Carol Wentz Violates My First Amendment Rights
This woman has violated my right to free speech by declaring, after the fact, that her conversation with me at a public event on January 26, 2008 disclosing her blogging identity, is off the record. This is insane because she made no attempt to blog privately, anonymously, or confidentially until AFTER I wrote this article. I then discovered, via my site traffic reporting, that she was claiming I had "outed" her blogging identity as Cats R Flyfishn. She even notified her own blog readers I did this and linked to the article. She then incited them to come after me, specifically someone she called "Bear."
Carol Wentz is an elected public official. She is the Democratic Committeewoman for Pike Township, Berks County and the Democrats in that township are her constituents. She also serves as Regional Chair of the Berks County (PA) Democratic Committee. Her husband Lou Wentz is the elected Committee man and immediate past Regional Chair. He stepped down from the position after accepting employment for a non profit organization in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
I hav ebeen informed by legal counsel I have virtually no rights to sue her under law because I am also an elected public official. Same posiiton as she though she actually is MY regional Chair. Typepad however deems she is not an elected public official under the law which prescibes no expectation of privacy for public officials. As such no blogger should rely on Typepad to protect their First Amendment rights. It means Typepad does not allow you to use the names of elected public officials or legitimate, open sources. I recommend no one use Typepad's blog hosting services.
Typepad then took a fallback position claiming I had "outed" Carol Wentz's confidential blogging indentity. This presumes she ever had one which she did not. She has since "cleansed" both Pennsylvania For Change and TP Zoo of all the open biographical information which clearly indicated her identity to anyone with even a passing familiarity with either her or her husband.
The Wentz's are heavy into fishing. Lou's email address even ends in PAtrout.org. After Carol volunteered the information to me and two others on January 26th that she was blogging at TP Zoo I went to the blog and immediately discovered her under the name Cats R Flyfishn. I bet it took me five seconds. She revealed a considerable amount of personal information about herself in her articles (since deleted) and made no effort to conceal her identity.
Carol Wentz was no more a confidential blogger than I. Her attempts to lie about this and cleanse these two blogs of incriminating evidence is unethical. Her accusations against me have been false and defamatory, done with malice aforethought. When Carol created Pennsylvania For Change she sent the following email to 200 other Obama volunteers in the group Berks For Obama: (I have deleted personal information)
From: Carol WentzDate: March 11, 2008 6:24:13 AM EDTTo: Berks for Obama <BerksforObama@groups.barackobama.com>Subject: [BerksforObama] Re: 1-page Obama flyersReply-To:Hi Everyone,I was just informed that the Clinton Campaign is paying an owner of alocal blog to post threads supporting her. As a means to counter-actthis "paid" blog, I would like to create ablog that supportsObama. Wordpress offers a free blog. I was thinking of calling theblog "Pennsylvaniaforchange" or Democratsforchange. Let me know yourthoughts about the name and I would welcome any other name suggestions,something that will get hits when people search on Also, let.me know if you are interested in being an editor to the blog so that Ican add your name to the account. Anyone will be allowed to postcomments. Discussion threads will need to be managed. Let's show PAandthat Clinton has to pay for a blog and Obama gets hisfor "free".Carol WentzOn Mar 10, 2008, at 7:50 PM, Barath Raghavan wrote:Hi all,I'm out of state, but I've put together several 1-page flyers (somemeant to be double-sided) that have been used in many other states andwanted to pass them on to you all.The goal here is to show people hard facts that Obama has the recordto back up his rhetoric, something his opponents and the media want totrick the voters about.The first flyer is on Obama's government reform work and his uniquebipartisan work. These aren't bread and butter issues, but you can'tbake bread with a broken oven. On the back is a summary of Obama'sstate senate work. (Open these PDFs in the latest AcrobatReader, especially on a Mac - otherwise they may appear garbled.)Next is a nicely formatted version of Obama's 2002 speech on thewar, which lets Obama's own words make clear his judgment onandhis deep understanding of foreign policy. (On the back of the sheetis the (much longer) plan to leave, which of course reminds usthat an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.)Next is a flyer I made for the Iowa caucuses, to get 2nd choicesupporters (from Biden, Dodd, Richardson, and Kucinich):Hope these are useful to you when you're knocking on doors or tabling.Finally, I have a few links I've put together. The first is aboutObama's legislation that created www.USAspending.gov - the site thatlets us see every dime of federal spending - more than $17 trilliondollars of it. Obama has been a leader in holding our governmentaccountable, and this is just one of many examples:And an archive of miscellaneous links about Obama:Feel free to pass this on to anyone you think would find it useful.-Barath-------------------------------------------------------------------------This email was sent to 157 members of Berks for ObamaListserv email address: BerksforObama@groups.barackobama.com
This email was also sent out promoting Carol's new blog:
From:Date: March 11, 2008 9:27:22 PM EDTTo: Berks for Obama <BerksforObama@groups.barackobama.com>Subject: [BerksforObama] Updates; Pottstown Events; New BlogReply-To:
This email was sent to 159 members of Berks for Obama
Listserv email address: BerksforObama@groups.barackobama.com
Now for a reality check. I was never hired as a blogger for Hillary For President. No one has ever hired me to blog for them. I was hired as a consultant by Tom Caltagirone, Chair of Berks County For Hillary, a fact I disclosed on my blog five days before I was actually hired or paid. Carol Wentz accused me of not disclosing this fact when, in fact, I had.
Carol also sent me this incriminating email. Ironically she titled it "Facts:"
From: Carol Wentz
Date: Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 5:58 PM
To: John Morgan
I just read your through your thread several times and you have made non-factual public statements about me and you exposed my name which you found through my email address that is linked to your blog which has now placed me in a potentially dangerous situation. I consider your public remarks to be slanderous and unless you retract your untruths, I will be contacting my attorney. I will also submit any names of bloggers that have provided support to your slander of my name. You have admitted in the beginning of March that the Clinton campaign hired you as a "consultant" and now you are denying this.
And by the way, it was a very dear friend of yours that told me that the Clinton campaign hired you.
All further correspondence will be through my attorney.
For the record I didn't obtain her blogging name and identity through any email or comment she left at my blog. I got it directly from her, on the record, on January 26, 2008 when she told it to three of us. Everything I wrote about her is provable and her own writers confirmed what I wrote in their own comments posted in the article.
She agian, accuses me of being hired as a consultant by Hillary For President which is untrue. Federal Elections Reports due this week will confirm this easily verifiable fact. This email confirms she used hearsay gossip to slander me. I never told anyone I was hired bu Hillary because I had not.
Now here's the worst part. After Carol left a comment on my blog falsely accusing me of these things, defaming me on my own website, I emailed her with the actual facts. The next morning she distributed an email again making these false accusations. That proves malice.
Typepad has upheld her ridiculous complaint and has proven it cannot be trusted as a host company for serious bloggers. It even goes against this policy as secured by my fellow writer Kirk Wentzel:
I was thinking about starting a blog that would cater to local politics but I had a question about your terms of service. Is it permitted to publish the names, public office addresses and office phone numbers for elected or appointed local (city, couty and state) public political officials.
For example, can I write an opinion article about our Mayor and say "Call Mayor X at his office xxx-xxx-xxxx and express your opinion). Keep in mind please that this is a publically avaialbe phone number published in the phone book and on the City's website.
Your privacy terms are somewhat less specific that other blog hosting companies terms are and so we though it might be good to check before we start this venture.
Thanks in advance!
K Ashton Wentzel
Their reply to this:
You can read our Terms of Service online. Because of the size of our user base, we are not able to police or pre-approve content before it goes up. Instead, we only remove content if we receive information that the content is illegal. This would include if it is in violation of copyright or if a court has found it to be illegal for any of the reasons listed in our Terms of Service.
Please note, however, that we are very strict regarding any type of child pornography and we fully investigate all reports of this.
Six Apart, Ltd.
Then Kirk responds:
I have read your terms of service and your privacy section is not very clear which is why I asked the question. Do you have objection to bloggers publishing the names of public officials (elected and appointed) along with theiir official office addresses and phone numbers...NOT their home numbers or addresses.
If you cannot answer that specific question, please just say the you refuse to answer the questions. Your terms of service does not address that question. If it did, I wouldn't be asking.
I am glad that you investigate child pronography...it's disgusting, why you chose to address that specific item in regard to my question is, however, somewhat of a mystery.
And Typepad answers:
Thanks for the note. It should be fine to post their official addresses and phone numbers on your weblog.
Please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you.
That’s helpful. We already assume there is never a problem publishing a public official’s name even if the official would file a complaint, public official’s names are, by definition are ‘public’. Ifholds a different view then please let me know otherwise we will assume the federal court ruling on that subject is the standard you adhere to.
Sorry for all the questions but we want to be sure we don’t do anything wrong by accident and create a problem. I’m sure you understand.
Thanks for the note. As I mentioned, you should be fine with mentioning only official information, but please let us know if you need anything else.