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JULTA A, OFENBAKH, NBA BROOKE J. THOMPSON KYLE A. VON JOHNSON Attorney at Law Attorney at Laws, Mediator Attorney at Law, Mediator July 15, 2019 Senator Claire Celsi 1007 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50319 Dear Senator Celsi, Please be advised that I represent the Libertarian Party of Iowa. Our Party has been contacted by several of your constituents who report that you have blocked them on Twitter and/or from your public email account. The following is a list of those constituents. I strongly encourage you to cease and desist this unconstitutional behavior by unblocking them and any other Iowans you may have blocked, by Wednesday, July 17, 2019, at 5:00 pm to avoid further legal action, I have included their Twitter handles for your convenience. - Eugene Nassif (@EugeneNassif) - Reed Schwarek (@midwestreed) - Michael Dinos (@mrmiked42) - Aaron Smith (@aaronmillmind) ~ Danny Even (@DannyEven) = William Gray (@Swampfox46) - Tom Halterman (@TomHalterman) - Nate Martin (@skids89) - Jason Rumley (@Jasonrumley_) - Joseph Howe (@chairmanhowe) As you may be aware, blocking constituents from commenting in a public forum violates state and federal law. See Campbell v. Reisch, 367 F. Supp. 3d 987 (W.D. Mo., 2019). It also demonstrates character that dishonors the public office you hold. In the Iowa Constitution (a document you swore to uphold), Section 7 of the Bill of Rights guaranteed to all Iowa citizens states: Liberty of speech and press. Every person may speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right. No law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech, or of the press. In all prosecutions or indictments for libel, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury, and if it appears to the jury that the matter charged as libelous was true, and ‘was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted. www.lowaDefenders.com P:515.868.0088 . F:515.963.5370 . 2183 86th Street, Suite C Clive, lowa 50325 Further, not only does the Iowa Constitution provide for free exercise of written and published expression of sentiment, but it protects this expression in a public forum. The latest federal case regarding this issue ruled that President Trump was not permitted to block Twitter users from his account. See Knight First Amendment Inst. at Columbia Univ. v. Trump, 2019 USS. App. LEXIS 20265 (2d Cir. N.Y., July 9, 2019). While this may be a 2 Circuit case, given Jowa’s long history of upholding its citizen’s First Amendment rights, I have every confidence that were this issue to be litigated, the same ruling would be upheld in this state, See State v. Fratzke, 446 N.W.2d 781, 784 (Iowa 1989) (Protesting governmental action is a legitimate purpose, and “Such restraint on free speech can only be justified in the case of ‘fighting words,’ a narrowly defined exception to the first amendment...”); Campbell v. Reisch, 367 F. Supp. 3d 987 (W.D. Mo., 2019) (“Similarly, this Court believes that the public forum doctrine applies to [Defendant's] Twitter account. In particular, the Court finds convincing the rationale in Knight that the interactive space following each tweet in which other users may directly interact with the content of the tweets is subject to forum analysis.”) Not only is your social media presence considered a public forum, but in addition, your personal website (https://www.clairediowa.com) states: “Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have a problem or a question — or to voice your support or opposition to a bill before the Jowa Senate.” It is disingenuous to publicly state that your constituents may contact you to voice their support or opposition only to take away their ability to do so on social media. It would be utterly shameful if the purpose of blocking constituents from your social media accounts or email was simply because they disagree with you. When you were elected, you gained the title of “public servant.” Your job is to be the voice in our state government for your constituents. When you choose not to listen to all the voices of your constituents, you fail to serve the public. Given your consistent history of silencing your constituents, it appears you are merely serving yourself and those with whom you agree. Thank you for your attention to the above. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Julia A. Ofenbakh, JD, MBA. Attorney at Law