Monday, March 05, 2007

PA Senator Mike Brubaker Caught Meeting with Dog Breeders in Parking Lot of Store: Then Attempts to Restrain and Intimidate Person Who Took Photos

The senator is now being sued for his and his associate’s aggressive actions when they realized they were caught on camera.

There’s a few concerns about this and why this is worth posting.

One, it shows how business is actually run – politicians meet with lobbyists and business heads in places where they think they can’t be seen. If they meet at their office it will be registered.

Money is what makes the final decision.

In this case, once caught, they actually attempted to restrain the woman who took the pictures, violating free speech rights and her right of movement and to be free of harm.

In essence, it’s all dirty business complete with buying votes, intimidation and attempted physical restraint. All crimes.


Animal-rights activist sues over encounter with Pa. state senator

By MARK SCOLFORO The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 03/03/2007 09:30:48 AM EST

EPHRATA, Pa. -- An advocate of tighter restrictions on dog kennels claimed Friday in a federal civil-rights lawsuit that a state senator and his aide intimidated her after she photographed them meeting with dog breeders in a convenience-store parking lot.

Barb Showalter, 41, of Denver, Pa., sued over a Monday encounter with Sen. Mike Brubaker, R-Lancaster, and Kristin Ebersole, executive director of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee that Brubaker chairs, outside a Turkey Hill store just off Route 222 in Ephrata.

Showalter claims Brubaker reacted to her taking pictures of participants in the gathering by trying to prevent her from driving away and that Ebersole pounded on her car window in an attempt to take her photos or camera.

Ebersole accused Showalter of exaggerating and called the allegations an "unfortunate" misunderstanding. Brubaker's office said the group assembled at the store for a fact-finding tour of dog kennels.

"In no way, shape or form was the senator trying to be threatening," Ebersole said

In the federal lawsuit mailed Friday to U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, Showalter alleges her rights under the U.S. Constitution related to free speech and search and seizure were violated.

The other defendants are four men who Brubaker and Ebersole were with at the store: Lancaster County kennel operators Nathan H. Myer and David W. Zimmerman, dog-industry lobbyist Kenneth E. Brandt and American Canine Association founder Bob Yarnall Jr.

The lawsuit accuses the four of violating Showalter's rights in allegedly concurring "that Brubaker and Ebersole should pursue (her) and presumably acquire her camera."

"She was there taking pictures," said Showalter's attorney, Don Bailey. "What are you going to chase somebody down for, block their car, beat on their windows? Obviously they wanted the pictures, and that's what blew the whole thing out of proportion."

Showalter said she purchased a disposable camera inside the store after recognizing people connected to the dog industry. She said she took several pictures, then locked herself inside her car as Brubaker and Ebersole approached.

Ebersole said they walked to Showalter -- whose name they recognized when someone else in their group identified her -- to introduce themselves, not to take her camera.

She said she tapped on Showalter's car window but did not hit the car aggressively. Brubaker did not try to prevent Showalter from leaving when he stood behind the car, Ebersole said.

Yarnall said Brubaker told him he thought Showalter might be with the news media and wanted to see if she had any questions.

"I would think it would have to be illegal to even put such a ridiculous lawsuit up," he said Friday by phone from California. Messages for Myer, Zimmerman and Brandt were not returned.

The Agriculture Department has proposed controversial new rules for larger kennels. Some people in the business of breeding and selling dogs have criticized the proposal as potentially too costly.

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