Friday, June 28, 2024

Freedom to Read Act Needs Legislators to Defy Ethics and Criminal Laws to Pass; Arrest the Legislators

Disorderly Persons Offense by NJ Legislators? Will A3446 Be Passed Despite Ethical Violations Amounting to a Failure of the Public Trust?

Author: Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, Chatham, NJ.
Date:  6/28/2024
To: NJ Legislators

Issue:

Has one or more members of the New Jersey Assembly and Senate promoted legislation and released confidential information to the drafters and proponents of A3446 S2421 2024, thereby committing a “disorderly person” offense under N.J.S.A. 52:13E-8?  Have they violated the Legislative Code of Ethics 2:1a and 2:11?  Have they violated the Conflicts of Interest Law 52:13D-12 and 52:13D-25?  Have they committed substantially the same violation as presented in the Ethics Tutorial, Question 24, meaning they know or should have known they committed a disorderly persons offense?  Does being a legislator exempt one from arrest and possible fine and jail time for having committed a disorderly persons offense?  Does the Assembly as a whole passing A3446 for the Governor’s signature mean the entire law is based on ethical and criminal violations of law?

Aggravating Factors:

Is it an aggravating factor that A3446 S2421 is written by a Chicago, Illinois, private entity, the very organization promoted and tipped off, to nullify Board of Education v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 (1982) and leave school children exposed to pervasively vulgar and educationally unsuitable material?  Is it an aggravating factor that A3446 S2421 is written to nullify N.J.S.A. 2C:34-3 Obscenity for Persons Under 18 and leave school children exposed to obscenity under New Jersey law?  Is it an aggravating factor that the very same private entity being promoted by the Assembly and tipped off by the Senate, in this case one of its subgroups called New Jersey School Library Association, is directly made by A3446 S2421 the very drafter of the proposed model school library book selection and book challenge policies, in other words, the lead benefactor of A3446 S2421?  Is it an aggravating factor that a member of those not privy to the inside information was labeled a “meddling minority” on the (A3446) S2421 issue by Senator Andrew Zwicker?  Is it an aggravating factor that the ultimate victims are children?  Is it an aggravating factor that the children have no representation except for a relatively few parents who speak up only to get ignored by legislators who post open support for a Chicago organization that wrote the legislation before hearing even one word of public testimony?

Relevant Law:

Legislative Code of Ethics - https://njleg.state.nj.us/code-of-ethics
2:1. a. No member of the Legislature shall … act in any way that impairs the objectivity or independence of judgment of the member of the Legislature in the exercise of his or her duties or is violative of the public trust by an elected official or which creates a justifiable impression among the public that such trust is being violated (C.52:13D-12 and 52:13D-23).
2:11. No member of the Legislature shall willfully disclose to any person, whether or not for pecuniary gain, any information not generally available to members of the public which he receives or acquires in the course of and by reason of his official duties. … (C.52:13D-25).

52:13D-12. Legislative findings
The Legislature finds and declares:
(a) In our representative form of government, it is essential that the conduct of public officials … shall hold the respect and confidence of the people. Public officials must, therefore, avoid conduct which is in violation of their public trust or which creates a justifiable impression among the public that such trust is being violated.
52:13D-25. Disclosure or use for personal gain of information not available to public
No … member of the Legislature shall willfully disclose to any person, whether or not for pecuniary gain, any information not generally available to members of the public which he receives or acquires in the course of and by reason of his official duties. ….
L.1971, c. 182, s. 14, eff. Jan. 11, 1972.

Other Provisions – 
52:13E-8. Dissemination of evidence adduced at private hearing
Except in the course of subsequent hearing which is open to the public, no testimony or other evidence adduced at a private hearing or preliminary conference or interview conducted before a single-member agency in the course of its investigation shall be disseminated or made available to the public by said agency, its counsel or employees without the approval of the head of the agency. Except in the course of a subsequent hearing open to the public, no testimony or other evidence adduced at a private hearing or preliminary conference or interview before a committee or other multimember investigating agency shall be disseminated or made available to the public by any member of the agency, its counsel or employees, except with the approval of a majority of the members of such agency. Any person who violates the provisions of this subdivision shall be adjudged a disorderly person.
L.1968, c. 376, s. 8, eff. Dec. 27, 1968.

VI. Disclosure of Confidential Information
Relevant provisions of the Conflicts Law and the Code of Ethics: N.J.S.A. 52:13D-25; sections 2:11 and 3:13 of the Code of Ethics.
Summary: These provisions prohibit legislators and legislative employees from disclosing nonpublic information acquired in the course of official duties.

Question 24
Senator B serves on a special committee directed by resolution to conduct an investigation. As part of that investigation, preliminary sworn statements were taken at private hearings and the transcripts of those statements were given to the members of the special committee including Senator B. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52:13E-8, the transcripts are confidential unless a majority of the special committee votes to make them public. No such vote was taken. The transcripts concern activities affecting the Senator's district and he wants to share the information with local officials immediately. 

Can he give copies of the transcripts to the local officials and request that they not go public with the information?

You answered No which is correct.
The Senator may not release this information. Not only would the release of this confidential information violate N.J.S.A. 52:13D-25 and section 2:11 of the Code of Ethics, it would be a disorderly persons offense pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52:13E-8.

Relevant Facts:

On June 6, 2024, starting at 10 AM, the Assembly Education Committee heard public testimony for the first time on the so-called "Freedom to Read Act" A3446 that was written by the American Library Association (ALA) based in Chicago, Illinois, and promoted nationwide and federally with its organization called, "Unite Against Book Bans."  ALA promotes Unite Against Book Bans on X via use of the hashtag #UniteAgainstBookBans.  I testified at that hearing about the grip of the Unite Against Book Bans organization over New Jersey’s librarians.  To me it seems my testimony was ignored.

Seventeen minutes before the hearing began, then again during the meeting, the X account @NJAssemblyDems posted its support for ALA, first by posting the ALA’s hashtag, then by posting with a tag to ALA’s Unite Against Book Bans group on X called @UABookBans.  It later deleted that second tweet.  So, before even ever hearing from the public on the issue, the Assembly demonstrated it openly sided with the legislative efforts of the Chicago-based organization that drafted the legislation.  Even the Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly demonstrated his support for the Chicago organization’s legislation before any testimony was heard.  This has to violate at least some of the codes/laws cited above.  Passing A3446 now essentially rubber stamps ethical and possibly criminal violations made by those legislators who voted for A3446.

The "Freedom to Read Act" will defend our most basic freedoms and protect the rights of students, parents, and communities. 
@AswDrulis @njla @NJEA @GSEquality @NJASL #uniteagainstbookbans #nj
9:43 AM Jun 6, 2024

An hour or so later, I can’t be sure since the post has since been deleted but I have a screen grab of it showing it was sent an hour after the first post, @njassemblydems sent out a response to its own post discussed above saying only, "@PENamerica @sikh_coalition @UABookBans".



Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly, Speaker Craig J. Coughlin, posted on X from @SpeakerCoughlin by saying, "The Freedom to Read is fundamental to our democracy" and reposted the 9:43 AM Jun 6, 2024, prejudicial post.  He did this at 11:08 AM Jun 6, 2024, only an hour and eight minutes after the Assembly hearing started and hours before it concluded.

On or before June 12, at least one member of the NJ Senate Education Committee [SEC] provided New Jersey Association of School Librarians [NJASL], which is a Chapter of the American Library Association’s [ALA] American Association of School Librarians [AASL], with a June 20 date of the SEC hearing for S2421 “Freedom to Read Act.”  S2421 was never heard that day but still, the librarians were tipped off.  After that, on or before June 13, that information was placed on an ALA web site (via ALA crypto group EveryLibrary) with the call to “email or call” the legislators of the SEC. On June 14 at 6:18AM, an ALA astroturfed group in New Jersey started by North Hunterdon-Voorhees High School school librarian Martha Hickson using ALA resources posted on X from @NHVfREADom the link to that ALA/EveryLibrary web site and tagged @NJASL @AndrewZwicker @aswdrulis, so at least those people knew for certain of the ALA/EveryLibrary web site announcing the date of the S2421 hearing.  As of June 19, 12:26 PM, the SEC still doesn’t list S2421 as being heard on June 20 despite NJASL and ALA having known and having announced it since June 12.  Further, by June 14, two legislators knew or should have known of the release of the information via a third ALA source.  So seven days had gone by and the New Jersey public still didn’t know of the S2421 hearing on June 20, but ALA did, ALA’s EveryLibrary did, ALA’s AASL Chapter NJASL did, and ALA’s astroturfer Martha Hickson @NHVfREADom did.  The ALA and its supporters have been able to rally for a week before the June 20 hearing while New Jersey citizens had yet to have been informed of the June 20th hearing date, although again it didn’t happen that day.  Indeed some could not attend as a direct result of this lack of public notice.  It’s ALA that wrote the legislation and is pushing it in New Jersey, in states nationwide, and federally.  Somehow ALA knew of the SEC’s June 20th hearing on S2421 at least a week before the SEC ever made the New Jersey citizenry aware.  NJ legislators are the only possible source of this inside information.

Date/Time: 13 Jun 2024 19:43:45 UTC
Source: American Library Association (via EveryLibrary)
Quote:
Update June 12 from NJASL:
The companion bill, S2421, sponsored by Senators Zwicker and Ruiz will be heard by the Senate Education Committee on Thursday, June 20. Please email or call the following legislators and ask them to vote YES on S2421.
Senator Vin Gopal, Chair (LD11) Monmouth County
732-695-3371 sengopal@njleg.org
Senator Shirley Turner, Vice Chair (LD15) Hunterdon, Mercer County
609-323-7239 senturner@njleg.org
Senator Kristen M. Corrado (LD40) Bergen, Essex, Passaic County
973-237-1360 sencorrado@njleg.org
Senator Owen Henry (LD12) Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean County
732-607-7580 senhenry@njleg.org
Senator Angela McKnight (LD31) Hudson County
201-360-2502 senmcknight@njleg.org

Date/Time: 13 Jun 2024 19:49:03 UTC
Source: NJ Senate Education Committee
Quote:  Nothing to quote and no June 20 meeting is listed.

Date/Time: 13 Jun 2024 20:22:26 UTC
Source: NJ Senate Education Committee
Quote:  Now the June 20 meeting is listed, but S2421 is not.  Eight others are.

Date/Time: 14 Jun 2024 06:18 AM ET
Source: @nhvfREADom on X
Quote:
The NJ Freedom to Read Act is having a positive influence even before it’s passed by giving other states ideas for protecting the right to read. Let’s make sure we pass our bill @njasl @AndrewZwicker @aswdrulis https://www.saveschoollibrarians.org/njaslbookbans

Date/Time: 19 Jun 2024 04:13:58 UTC
Source: NJ Senate Education Committee
Quote:  Still S2421 is missing.

Senator Andrew Zwicker calls Dan Kleinman a “meddling minority”:

"One critic who told legislators he would testify against the bill is Dan Kleinman, a Texas-based blogger who last year launched the World Library Association as an alternative to the American Library Association, which has led the charge nationally against banning books. Zwicker said neutralizing that meddling minority of out-of-towners is one of his goals.

"'We already live in a system where a parent has the ability to limit what their child does or doesn’t read. But we should never live in a system where someone else gets to choose what your child gets to read. A small number of people, if they had their way, would dictate what the rest of us and our children could choose to read. And that’s un-American,’ he said."


Lastly, ALA’s Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom and its Freedom to Read Foundation, Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Esq., trained librarians that before legislation gets promoted there needs to be sustained messaging that reframes known s*xually inappropriate material as diversity and inclusion.  That is apparently exactly what has happened in New Jersey, right down to the wording of the legislation, and why legislators willingly violate ethical codes leading to violations of obscenity statutes.  And children are the target.  If the legislators don’t stand up for New Jersey’s children, who will?  The parents will, but the legislation intentionally and severely limits their ability to act in such a manner.  Specifically, the ALA leader/attorney said:

"But ultimately, we found that the thing that needs to happen most, and it needs to happen before these bills are introduced, is sustained uh messaging that reframes this issue um that uh that takes it away from the idea that these are inappropriate for minors, or s*xually inappropriate for minors, and promotes them as diverse materials and programming that are about inclusion, fairness, and protection of everybody's right to see themselves, and their families reflected in the books in the public library."


And ALA has worked for over half a century to promote inappropriate material in public schools and libraries.  See: Koganzon, Rita. “There Is No Such Thing as a Banned Book: Censorship, Authority, and the School Book Controversies of the 1970s.” American Political Thought 12, no. 1 (January 2023): 1–26. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PZ2pDhKhRAtlNgR7gek_1kcdGFoskHpa/view?usp=sharing. New Jersey parents don’t stand a chance against such sustained community organizing and really must rely on legislators to protect their rights, yet it appears those rights are being tossed aside for flowery "freedom to read" language that was made up by ALA in the 1960s precisely to take power away from parents and school boards and enrich authors like New Jersey’s own Judy Blume.  The New Jersey legislature is delivering the coup de grâce since ALA doesn’t have the power to do that by itself.

Conclusion:

From the above it is my opinion that at least one New Jersey legislator has violated ethical codes in a manner that may be considered a criminal offense subject to a possible fine, jail, and a criminal record.  Further, there are a number of aggravating factors that make this a serious offense, including that the will of the public will have been subverted so that school children may be s*xualized and indoctrinated in schools by school librarians ignoring the US Supreme Court and New Jersey criminal statutes on obscenity, let alone the will of the public, all to satisfy the interests of a private organization based in Chicago, Illinois, promoting “Freedom to Read” and “Right to Read” legislation nationwide and here in New Jersey that simply defies the law, community standards, common sense, and that directly harms children.  I’ve been called a “meddling minority” by one of the legislators, but it appears any meddling being done is by the legislators themselves violating ethical codes and possibly committing disorderly persons offenses.  This “Freedom to Read Act” is being forced on people like in New Jersey by legislators acting in collusion with ALA to s*xualize and indoctrinate school children. The legislators demonstrate they’ve already made up their minds and any input from citizens is merely to make a showing about caring for the people of the state; to check off a box before passage of legislation into law.  

These acts are fatally flawed from the start, they are being promoted with flagrant violations of ethical codes and criminal laws, they harm children and violate existing law like Board of Education v. Pico allowing immediate removal of pervasively vulgar and educationally unsuitable material, and now they are about to be sent to the Governor for his signature.

I’ll be publishing this so the public knows what’s going on in legislatures and why their children are being harmed in public schools and libraries and how legislators are turning that harm into law by violating ethical codes. 

I call for the appropriate legal remedy to be launched against these legislators given the above, even if that includes their immediate arrest.  And certainly the "Freedom to Read Act" A3446 S2421 should not be advanced any further.

No one is above the law.




NOTE ADDED 6 JULY 2024:

The page discussed about on an ALA site has been changed to remove the evidence presented above, the exact reason the archived copies were provided.  So ALA is hiding the collusion this report revealed.  Here is an archive of the page as it appears as of today with the incriminating evidence removed:


Here is my five post thread discussing this: