The Licking News
In a lawsuit filed by the Freedom Center of Missouri, Edgar Springs resident Rebecca Varney is fighting the city for the right to go to City Hall. The lawsuit stems from a notice Varney received saying that she would be cited for trespassing if she returned to City Hall.
“If government is mismanaging or abusing its authority, the people need to know,” said Varney. “I led a successful petition drive for an audit that exposed all kinds of problems and I spent many days at City Hall exercising my right to review public records so I could inform the community about what the City was doing.”
According to the Freedom Center, “The City’s actions against Varney implicate a broad array of constitutional and legal concerns. Courts have long held that governments may not retaliate against citizens simply because they are exercising constitutional liberties, such as the freedom of expression or the right to petition government officials for redress of grievances. Missouri law also guarantees citizens the right to personally inspect public records – indeed, the law says that an official who denies a citizen that right has committed a misdemeanor and is ‘subject to removal or impeachment.’ Furthermore, the way in which Edgar Springs has singled Varney out for punishment denies her equal protection of the laws and violates her right to due process.”
“Citizens must be free not only to investigate what the government is doing in their name and with their taxpayer dollars, but also to share their findings without fear of retaliation,” Roland said. “The Freedom Center is standing with Ms. Varney in order to prove once and for all that when the government violates your rights you can, indeed, fight City Hall.”