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New York AG office warns ACLU not to limit board members' speech

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website] confirmed Monday that a lawyer working for the New York attorney general's office [official website] informally warned the ACLU executive committee not to adopt proposed standards limiting ACLU board members from publicly speaking about their internal policies. The ACLU board met over the weekend [NYT report] to discuss the proposal, but took no action. The executive committee, however, did not tell the board about the warning from Eliot Spitzer's office and several board members complained that they could have run into trouble with Spitzer's office if the proposed standards had been passed. ACLU board president Nadine Strossen [ACLU profile] confirmed that someone in the state attorney general's office had contacted the ACLU, but countered that those "details were not germane to the board's general discussion of the issues raised."

Though declining to speak directly about the proposed standards, the assistant attorney general in charge of the New York charities bureau, Gerald Rosenberg admitted that he would be concerned if any nonprofit organization implemented policies restricting the board's ability to speak about internal policies. Stephanie Strom of the New York Times has more.

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