Sunday, February 26, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune: Fundraising Efforts for Ogden Man Accused in Shootout Are Halted - Updated

So what about it, O Gentle Ones? Officious and robotic government action, or a another wrench, willfully thrown into Matthew Stewart's defense?

There's more breaking news in the 1/4/12 Ogden Shootings case, as the Salt Lake Tribune confirms last night's reader comment and reports that supporters of the defendent Matthew Stewart have "temporarily disabled donation functionality" on their recently established Help Matthew Stewart website. Here's the lede:
Fundraising efforts on a website dedicated to help Matthew David Stewart, who is accused of killing an officer and wounding five others in January, were stopped after his family learned they may be violating state law.

Stewart’s father, Michael Stewart, told The Salt Lake Tribune on Saturday he was surprised to receive a letter on Thursday from the Utah Division of Consumer Protection saying the family had to register for a permit with the state as a charity under the Charitable Solicitations Act. He said he didn’t know the family had been doing anything wrong.

“We don’t want to break the law,” Michael Stewart said, so the family took down the donation feature on their website — — and submitted an application for a permit on Friday, which cost him $100. He will also have to inform contributors their donations will not be tax-deductible.

Check out the full SL-Trib story here:
Stewart's supporters, still reeling from highly prejudicial misinformation leaks early in the case and from the discourteous treatment that their private attorney has received from the Weber County Attorney's prosecution team in recent weeks, understandably suspect the worst of government motives, as the latest wrinkle in this case now unfolds:
Family members previously planned to hold a yard sale and another was going to do photography to raise money for Matthew Stewart, but now Michael Stewart says he doesn’t know what the family can do without unknowingly violating some law.

“Does my sister need a permit for a garage sale to sell her junk to help my son?” he asked. “We’d like people to see outrage at the way things are being done here in Utah; it is not right. They are attacking us every way they can.”

So what about it, O Gentle Ones? Is this latest defense obstacle merely another illustration of an overly officious government bureau inadvertently and automatically set into robotic action by random citizen complainants? Or does it spell an intentional effort on the part of Utah government officials to throw another wrench into Matthew Stewart's defense, as some supporters of the herein defendant are beginning to suggest?

Update 2/27/12 6:00 a.m.: The Standard-Examiner is now carrying the story too:


Rhirhirose said...

Wow this story is very disheartening! Please let us know when its back up, I would like to donate.

Keisha said...

"Or does it spell an intentional effort on the part of Utah
government officials to throw another wrench into Matthew Stewart's
defense, as some supporters of Matthew Stewart are beginning to suggest?"

Just because they're getting paranoid, it doesn't mean the government isn't after them.

Bob Becker said...

If they're not claiming the donations are tax-deductible charitable donations, I'm hard put to understand why they need a licence to ask people to contribute to the family's legal costs.   I'm also wondering if the occasional appeals the papers print for people to donate to help a family, usually regarding a child, pay for a needed operation or medical care [this being the only nation in the industrialized western world in which such care is not provided as a matter of right to citizens], or to take part in auctions to raise the money, or attend a pot luck or donated-talent concert, also have gotten charitable solicitation licenses.

Perhaps they have.  I don't know. Just wondering. 

Smaatguy said...

anyone notice that the Standard Examiners selection on thier Epaper site has the selection of current issue and past issues....they both show a past issue headline....for quite some time is was the same for the current issue....cant remember what it was, but it was the same for quite some time....look at what they changed it to a few weeks ago...coincidence?

Dan S. said...

Bob, there are good reasons for the state to require registration of anyone who is soliciting contributions. The problem, unfortunately, is selective enforcement. They willfully turned a blind eye to Envision Ogden.

Bob Becker said...

[Off Topic]

If you can tear yourself away from Oscar Mania, the Trib reports there's another star show [sort of] tonight worth taking in:

As the Hollywood stars take the red carpet for Oscar night, another set of "stars" will take the stage in the evening sky.
Jupiter, Venus, Mercury and the crescent moon will align tonight in the western sky, seemingly drawing a line to the horizon. This will happen before the sun fully sets; a good viewing time is about 6 p.m.
The sliver moon will appear next to the brightly shining Jupiter, Venus will be just below it and then Mercury will appear just above the horizon....
The three planets will be the three brightest objects in the sky, and they will shine through urban lights, fog and even some clouds, according to Tony Phillips of NASA.

Full story here: 

Hammer said...

Supporters of Matthew Stewart Facebook page..Let your voice be known.

LukeGJDrivesAVW said...

It's a trap. They would be better off registering a .info site and selling exclusive baby photographs of Matt for $20, $50 or $100. Run it as a private business.

Pertinent Utah code (I added -> for emphasis):
(1) The division may make any investigation it considers necessary to determine whether any person is violating, has violated, or is about to violate any provision of this chapter or any rule made or order issued under this chapter. As part of the investigation, the division may:(a) require a person to file a statement in writing;(b) administer oaths, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance, take evidence, and examine under oath any person in connection with an investigation; and-> (c) require the production of any books, papers, documents, merchandise, or other material relevant to the investigation.

Hammer said...

 Very interesting!
Just so im reading this correctly, your saying it would be better to run the .info and private business so then you wouldn't need to tell the state who donated??
Therefore BY filling out the Charitable Donations paperwork, Michael would then have to divulge who donated and how much, it would be public record??

LukeGJDrivesAVW said...

I'm saying accept donations, but don't expect to get too many.

Separately, allow people to actually buy something for their money. Write Terms and Conditions + Privacy Policy to clearly define that this is a private business selling one-of-a-kind commemoratives.

Part c: convert the already-deposited funds into sales, or refund the already-collected money. Since this is a new PayPal account, the money likely hasn't hit the Stewarts' account yet.

Hammer said...

Why this is is even in question about our state government, speaks volumes...

I wonder if anything the state has done, and will do in this case will be honorable. 

Bob Becker said...

Again, do those organizing charity drives to help families with huge health care costs have to jump through these same hoops?  If not, Dan's comment about selective enforcement seems very much on point. 

Again, I don't know.  Just asking. 

LukeGJDrivesAVW said...

I'm not willing to find out whether the State will be honorable; anybody who's been harassed by a cop knows how deeply the authorities can sink a life when they're seeking perceived "retribution." If you're going to donate, be safe.

Go to the library or IP Address other than yours and set up a new PayPal account. Fund it anonymously, or semi-anonymously through Green Dot Moneypaks or other sources where you can turn cash into e-cash.

Dan S. said...

Bob, I suspect that if they got a complaint about such a charity drive, the Division of Consumer Protection would send a similar letter. And if they didn't receive a complaint, they'd do nothing. My impression is that they're lazy, in addition to being politically spineless. The applicable law is in Utah Code 13-22:

googlegirl said...

 John Stossel's Illegal Everything

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