Congress over Starr
Report for removal
of X-rated Material
Porn has no place in the local newspaper
Marc Perkel, Democratic Candidate for Congress for the 7th district of Missouri announces today, 09-14-98 that he has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the United States House of Representatives asking the court for an order to remove X-rated material from Kenneth Starr's Independent Counsel report.
The reason for this lawsuit is that I believe that the X-rated material isn't necessary and has resulted in pornographic material being printed in his local newspaper for the first time ever. I believe that the only reason my paper and others around the country are printing X-rated material is because the government is doing it. People feel that if it's OK for Uncle Sam then it's OK for everyone. I think this is wrong.
If a person wants porn, they should be able to buy it from a porn vendor who sells it to people who are over 18. I don't think that porn should be delivered in the form of a local newspaper. Although I support the right of individuals to say what they want, I feel strongly that the government itself should be limited to G-rated material.
I call on my opponent Roy Blunt and the Republican Party to remove their pornography from the Internet. Roy Blunt can not run on family values if he is going to force the public to read his party's X-rated material in our local newspaper. Marc Perkel to Roy Blunt! Remove your Porn!
For press reaction and frequently asked question about this lawsuit, Click Here. This is not a publicity stunt. More political commentary at the bottom of this page.
That's the way I read it and I'm just starting to figure it out.
In the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri Southern Division
In the United States District Court for
the Western District of Missouri
United States of America
United States House of Representatives,
Case No: 98-3387-CV-S-RGC
Civil Rights Complaint for Injunctive Relief
COMES NOW Plaintiff Marc Perkel, to ask that this court issue an immediate temporary injunction, leading to a preliminary injunction, and eventually to a permanent injunction, to remove portions of the Independent Counsel's report from government owned or controlled Internet web sites. Plaintiff requests this injunction because parts of the counsel's report include graphic details of sexual encounters that are inappropriate for a government publication based on public standards of decency. Plaintiff also requests removal of material that was obtained through a grand jury process that is subject to Federal Rule 6(e) because the Independent Counsel failed to get permission to release this material from the courts as required by the Rules. In support of his request for injunction, Plaintiff states as follows:
Jurisdiction of this Court - Standing of the Plaintiff
Plaintiff brings this action as a civil right action pursuant to Title 42 Section 1983 of the United States Code. This court has jurisdiction because the Plaintiff is a resident of Springfield Missouri, and is a candidate for the United States House of Representatives for the 7th District of Missouri. The defendant is the United States of America. The damage complained of herein is occurring to the Plaintiff in Missouri and directly affects him as a citizen in this area as well as the community he lives in as a whole. Because of the local consequences of the government's action, this court has the authority to issue an injunction.
Plaintiff appears before this court as a candidate for congressional office, as a voter, and as a member of the community, and as a citizen of the United States representing the interests of all citizens.
Government vs. Personal standards of Sexual Material
Plaintiff contends that the standards of government webs sites should reflect the values of the community as a whole. Web sites controlled by the government that publish information for the use of the public should be "G Rated" and free of objectionable material. This is similar to the separation of church and state theories. The idea being that by prohibiting the government from using the religious symbols of any one religion, they preclude offending other religions and thus becomes compatible with all religions. The government has a responsibility to avoid offending the people who are sensitive to sexually explicit material or want to prevent access to sexually explicit material by their children.
Although it may have been necessary for the Independent Counsel to include X-rated material in his report to the Congress, there was no reason to publish the X-rated material on the Internet. Any decision to impeach the President will be made by the Congress and not by the voters. Therefore it is not necessary for the voters to know intimate details about the private sexual habits of Monica Lewinsky, who confessed to sexual acts in a grand jury setting under the illusion of secrecy.
Plaintiff believes that in publishing X-rated material on the Internet that the government has set a new low standard of what is appropriate to publish. I do not recall that there was ever a time when the Springfield News Leader has ever published X-rated material in its paper before. Nor have they ever had to warn the reader that the paper contains material of an offensive nature. Because the government published this material, the Springfield News Leader must have reasoned by example that they should print it to. Conversely, if the government were to pull the material from its web sites then the news media would get the message that X-rated news coverage is not the new community standards.
If Starr can release X-rated news on the Web and as a result the newspapers of America can print X-rated material, what would happen if Starr released X-rated video and the Congress voted to put that on the web. Would television station then air the X-rated video on their local news shows? I asked a reporter from a local television station about that who said that if the government did it, they would do it.
Thus even though private web sites will still carry the original release, additional immediate and irreparable harm will be averted by prohibiting the Congress from publishing porn on its web site. Thus an injunction is both necessary and appropriate.
This X-rated material has and continues to injure the Plaintiff in a personal and individual way and thus is a basis for standing to bring this suit. Because the injury is occurring in this geographical location, this court has jurisdiction to ender an order enjoining the Defendant from committing further harm to the Plaintiff.
The federal courts have jurisdiction because the Defendant is the United States of America and the questions presented here are of a federal nature.
Grand Jury Secrecy
The United States Supreme Court in United States v. Procter & Gamble Co., 356 U.S. 677, 681-682, n. 6 (1958), has articulated the need for secrecy in grand jury proceedings stating:
"(1) To prevent the escape of those whose indictment may be contemplated; (2) to insure the utmost freedom to the grand jury in its deliberations, and to prevent persons subject to indictment or their friends from importuning the grand jurors; (3) to prevent subornation of perjury or tampering with the witness who may testify before grand jury and later appear at the trial of those indicted by it; (4) to encourage free and untrammeled disclosures by persons who have information with respect to the commission of crimes; (5) to protect innocent accused who is exonerated from disclosure of the fact that he has been under investigation, and from the expense of standing trial where there was no probability of guilt."
One has to ask the question, "Would Monica Lewinsky have testified before the Grand Jury if she knew that her "secret" testimony was going to be published by the Congress on the Internet?" Or the even bigger question, "Now that Monica Lewinsky's testimony has been published on the Internet, will this have a chilling effect on other women coming forward and testifying fearing that their testimony might be published on the Web?" Even though the "cat is out of the bag", by allowing this material to continue to be broadcast on the government's web sites sends a message to future people faced with having to testify fully and truthfully before a grand jury. The message being that the Courts can not control nor enforce Rule 6(e).
A citizen might reason that if there were anything that represents a test of the grand jury secrecy rules it would be the testimony of the President of the United States. If the courts can't enforce its own rules for something as important as the President, how can we be confident that the courts can enforce their own rules for an ordinary citizen? I contend that this in fact proves that the Courts can not enforce their own rules. Thus this publication undermines the integrity of the grand jury system and erodes public confidence in the courts to maintain ethical standards.
The rules provide that the Independent Counsel must ask for permission by the court to use grand jury testimony for anything other than a criminal prosecution. An impeachment process is not a criminal proceeding, therefore, Congress should not be able to see it without permission of the court. And if Congress shouldn't see it, certainly the public shouldn't see it.
If the people lose confidence in the ability of the courts to enforce their own rules it undermines the ability of the judicial system to function. If the judicial system can't function then our way of life as American is threatened. Although Kenneth Starr in his report accuses the President of treason, It may be that he himself, in open violation of the Rules of Court may have undermined the Constitution itself. It is therefore necessary to correct this so as to contain the damage and repair the problem.
In the case of In re: Oliver L. North, et al. (Omnibus Order) 01/07/94 the Court struggled with the same issues presented here and warned of setting a dangerous precedent
Three, whether the filings contain information which is already publicly known: This is a factor which weighs most strongly in favor of release. Not only is the information widely known, it is widely known incorrectly. The Report rehashes interim reports, trial documents, and other matters that have either formally or informally released in the past. In addition, there have been leaks. While the Court did all in its power to prevent release of the Report during the pendency of the comment period, the Court's power was not enough. There have been media accounts of parts of the Report during this pendency. E.g., Max Boot, Walsh's Iran/Contra Probe Comes to an End as Whimper, Not Bang, CHRISTIAN SCI. MONITOR, Dec. 9, 1993, (The World) at 1; Robert L. Jackson & Ronald J. Ostrow, Final Iran-Contra Report Faults Reagan and Bush, L.A. TIMES, Dec. 5, 1993, at A1; and Report Criticizes Reagan and Bush, N.Y. TIMES, Dec. 5, 1993, ß 1 at 31). The Indep endent Counsel himself has given statements to the media of what he intended the Report to contain. Those statements, those leaks and those media accounts were made without the right of reply by the subjects, were partial and were in the judgement of this Court more unfair to the persons named than will be the present release of the completed Report with the comments of the named persons and this Court's express repudiation of imprimatur.
We understand that the calculus just recited may be a dangerous precedent. That is, some might suggest that a future Independent Counsel wishing to ensure the release of his report would go on television and make comments accusing the subjects of his report of crimes so that the Court could later find that the contents of the Report were already public. As this Court has no supervisory power, there would be little we could do about it. As the Independent Counsel is virtually without supervision there would be little anyone could do about it. This danger may be inherent in the nature of the Independent Counsel.
I say that that the court's worst fears are being realized here in the release of this material and that this court not has a duty to face these issues and resolve them.
A grand jury exists solely for the purpose of bringing a criminal indictment and is supposed to be a secret proceeding. This grand jury is plagued with leaks of a politically biased nature with the intent to influence the outcome of elections including my election. If the Independent Prosecutor is abusing his power for political reasons, the fruits of his abuses should not be allowed to continue to be broadcast on the Internet by the congress. Kenneth Starr is currently under an order of the court to explain the leaks of grand jury testimony. It seems inconsistent that the courts should be investigating leaks of grand jury testimony while allowing the Congress to publish it on the web. I contend that Congress was not authorized to see grand jury testimony let alone the public. Is it not a fraud on the public to even have grand jury secrecy rules if the courts allow those rules to be violated with impunity?
I would ask the court this question: If the Independent Counsel acted properly in releasing secret grand jury testimony to the public without permission of the court to do so, then what does the provisions of Rule 6(e) mean which requires the courts permission to release secret testimony? This precedent, if allowed to stand, appears to repeal Rule 6(e) and it appears to me that Rule 6(e) doesnít really exist. If this court refuses to grant my injunction, I ask this court to admit that permitting the Independent Counsel to violate it with impunity has effectively repealed Rule 6(e).
This Court is Injured
The injuries caused by the improper posting of secret grand jury testimony by the Independent Counsel include this court. If the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Southern Division were to call me to testify before a grand jury, I would refuse to do so on the basis that the court is not capable of enforcing Rule 6(e) and therefore would not enjoy the protection of secrecy. If I were forced to testify, I would be chilled from testifying fully and truthfully. I feel that if the federal courts can't enforce Rule 6(e) in cases as important as the President of the United States, then how can I trust the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Southern Division? Therefore this court is also an injured party and this court has the right and duty to act sua sponte.
Influence on the Elections
The release of the Independent Counsel's report on the internet containing X-rated material of a sexually explicit nature was intended to influence the outcome of this year's congressional elections. The Independent Counsel's job is to do a fair and impartial investigation and he has a duty to obey the Rules of Court. It is not his job to represent the interests of the Republican Party or big tobacco. Kenneth Starr has a conflict of interest in simultaneously representing the United States investigating the President and the tobacco industry who is the biggest contributor of soft money to the Republican Party, the President's political enemy, and has a direct interest in the outcome of the prosecution. Kenneth Starr is being funded by interests adverse to my political position as a candidate and has acted in violation of the Rules of Court to make public inflammatory information to help his tobacco clients win my seat in the House.
A grand jury is the tool of the prosecutor and is controlled by him. It is a one sided process that gives the opposite side no chance to be heard. This Independent Counsel report relies heavily on testimony obtained through a one sided process. Then this one sided report was given to Congress and published on the Internet without even giving the President a copy of the report nor a chance to object or react to the content of the report. This process, which has political consequences, is being used to manipulate the outcome of all congressional elections including mine here in the 7th district of Missouri. This makes it a local issue as well as a national issue. If nothing else, this section contributes to the Plaintiff's standing to bring this action.
Tone of Impeachment Hearings
If Congress is allowed to get away with posting X-rated material on the Internet, then what will the tone of possible impeachment hearings or other investigative processes be like? Will we have X-rated congressional hearings? Will C-Span become an X-rated channel? Will witnesses be compelled to appear before congress and be forced to reveal intimate details about their sexual experiences while the entire world watches? By allowing Congress to post the sexual habits of Monica Lewinsky on the web, then they can post the sexual experiences of any individual on the web.
And what will it do to this court? If government allows X-rated government speech, then what will legal briefs look like? For example, I am asking this court to censor the Congress because I really donít want to know if the President ejaculated when Monica Lewinsky performed oral sex on him. I donít want to know where the Presidentís cigar went. I want this court to share my feeling of outrage about the conduct of the Congress in publishing porn on the Internet.
I personally donít find the language as offensive as the fact that the United States of America can drag a private person into court and force them, under threat of contempt, to reveal these personal sexual details, and then publish them on the Internet. This is outrageous enough to justify an insurrection against the government. It shocks the conscience to see this happen. And it is by use of the authority and power of the Courts that empowers the Independent Counsel and the Congress to abuse its citizens, like Monica Lewinsky has been abused. She had sex with the President, but the Courts raped her. And this Court has a duty to the Constitution to correct this situation and to demonstrate that the courts are able to enforce their own rules.
If this court were to order the X-rated material removed from the web sites controlled by the government, it would send a clear message to the public that this material is not appropriate for general broadcast and will deter Congress from releasing X-rated material to the public in the future. So even though the material is already out there, it is still necessary to enjoin the Congress from causing further damage to the public.
The grand jury testimony that was revealed on the Internet related to the possible indictment of the President for perjury. Although I believe that Starr could fabricate enough facts to bring a case against the President, Iím sure he must know that no one has ever been prosecuted for perjury in a civil trial for lying about having an affair. If the President were actually convicted of perjury for lying under oath about sex, then are we going to have criminal charges against people who lie about affairs in a divorce case? Can you imagine what society would be like if that were to happen? If we did that weíd have to build a court and a jail in every neighborhood.
Everyone lies about sex. Itís an American tradition and it is something that a gentleman is expected to do. Sex in this society is a private matter that many people neither want to talk about or hear about. And people don't want to be forced by the Congress to hear about it and talk about it against their will. Iím sure I would have less sex partners if the women I sleep with thought I was going to tell the truth, even under oath. You're supposed to lie about sex. You say you didn't do it when you did, and you say you did do it when you didn't. Thatís why the charge of Perjury requires the element of materiality. And itís hard to make a case for materiality in a case that was dismissed for failing to state a claim for which relief can be granted. If it was ruled and a President convicted on the basis that lying about sex under oath in a dismissed lawsuit constitutes materiality, we would all be in jail. The very premise of this investigation shocks the conscience. The real issue h ere isnít that the President lied, but that the government didnít have the right to ask the question, and certainly doesn't have the right to publish the answers on the Web.
I contend that the underlying reason for the inquiry into the sexual activity in the first place is in fact a fraudulent reason. I believe that Kenneth Starr was using the grand jury process knowing that he had no intention of bringing a criminal charge. Such a use of a grand jury would be an abuse of power.
Censorship of the Internet
I want to make it clear for all those who might read this that I do not support censorship on the Internet. I support freedom of individuals to publish X-rated material should they choose to do so. I am not asking this court to order private individuals or news organizations to remove or change the original report. My complaint only asks that the government itself be restricted from publishing X-rated and offensive material without a compelling reason to do so.
Pro Se Standard of Review
Because the Plaintiff is pro se, the court has a higher standard when faced with a motion to dismiss. White v. Bloom, 621 F.2d 276 makes this point clear and states:
A court faced with a motion to dismiss a pro se complaint alleging violations of civil rights must read the complaint's allegations expansively, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21, 92 S. Ct. 594, 596, 30 L. Ed. 2d 652 (1972), and take them as true for purposes of deciding whether they state a claim. Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322, 92 S. Ct. 1079, 1081, 31 L. Ed. 2d 263 (1972). Moreover, "the court is under a duty to examine the complaint to determine if the allegations provide for relief on any possible theory." onner v. Circuit Court of St. Louis, 526 F.2d 1331, 1334 (8th Cir. 1975) (quoting Bramlet v. Wilson, 495 F.2d 714, 716 (8th Cir. 1974)).
Thus, if this court were to entertain any motion to dismiss, this court would have to apply the standards of White v. Bloom. This court must determine if I have a complaint under any possible theory.
WHEREFORE, for the above reasons, Plaintiff prays for an order of this court to remove the sexually explicit material and the secret grand jury testimony from web sites on the Internet that are controlled by the Congress and the Government of the United States. Plaintiff prays that this court will consider the ethical implications of the Independent Counsel's decision to disclose secret grand jury testimony without first obtaining permission of the court to do so. Plaintiff also prays that this court will take whatever other measures it sees fit to protect the interests of the electoral process, community decency standards, and the integrity of the judicial system, the Constitution, the rights of the President, and the Government of the United States of America. Plaintiff asked this court for immediate action on an emergency basis.
Marc Perkel - Plaintiff - 09-14-98
Republicans Undermine the Elections
The Starr report is an attempt by the Republican party to win an election by undermining the Constitution. They can't win on the merits so they have to cheat. They are trying to win by being so disgusting that they discourage voters from voting. However, the Republicans run the risk of being so disgusting that the voters turn out to get rid of the Republican Party.
The Republican Party is exposing the children of America to pornography for their selfish short term political gain. The Republicans will do anything, no matter what the cost to society, to gain power.
Does the American public really need to know if Monica Lewinsky can make a cigar disappear?
Background on this Lawsuit
As a result of the Republicans publishing porn, my local newspaper, The Springfield News Leader, located in the buckle of the Bible Belt, printed the Republican generated pornography. The News Leader has never published pornography before, but I assumed they reasoned that if the government can do it then it must be OK for them to do it. Thus the pornography was delivered to homes with children who could get the newspaper and read the X-rated material.
The next day I called KWTO Radio, who has a morning talk show, and expressed my concerns about the government setting a low standard for allowing X-rated material into media that is supposed to be G-rated. My point being that people were being forced to be exposed and their families exposed to material they didn't want to be exposed to. I made the point that surely this station wouldn't let me read the newspaper on the air. John DeCluex, the talk show host, called my bluff and said I could read it. I then called his bluff and read it.
I'm filing this lawsuit because I don't want to read X-rated material in the Springfield News Leader.
The problem here isn't just that this happened but what will continue to happen. If a Christian family wants to read the paper, watch TV, or listen to the radio, they should be free to do so without sexually offensive material being forced on them unwillingly. Right now a Christian would have to stop getting the newspaper, turn off the TV and radio, and avoid any place that had a TV or radio on to avoid being exposed to X-rated material. This is a serious infringment on their freedoms and rights. For the record, I am not a Christian. But Christians have the right to not be forced to hear the details of the President getting a blow job. I don't think Jews, Muslims, or Bhudists want to hear it either.
Do we not have any rights?
Who is the government that they can even ask the questions they asked Monica Lewinsky? What gives Uncle Sam the right to forcibly interagate people about their privare sex lives and then publish it on the Internet? Am I the only one who thinks this is a police state? If I wanted to live in a country where one is dragged into court ant interagated about their morals, I'd just move to Iran.
What pisses me off the most about Clinton is that he didn't tell Starr and the Republicans to go fuck themselves in the first place. When Clinton agreed to be investigated when there was no crime, he violated my rights as a free citizen and created a precident where the government investigates people looking for a crime. That's wrong! I personally wouldn't stand for it.
Pornography and Freedom of Speech
I don't support the banning of pornographic material. I'm strongly a personal freedom and free speech guy. The issues here that I'm complaining about is the distribution of pornography. Pornography is something that those of us who want it should be able to get. But we should have to go get the pornography. The pornography should not come to us. This is a huge difference. When I buy pornography, I go to an adult bookstore where pornography is sold. You have to be 18 or older to get in. The magazines are encased in plastic and when I buy one it is put in a paper sack and stapled so that it isn't accidentally seen by a minor. Thus, the only people who are exposed to the pornography are adults who want to see it and no one else. It protects the rights of the non-participants to not participate.
Pornographic material should not be distributed to homes through the newspaper, radio or television to people who do not want to participate in it. When a person is forced to partake of something, even if it's legal, it's an infringement on their rights. And Christian families rights are violated when the government and the news media forces X-rated material into their conscience. Christians have the right to avoid porn.
The newspaper, television, radio and other G-rated media should not publish X-rated material. Pronography is something you should have to go get. It should not be something that is delivered to you unsolicited.
I could also make the same point about religion. Like pornography, religion should be available for those who want to participate in it. However, it should not be forced on those who do not want to participate in it. Religion is something that you should go get, and not something that should come to you. Although I support the rights of Christians to practice thier religion, I want you to keep your religion out of my face. If I want religion, I'll come to you.
Religion however is not as offensive to the non-believer as pornography is to the believer. Thus the level of government safegaurds put on porn should not be the same as that put on religion. I however feel that government prayer is as much a violation of rights as government pornography and for exactly the same reasons. It is necessary for the government to have no religion to protect the freedoms of all religious and non religious people. And I believe that it is necessary for the government and broadcast media to be G-rated to protect the rights of individuals to participate or not participate in sexually explicit language or conduct as they see fit.
Winning this Lawsuit
People are wondering if I'm going to win this lawsuit. The answer is yes, definitely. The reason is that I'm in a win/win situation. Win or lose I get to raise the issues for discussion in a high profile way. But as a congressional candidate and the founder of People before Lawyers, this lawsuit gives me the opportunity to prove my main issue, that self regulation of the judicial system must end. Self Regulation of the Judicial System is Unconstitutional because the Constitution contemplated a balance of power where each branch of government had a leash on the other branches to keep them from usurping the power of the King and make sure they didn't become above the law.
The federal courts have neither the will or the power to enforce their own rules and ethical standards. Kenneth Starr can do whatever he wants and break the rules with impunity. And the courts are impotent and powerless to stop him.
So as long as I get this event into the media, I see no way that this isn't going to help America no matter how this lawsuit turns out or how my election turns out. When I filed to run for Congress, I told the public that my campaign was going to be meaningful and it didn't matter as much if I personally won or lost. Today I attempt to deliver on this promise. But I need the help of the public now. Put this lawsuit on television and this will change the course of history. The only way to lose this suit is if it's ignored.