A story that was broken on The Schilling Show blog has again made national news.
On July 17, 2009 police were called to Democrat Congressman Tom Perriello’s Charlottesville, Virginia office in order to disperse an orderly protest rally sponsored by the Jefferson Area Tea Party.
As a result of police presence at that event, The Schilling Show blog publicly posed several pertinent questions:
1. Is “critical” free speech now permanently banned from Congressman Tom Perriello’s Charlottesville office, because it rests on “private property”?
2. Can a building tenant (i.e. Congressman Perriello) compel police to enforce private property rights, or must such complaints be filed by the building’s owner in order to be enforcable?
3. If, in fact, it is illegal to protest in the area immediately outside Congressman Perriello’s Charlottesville office, will the Congressman relocate his office to a “public” site so as not to abridge his constituents’ access to him and his staff?
These are important questions, and 5th District citizens deserve clear and concise answers from their congressman. Are you listening Tom Perriello? Will you dare respond?
It should not surprise that neither Congressman Perriello nor any member of his staff rejoined. Instead they chose to ignore the issue, burying their collective heads in the sand while hoping that constituent outrage would dissipate.
Subsequent stories published here on police dispatches to protests at Perriello’s Charlottesville office received local attention but again, no response from the Congressman.
However, it was Schilling Show exclusive coverage of University of Virginia College Republican chair, Josh Lambert’s Perriello “ejection experience” that touched off a local and national firestorm.
After viewing Lambert’s post-police-ejection video interview and accompanying story on The Schilling Show blog, Charlottesville investigative weekly, The Hook, chronicled events at Perriello’s office in a cover story entitled: Perriello’s place: When free speech collides with private property.
Renowned civil liberties advocacy organization, The Rutherford Institute also took an interest in the Lambert video, and today issued a letter to Perriello, which urges him to move his Congressional office to a “location where citizens’ rights to petition and demonstrate will not be squelched by private property concerns.”
And, the Associated Press now has picked up the story in a national news release.
Congressman Perriello, you can no longer ignore the question posed to you by The Schilling Show on July 17, so it will be asked again:
If, in fact, it is illegal to protest in the area immediately outside Congressman Perriello’s Charlottesville office, will the Congressman relocate his office to a “public” site so as not to abridge his constituents’ access to him and his staff?
You can continue to dodge by pretending that you haven’t heard, but now it’s not just us waiting for your answer.
Read the full text of the Rutherford Letter:
[…] notorious nemesis of First Amendment freedoms, Democrat Congressman Tom Perriello (VA-05) has done the unthinkable: […]