By CHERI ROBERTS for Challenging the Rhetoric
Representatives of Eugene, Oregon’s Arnold Law Firm, Lissa Casey and Bryan Boender, proactively sought to counsel Ammon Bundy, the Malheur Wildlife Refuge armed occupation leader, prior to any arrests. The Arnold Law team claims the visit to the refuge was merely to hand deliver an advertisement for their services.
Ethics complaints were filed for what some deem to be the law firm’s practice in “ambulance chasing”. Outcomes of any inquiries are still pending. Yet, in spite of accusations, firm owner, Mike Arnold, Esq, continues to participate in what some see as questionable activities, including his continued intent to both crowdsource and crowdfund Bundy’s defense.
What is Crowdsourcing?
According to, Jeff Howe, the man who first coined the term, crowdsourcing is,
The act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.
What is Crowdfunding?
According to Wiki, crowdfunding is,
The practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, today often performed via internet-mediated registries, but the concept can also be executed through mail-order subscriptions, benefit events, and other methods.Crowdfunding is a form of alternative finance, which has emerged outside of the traditional financial system.
In 2013, the crowdfunding industry raised over $5.1 billion worldwide.
Crowdsourcing & Funding a Criminal Defense
As Bundy’s attorney, Arnold has turned to the internet seeking potential evidence, as well as donations for Bundy’s case. So far, through Funded Justice, nearly $90,000 has been raised for the Bundy’s defense. The crowdsourced evidence gathering, on the other hand, doesn’t appear to be quite as fruitful.
Last month, Arnold received a fair amount of public backlash, including from this writer, for posting a phony FB profile page of an alleged FBI HRT member mocking the occupiers. Arnold’s post included a photograph of 45-year old, 10-time World MMA Champion, Shannon ‘The Cannon’ Ritch. Although he played one in the TV drama, Numb3rs, Ritch is not a federal agent, nor was he ever in Burns, Oregon, or at the Malheur Refuge.
Unfortunately for both Arnold and Ritch, many Bundy supporters immediately began sharing Arnold’s post, creating new posts and even YouTube videos. All of the posts had numerous vile commentators, including in response to the original post on the Arnold Law Firm Facebook page.
Several followers actively went on the hunt to dox Ritch’s personal and identifying information, including his place of residence and names of his family members. Arnold overlooked what he had created claiming no responsibility for what he called ‘hurt feelings’, denying any potential danger for Ritch or his family.
Within hours of Arnold’s post, Ritch was the impromptu guest on Challenging the Rhetoric to counter the claims and clear his name. He and his wife were both alarmed by the vicious comments left in threads proclaiming him the bad guy in their own bizarre reality show.
Garbage In Garbage Out
Since the Ritch fiasco, Arnold has made several Facebook statements as well as statements on his firm’s website, about his media policy and his continued interest in crowdsourcing Ammon’s defense. What he doesn’t do, is mention the negative outcome of some of his tactics, and publicly take responsibility and apologize for them, like the Ritch episode. Equally important, he has never chastised those he allows to populate his pages, for their borderline illegal actions.
A CBS article points out crowdsourcing’s weak spots,
Crowds are not employees, so executives can’t expect to control them. Indeed, while they may not ask for cash or in-kind products, participants will seek compensation in the form of satisfaction, recognition, and freedom. They will also demand time, attention, patience, good listening skills, transparency, and honesty. For traditional top-down organizations, this shift in management culture may prove difficult.
Crowdsourcing has become a viable option for a growing number of people and causes. There are many wonderful crowdsourcing success stories, and it can save a lot of people a lot of money, but is crowdsourcing appropriate, or even ethical, in all situations by all people? And, more importantly, when your source is the crowd, does the crowd you source matter?
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Checkout these other recent articles by Cheri Roberts.
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- Washington National Guard’s Militia Moe tells ACLJ to Get Off Their Asses
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- DOODLE IN THE COURT: An Oregon Standoff Paper Trail
- Pete Santilli has a Secret, Files Late Night Motion for Ex Parte Privileges
- Will Feds Round-Up Bundy Co-Conspirator COWS or Leave them to Graze Without Penalty on the Public’s Constitution?
- Will Hillary Clinton be indicted? Did David Patraeus get a free-pass? Are Whistleblowers a bad thing?
- The Problem with Pete Santilli
- OPINION: Was it a Cold Weather Cover-Up? People on Both Sides Stretching for Answers Why 5 Federal Agents Covered-Up Shots Fired in Oregon Standoff
- 94 Points of Interest in Deschutes County Sheriff Incident Report Detailing Oregon Standoff Operation Resulting in Death of LaVoy Finnicum