The Maryland office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is demanding more details about an alleged “enemies list” held by Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold, and accused him of violating the First Amendment.
The ACLU said Wednesday in a press release that it has lodged a public information request to both the county executive and Anne Arundel County Police Department, and plan to send a letter to the County Council requesting an investigation.
Friday on charges that he used his security detail improperly to conduct personal business and The indictment includes allegations that he instructed members of his security detail to produce dossiers on his political challengers—including , his Democratic opponent in the race for county executive, and Carl Snowden, the director of the Office of Civil Rights for the Maryland Attorney General.
The ACLU said it lodged its request for information on behalf of Snowden.
"If this could happen to a public-minded official like Carl Snowden—the State's appointed guardian of civil rights—who else might be caught up in Mr. Leopold's political dragnet?" said Deborah Jeon, legal director for the ACLU in Maryland, in a press release.
Snowden said in the release that it was “vital” that alleged enemies list be published in its entirety and that the public learn the contents of the dossiers.
“The public has a right to know how many people were included on Leopold's list, what information was placed in the dossiers, as well as who in the county administration knew about this list,” Snowden said.
The ACLU said any use of police officers to investigate political opponents would be a violation of the Freedom of Association and Assembly Protection Act of 2009. The law is designed to prevent law enforcement from collecting information about a person unless it is connected to a specific crime.
Many citizens as well as the police unions in Anne Arundel County have called for Leopold to resign, but he has not indicated that he will do so. The police unions Wednesday gave a unanimous vote of "no-confidence" against Leopold.
Leopold has said it would be inappropriate to comment on the specifics of the allegations, but asked the public to reserve judgment.