Thursday, August 11, 2011

ACLU's Gay ED Romero
Hid Drunk Driving Arrest

The author of an excellent piece over at the Atlantic by Wendy Kaminer, who has history, as we say, with the ACLU, fully disclosed by her, lays out the latest problems with out gay Anthony Romero's stewardship as executive director of the organization and they are serious.

Good for her, placing his drunk driving arrest in the larger framework of government transparency:

"Out-of-control secrecy is a serious disease that is hurting American democracy," the ACLU rightly declared last month, introducing an important new report on the vast and secretive national security state.

But the ACLU's opposition to government secrecy is selective: It has yet to complain about the reported failure of the East Hampton police to disclose DWI charges against ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero [picture] in what the New York Post calls its "weekly press release package that includes details of every DWI charge." 

The Post reports that Romero was pulled over for "careening into oncoming traffic" back on June 26th; he refused a Breathalyzer and reportedly "stalled for time" when asked for his ID. (You can find additional details here.) He is due in court today, August 11. Why was this charge not included in a weekly press release of DWI charges? According to the Post, "police said they 'inadvertently' omitted" it. Whatever.

You might expect an organization advocating for government transparency (including a transparent criminal justice system) to consider a DWI charge a public matter; you might even expect the ACLU Executive Director to inform national board members of his drunk driving charge and pending court date. ...

While this arrest and omission by the local police from public records are much more serious than GLAAD having its latest IRS 990 available for public inspection for two weeks, and not voluntarily posting the filing on their financial info page, there are a few areas that unite the two episodes.

The issue with both situations is gay executive directors at major nonprofits actively withheld crucial public records from the public, and only got around to disclosing the arrest or posting the tax filing when forced to by the press or this pushy blogger. What we see from the organizations is a failure to err on the side of more disclosure, and they pay a price for such nonsense.

If Romero divulged his DUI troubles back when they happened, he would have received a degree of sympathy because he was arrested after having celebrated too much the legalizing of gay marriage in New York and the focus would have been on his drinking.

But now, due to his lack of transparency principles, the issue is on his questionable behavior and silence after the Long Island incident and whatever sympathy he may have had back in June for a simple DUI case, has vanished.

The ACLU and GLAAD should be very closely scrutinized in coming days, and more questions raised about the leadership qualities of the executives and board members. There can never be enough accountability demanded from these groups.


Anonymous said...


Michael said...

no need to shout. turn off the all caps, next time, please. romero and his lawyer asked for a postponement and it was granted by the judge. his next court appearance is in early october. let's see what happens then.