STAND CNJ/Indivisible Princeton and other NJ Grassroots Groups Issue Joint CTA for Rep. Frelinghuysen Ethics Investigation
U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-R), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, recently sent a fundraising letter to a board member of Lakeland Bank in which he identified “highly organized” protesters as a threat to his campaign. In a handwritten postscript, he singled out Saily Avelenda, a member of a local citizen group: “One of the ring leaders works in your bank!”
We strongly object to a member of Congress calling out a constituent to her employer for exercising her First Amendment rights. In a strong democracy, citizens must be free to engage in vigorous debate, both with one another and with their elected officials, without fear of retaliation. Rep. Frelinghuysen’s egregious interference, as demonstrated with his letter, violates the spirit of the First Amendment, which protects free speech.
We, the undersigned, represent New Jersey citizens who are deeply concerned about Rep. Frelinghuysen’s actions, and we are not alone. The Campaign for Accountability has filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics. We support the call for an investigation to determine whether Rep. Frelinghuysen violated House ethics rules by using his position to intimidate a citizen exercising her constitutionally guaranteed rights. No American should fear intimidation by an elected official for expressing his or her views.
Elizabeth Meyer – founder/lead organizer, The Women’s March on NJ and the NJ March for Science
Indivisible NJ 4th District
NJ 3rd Congressional District Action Group
NJ Working Families Alliance
STAND Central New Jersey
For more on this issue and the call for an ethics review of Rep. Frelinghuysen’s behavior: