In 2000 Olson aided President Elect George Bush while David Boies argued for Gore. Each boldly represented hanging chads before the highest court in the land. Though the value of a chit of paper clinging desperately to parts of a round hole seems to be without party affiliation, some members of the gay community have wondered aloud whether or not Mr. Olson could be trusted at all. Perhaps as a sign of good will for having worked for Reagan and Bush and for being involved in the Defense of Marriage Act passed under President Clinton, Olson contritely mentioned that his firm is contributing resources pro-bono.
All sincerity aside, following the money is entertaining if not mildly disturbing. What's disturbing is that neither Olson nor Boies were inclined to mention their funding sources. The American Foundation for Equal Rights, the organization that joined each man in this miraculous union of legal talent, came into existence virtually on the day these two announced their wedding of interests in filing for an appeal and an injunction in federal court. Not a sponsor, board member, organizational affiliation, or media contact was available online for this very high profile, highly idealistic, altruistic and publically concerned organization. Seeming unnamed funding sources can tie up taxpayer money and high court dockets endlessly without revealing any information publically. Maybe the Red Chinese are funding the whole thing just to get their jollies on U-tube. What else are they going to do with all those American dollars they've squirreled away –buy Hummer? Only in America.
The entertaining part is the seemingly innocuous involvement in a one time Clinton fundraiser, Chadd Griffin, who registered the American Foundation for Equal Rights website and serves as AFER's president. Finally, on May 27th one of AFER's press releases finally named Griffin/Schake as a press contact, but still no donars were forthcoming.
Chad himself has made the maximum legal donations to the appropriate Democratic candidates, but he is plainly not the major funding source. It's generally assumed that Olson commands over $1,000 an hour for Supreme Court work. Similar contributions from Chad on an annual basis won't cover even the first day of this appeal. Griffin, though, has connections. He was named “man of the year” for being the executive producer (the financer, or representative for the financer) of Outrage, a gay rights sensitive movie demanding gay politicians openly oppose Proposition 8. He was also able to tap Brad Pitt and Steve Bling for over a half a million dollars to oppose Proposition 8. All of this is mildly entertaining because of the way Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs floundered when questioned about the President's positions on gay marriage. Is all of this a palace coup in which Hillary Clinton seeks to score points with Democratic insiders and fundraisers by highlighting Obama's unwillingness to lead in the arena of gay marriage?
That there are some sort of political machinations involved is evident because the ACLU and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the two primary legal groups involved in “defending gay rights,” were left out of the loop. The Democratic side of the conspiracy is obvious and entertaining, but the secrecy may devolve from the right. Dick Cheney recently told Fox News, while daughter Liz sat smiling, that he wants Liz to embark upon a career in politics. Seeing gay marriage become “constitutional” could remove barriers from Liz, if her politics are like her fathers. Cheney's view on gay marriage has been influenced by his youngest daughter Mary who is openly gay.
Californians who believe sane government must recognize the meaning of words fundamental to its laws: words like life, liberty, honesty, property, contract and, yes, marriage had Jerry Brown representing them before the California Supreme Court on Proposition 22. Hence, if other Californians fear that a fifth columnist lawyer has invaded their ranks to lose the case, it is understandable. For them the secrecy behind Boies and Olson's money must be especially troubling.
There are things that people should not do for money, even lawyers. It is one thing to send men and women into harm's way in far off lands because you would do anything to protect your family. America's leaders ought to be at least as committed to this country as were its founding fathers. They should be willing to pledge their lown ives, their own fortunes, and their sacred honor for this land, before sending men to war. Still, lesser men who seek only to protect their own lives, fortunes, and family name can still make sound decisions for this land. On the other hand, if Olson advocates a case that he knows will empower courts distant from the people to micro manage even the definition of the most natural of our relationships and the one most pivotal for the future of a free people, and if he advocates such for money alone, he should be more than ashamed.Tweet