By NARSOL . . . An individual who lives in California has made false statements about NARSOL on Twitter regarding funds we solicited for a challenge to International Megan’s Law (IML) nearly three years ago. Despite receiving credible reports of similar false statements made about NARSOL by members of the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL, formerly an affiliate as CA-RSOL) pertaining to IML, NARSOL has chosen to remain silent in an effort to preserve unity between the organizations. But due to this recent escalation on social media, NARSOL’s Board of Directors has decided to set the record straight.
The tweet, which was posted in response to one of our supporters encouraging donations to NARSOL for legal challenges, said:
NARSOL doesn’t file legal challenges, they merely collect the funds, then sit on it, saying that it will be difficult to win. Look at IML. They collected funds (supposed to be given to Janice in CA), and STILL no lawsuit filed by NARSOL. Yet Janice has filed 2, and will continue.
Here are the facts:
Early in 2016, NARSOL received some funds that were intended to be utilized for an IML challenge. In fact, NARSOL permitted Janice Bellucci, who was our California affiliate leader at the time, to attend two conference calls to discuss her vision of the challenge she planned to file and to make a direct appeal to our donors.
The tweet captioned above is correct in that NARSOL collected donations designated for an IML challenge that were never transmitted to Ms. Bellucci. However, what was omitted is the reason. Ms. Bellucci and the ACSOL board refused to sign a legal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NARSOL. After this refusal, inaccurate statements began to circulate regarding the details of the proposed MOU. NARSOL is prepared to make the full email exchange between it and Ms. Bellucci available to any person who has contributed to NARSOL specifically for IML.
Signing an MOU is an accepted practice with impact litigation. In fact, NARSOL has used the MOU model with the ACLU and other private attorneys. Federal civil rights complaints filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 permit the prevailing party to recover attorney’s fees and other case-related costs. Without an MOU, the attorney(s) could potentially pocket NARSOL’s funds as well as those recovered as the prevailing party, which would constitute an unjust enrichment to the attorney representing the plaintiffs.
NARSOL’s MOU model permits it to have a revolving litigation fund because its portion of your donations are returned if the litigation is successful. The attorney is fairly compensated for his or her efforts, and NARSOL is able to reinvest the generous contributions of donors into future litigation efforts. A win-win.
The funds NARSOL collected for IML are still intact; not a penny of it has been spent. We immediately, as soon as we realized that we would not be entering into an arrangement with ACSOL, contacted the donors of large amounts informing them of the situation and asking if they would like their donation refunded. Not one donor asked for this.
NARSOL has held off initiating an IML challenge to permit Ms. Bellucci’s two challenges to work their way through the legal system. Both have been dismissed for various reasons which we do not address here.
However, NARSOL is now seriously considering a legal challenge narrowly focused on the 21-day advance notice requirement. But we want it to be clear that a NARSOL IML lawsuit is not imminent until all relevant factors have been thoroughly vetted by our experienced legal team.
In view of the accusations made regarding our integrity, NARSOL’s board of directors has authorized a full refund to any previous IML donor who feels that we have not moved quickly enough.
NARSOL values its donors and will not launch litigation merely to be able to say we have filed a lawsuit. NARSOL will launch the litigation when all the pieces are in place and its legal team of attorneys believe we have a reasonable chance of success.
Based on this experience, NARSOL will not seek to raise funds for a specific case until an agreement has been reached with an attorney(s), in advance, regarding a reasonable return of our portion of the funding if the case is successful.