March 30 2005, 11:25 AM
When President Bush came to to Denver last week to promote his social security plan, tickets were made available at no cost through the office of Congressman Bob Beauprez. Three people who obtained their tickets through the Congressman's office attended, and while sitting in their seats, waiting for the President, they were confronted by a man who asked them to leave and steered them to the exit.
The three people said the man wore a lapel pin and an earpiece, and they were told he was with the Secret Service.The Secret Service is now investigating, and it appears they were asked to leave because they arrived at the rally in a vehicle bearing a "No More Blood for Oil" bumpersticker.
The Secret Service had nothing to do with that," said Lon Garner, special agent in charge of the Secret Service district office in Denver. "We are very sensitive to the First Amendment and general assembly rights as protected by the Constitution."So who did ask them to leave? Garner says the three appeared confused as to who asked them to leave. The three say that Garner told them it was a Republican staffer who told them to leave. Apparently, their lawyer, Dan Recht, is not confused as he said he may bring a lawsuit charging a violation of his clients' First Amendment rights. Dan, you may recall, did a yeoman's job defending the Tattered Cover against a subpoena for a customer 's records of book purchases in a police methamphetamine investigation. The three are identified as: Alex Young, 25, an Internet technology worker from Denver; Leslie Weise, a Denver lawyer; and Karen Bauer, a Denver marketing coordinator. They are members of a political activism group called Denver Progressives, and were dressed in business attire, underneath which they wore t-shirts that said "Stop the Lies." Recht said the t-shirts weren't an issue.
"They hadn't done anything wrong. They weren't dressed inappropriately, they didn't say anything inappropriate," Recht said. "They were kicked out of this venue and not allowed to hear what the president had to say based solely on this political bumper sticker.You can read what happened to the three in their own words at Daily Kos, as they sent the blog this detailed email. Markos, the site's creator and principal author, writes:
[T]he White House uses taxpayer dollars to finance these propaganda events. THEN, in order to keep out anyone who might be critical, they "outsource" ticketing and security. That way they can label the events "private" and kick out anyone they want in violation of the First Amendment. Who in Congress will step up and call for an investigation?