Lawyer wants LCB decision banning column overturned
HARRISBURG — An attorney with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is asking Gov. Tom Corbett to overturn the board's ruling that he cannot write a liquor law column for The Legal Intelligencer.
Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, 28, filed an appeal on Friday with Corbett's Office of Administration saying the LCB denying him permission to pen a quarterly column for the Philadelphia-based law journal violates his free-speech rights.
“Our First Amendment rights, especially freedom of speech, cannot be abridged by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board or any other government agency simply because the PLCB may disagree with our personal views or is fearful that we may say something they don't like,” his appeal states.
The LCB declined to comment, calling it a personnel matter.
Kennedy-Shaffer, a Harrisburg resident who has worked as an LCB assistant counsel for nearly two years, won an appeal against the LCB last year that allowed him to continue working with Harrisburg Hope, a grassroots community group he founded.
Kennedy-Shaffer said he responded to an open call from The Legal Intelligencer for lawyers to pitch a column that focused on their area of legal expertise. He would not be paid to write the columns.
But the LCB said in its June 19 denial that the column would conflict with Kennedy-Shaffer's job responsibilities and could breach attorney-client privilege.
Furthermore, the LCB said, “Any column authored by you regarding liquor law matters could be confused as an advisory opinion issued by the board.”
The letter states Kennedy-Shaffer must submit a sworn affidavit that he has stopped writing the column or he must resign from the agency.
“The options given in the denial letter are shocking,” Kennedy-Shaffer said. No column has been published, but he said his first will give a brief history of the LCB from Prohibition to the present.
Dan Egan, a spokesman for the governor's Office of Administration, said the office is reviewing the appeal.
Kennedy-Shaffer said he notified the LCB as a courtesy. He said he's not required to get permission for the work because he won't be compensated and is not employed by The Legal Intelligencer.
“This really shouldn't be a big deal. Most employers would be proud of one of their attorneys writing for The Legal Intelligencer on a voluntary basis,” he said.
Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Kari Andren to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Retired LCB official, expected to plead guilty to kickbacks, stands to lose $52K pension
- Casey, Coons become 32nd, 33rd senators to back nuclear deal with Iran
- Judge OKs gender surgery for 48-year-old called mentally incompetent by parents
- Bishop’s ex-assistant in Venango charged with Lutheran synod thefts
- Ex-LCB official Short to plead guilty to soliciting, concealing kickbacks from vendors
- Potential suspension of Pennsylvania AG’s license unusual
- Conneaut Lake Park wants to sell some land