FEBRUARY 19 — The Heartland Institute has sent legal notices to numerous Web sites, blogs, and publications asking them to take down the stolen and forged documents and what it views as malicious and false commentary based on them.
The following statement by Heartland Institute President Joseph L. Bast may be used for attribution. For more information, contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at email@example.com or 312-377-4000.
“We realize this will be portrayed by some as a heavy-handed threat to free speech. But the First Amendment doesn’t protect Internet fraud, and there is no right to defamatory speech.
“For 28 years, The Heartland Institute has engaged in fierce debates over a wide range of public policies – school reform, health care, telecommunications policy, corporate subsidies, and government waste and fraud, as well as environmental policy. We frequently and happily engage in vigorous, robust debate with those who disagree with our views.
“We have resorted in the past to legal means only in a very few cases involving outright fraud and defamation. The current situation clearly fits that description, and our legal counsel has advised that the first step in defending ourselves should be to ask the blogs to take down the stolen and forged documents.”