper permits.

“The Richmond Tea Party stands for constitutional adherence, and clearly this has been unequal treatment under the law,” Owens wrote. “We stand for fiscal restraint, and this is a case where a mayor uses taxpayer money for his personal agenda. We stand for virtue and accountability in government and that is why we have taken a stand. We will be submitting a Virginia Freedom of Information Act request for all city correspondence pertaining to our Tea Party and its decision to audit us. We will not be intimidated and we will not back down.”

From the Christian Science Monitor: Tea party activists audited by city. Would that happen to Occupy protesters?

For tea party groups, the audit by Richmond, Va., highlights long-running complaints of a double standard in the treatment of activists. The audit also puts a spotlight on free-speech regulations.

Tea party activists in Richmond, Va., watched as liberal Occupy Wall Street protesters paid nothing to use the same park that conservatives paid $8,500 to use for three of its “tax day” rallies. So the tea partyers pushed the issue by demanding a full refund of their fees.

Instead of a check, the Richmond Tea Party received a letter from the city saying it may have failed to pay taxes on ticket and food sales – and it should immediately prepare for an audit.

The city denies allegations that the audit warning was some kind of political retaliation or harassment. But for tea party groups, the city missive highlights long-running complaints of a double standard in the treatment of tea party activists.

The spat in Richmond also underscores how a new era of street protests are forcing cities and courts to reassess free-speech regulations. In many cases, they’re trying to ensure that heat-of-the-moment decisions don’t violate longstanding principles of public assembly and protest – or favor one set of protesters over another.

Local assessments of costs, public safety, and health concerns “cannot be a mask for an assault on protesters, either tea party or Occupy, for their viewpoint,” says Gene Policinski, executive director of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. “Ultimately, the courts will have to say: Is this [incident and others] truly a content- or viewpoint-neutral circumstance, or is this a hidden tactic to attack one group or another?”

While Occupy protesters say they’re being punished by cities for engaging in legal civil disobedience, tea party activists have noted instances of public solidarity with the Occupy protests that suggest different free-speech standards based on political affiliation. Such solidarity has been expressed by mayors like Villaraigosa in Los Angeles and Dwight Jones in Richmond.

Support the Richmond Tea Party’s fight against this raw political attack by going to their website and considering a contribution. The #Occupy communistas are protesting against companies using the power of the market when the worst offender of civil rights and freedom is in evidence here – it is a militant and partisan government bureaucracy acting to advantage one political view over another.

13 thoughts on “Unequal Treatment Under the Law

  1. Utah, if you look at this from a different angle, under a different light….Utah, if you just approach this situation from…. Fudge! This is wrong, the city administration here obviously took the OWS side. The only possible explanation, and it does not explain the harassment , is that the city wanted the protestors’ movements controlled, and so made the deal to let them stay in the park free of charge.
    The city is wrong, and it doesn’t sound like an innocent mistake, either.

  2. What to take away from this? Simple:

    The TEA Party is for small government, the OWS Campaign is for large government. Hence, government sees the TEA Party as an enemy and is using its authority against them, and it sees the OWS Campaign as an ally and is trying to protect them.

    This is not only 100% opposite of what a just government is supposed to do in a self-governing society, it is suicidal as the government is NOT listening to these OWS people when they call for the destruction of both our current political and economic systems.

    Sort of makes you wonder whether or not these govt. officials know more about what is going on than they claim as, if they do not, their support of the OWS Campaign would be sufficient to confirm a diagnosis of mental deficiency sufficient to warrant removal from office. No sane person supports a group that openly calls for their destruction and – in some cases – murder.

  3. Intangible Soul needed someone familiar with the Consitution. Any takers?

    I have to say I didn’t realise Forbes featured these types of articles. Powell is brilliant.

  4. Kells Bells, I agree. The man taught Constitutional Law, when all he does is circumvent or bypass it, along with Congress. Since the American people are not allowed to know how well he did academically in his college years, all we can assume is that he got an F in the course that he taught.

  5. It cracked me up when they brought up all this info on McCain, yet they couldn’t even get this guy’s birth certificate? Double standard and not fair …….something wicked this way comes….

  6. Pingback: Remember This Little, Isolated, Small, Insignificant, Totally Nothing Local Story? | The Rio Norte Line

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