Almost a year after Black organizers were doxxed by the former mayor, several Twitter users called out a white St. Louis attorney for attacks on Action St. Louis, a grassroots racial justice organization, and its staff.
In a series of tweets, Jane Dueker accused Action St. Louis, and executive director Kayla Reed, of engaging in nefarious and potentially unethical activity.
Dueker also posted the organization’s filing without redacting seemingly personal information. Reed confirmed that her personal information, along with that of some of her staff, had, in fact, been revealed online.
Identified in the media as both a lobbyist and legal representative for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, Dueker’s actions fall within a larger battle of a system fighting to protect itself in the face of forward-moving change.
Dueker’s actions came a day after Action St. Louis called for St. Louis residents to contact Lewis Reed, president of the Board of Alderman, demanding that he introduce legislation that would allocate federal funding to support community needs.
Deuker’s online attack was eerily familiar. In the middle of last summer’s racial justice uprising, former St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson read the names and addresses of demonstrators who supported defunding the police during a Facebook live. The move drew major blowback from the community at large.
Despite Dueker’s claim to be concerned about ethics, she continued to double down on her doxxing. Twitter considers the purpose of the sharing, whether it’s being done in an abusive manner, and what type of information is being shared. Even if it is publicly available, Twitter notes that it may take action if a home address is shared because of the potential for harm.
Twitter user PublicEthicSTL broke down the misinformation being spread by Dueker in a thread, explaining in part that merely the existence of these organizational formations alone is not evidence of unethical or illegal coordination.
In various Tweets, Dueker insinuated that Reed’s canvassing during the recent mayoral election for Action St. Louis Power Project could not have actually been independent because Reed was later appointed to a position within Mayor Tishaura Jones’ transition team. She took issue with the use of non-profit organizations for organizing work and made other misleading claims about the organizations possibly not being IRS compliant.
Except that’s not how things work. An individual isn’t retroactively denied independent agency because of a position that is later created. Also, having two affiliated organizations, one a 501(c)(3) and the other a 501(c)(4), is a common practice of many civic engagement organizations that work to engage communities.
Civil rights attorney and government transparency advocate Elad Gross also corrected the misinformation shared about Action St. Louis. While Gross advises non-profit organizations to engage in what he believes are transparent practices around disclosing donors, he highlights the differences between reality and what Deuker and others parroting her get wrong.
A member organization within the Movement for Black Lives, Action St. Louis is one of three lead organizations within the “Close the Workhouse” campaign, working alongside Arch City Defense and the Bail Project St. An article from the Missouri Independent explored the growth of movement organizing and the shift in political power in the nearly seven years since Michael Brown was murdered.
St. Louis has been undergoing a political transformation over the past seven years. In the aftermath of Michael Brown’s killing, organizers moved from the streets to directly engage the political process flipping two prosecutors, several Board of Alderman seats, and winning a mayoral election.
Transformative change can be threatening for those who benefit from upholding the status quo, as evidenced by a lawyer/lobbyist for the police union attacking engaged Black citizens. But in one tweet, ArchCity Defenders Executive Director Blake Strode had one of the best responses to the allegation of dark money.
“I don’t know if my money is dark… but I am, so maybe that counts,” read part of Strode’s tweet encouraging people to donate to Action St. Louis.