WE STOOD UP TO A BILLIONAIRE POLITICAL DONOR WITH A RECORD OF INTIMIDATING JOURNALIST AND WE WON!

Oct 9, 2015 by

We stood up to a billionaire political donor with a record of intimidating journalists and we won. On Tuesday, a judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by Frank VanderSloot against Mother Jones.

It’s a monumental victory, and a big blow to those who try to use their power to silence the media. But the two and a half year legal onslaught has also dealt a big blow to our budget. Fighting back—and winning—has cost us and our insurer at least $2.5 million and left us with $650,000 in out-of-pocket legal bills.

There’s a lot to bring you up to speed on, so please read this all the way to the bottom and make an emergency, tax-deductible donation to Mother Jones.

MAKE YOUR EMERGENCY GIFT

In February 2012, we published a story about how the Citizens United decision allowed wealthy contributors like VanderSloot—then a national finance co-chair for the Romney campaign—to drastically increase their political spending. Our story also covered the unusual lengths VanderSloot had gone to oppose LGBT rights in Idaho, and it touched on his company’s run-ins with regulators. Voters need to know who’s funding campaigns, and it’s our duty to report it.

VanderSloot’s lawyers sent us a letter complaining about the piece. In the past, big news organizations like Forbes have taken down stories in response to his complaints. But we wouldn’t—so nearly a year later, VanderSloot sued Mother Jones, as well as one of our reporters and me personally.

The lawsuit was filed one day before the statute of limitations expired, and it asked for $1 less than the amount that would have allowed the case to be moved out of VanderSloot’s local court in Idaho Falls.

People have asked us whether we think the lawsuit was connected to the story we broke about Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” video, which many argue cost the GOP the 2012 election. The honest answer is: we have no idea. But we do know that the aggressive legal assault by VanderSloot consumed a good part of the last two and a half years, and it cost us and our insurer at least $2.5 million.

We also know that it was a classic case of the wealthy using their power to try to control the media. But Mother Jones would not back down, even when faced with a drawn-out lawsuit and huge legal fees. Hell no.

MAKE YOUR TAX-DEDUCTIBLE GIFT

Related Posts

Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *