When Your Source is the Crowd, Does the Crowd You Source Matter?

crowdsourcing ammon bundy defense


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?

crowdsourcing 3

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?

crowdfunding 1

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

he did it.jpg

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?



Thank you! If you like this or other Challenging the Rhetoric articles, please share. Don’t forget to follow the website, Facebook page and/or@CTRNewsFeed on Twitter and of course listen to the LIVE show every Weds. @ 6pmPST/9pmEST. You can also pick one from the archives or on YouTube.  If you would like to make a PayPal donationin support of the show, it is appreciated.

Checkout these other recent articles by Cheri Roberts.

16 responses to “When Your Source is the Crowd, Does the Crowd You Source Matter?

  1. Thanks for an interesting article. It’s very clear that Arnold Law are pushing the limits of ethical rules to promote the Bundy case and build a practice defending “sovereign citizens” and other anti-government malcontents, and working all the angles to fleece their client and as many of the “patriot” community as they can along the way. One can only hope that their behavior results in censure or otherwise backfires on them.

    One area that you don’t touch on is that the quality of the crowd in crowdsourcing campaigns is really important. Successful crowdsourcing campaigns for anything other than simply donating cash typically involve a very diverse community of people with very divergent views who can work together effectively to produce a result. As part of that, there needs to be governance mechanisms to keep things on track while not excluding people unnecessarily. The problem that crowdsourcing for “evidence” will have is that there is no diversity of viewpoint — there are lots of people who all think and believe the exact same things, people who are driven by ideology rather than by reason and logic.

    I am thus quite confident that the amount of useless junk surfaced by the campaign to come up with “evidence” will be extreme and that little, if anything, will appear that will be usable at trial. Arnold Law will have to wade through the same links to the same videos endlessly, and sort through endless grammar-challenged semi-coherent manifestos and theories in search of elusive nuggets of truth, running up the meter on their client all the while. I am inclined to think that churning billings is the actual point. Watch for renewed calls for more money if they start calling the campaign a success. More grift perpetrated on the gullible drooling right wing world.


  2. Pingback: Deschutes County Sheriff Releases Ryan Bundy Cell Phone Video | Challenging the Rhetoric·

  3. Pingback: Why is ATF Surveilling Pheonix, Arizona Strip Mall Location of United Nation Ammo Company Blocks Away From Home of Bundy Ranch Indictee, Gregory Burleson | Challenging the Rhetoric·

  4. Pingback: What Evidence Did the Feds Retrieve from Pete Santilli and Deb Jordan’s Enterprise Rental Car? | Challenging the Rhetoric·

  5. Pingback: Was Pete Santilli Everybody’s Perfect Patsy? | Challenging the Rhetoric·

  6. Pingback: Orange Hat Man, Kenny Rhoades, Claims Santilli Went to Psych Ward and Told Patients they were “Targeted Individuals” | Challenging the Rhetoric·

  7. Pingback: Letters to David Fry, Oregon Standoff’s “Last Man Out” – #1 | Challenging the Rhetoric·

  8. Pingback: 6 Best Case Scenarios Ammon Bundy Attorney Mike Arnold Seems to be Banking On | Challenging the Rhetoric·

  9. Pingback: BACKGROUND MOTIVES: Bundy Ranch Supporter, Sarah Redd Buck’s Dark Family History with BLM, FBI, and State Officials | Challenging the Rhetoric·

  10. Pingback: BACKGROUND MOTIVES: Bundy Ranch Supporter Shiloh Ryder Reveals Agenda of AFP’s Mollie Dunn Powell | Challenging the Rhetoric·

  11. Pingback: Official Documentation on Bundy Patriot Movement’s SIG20 Shiloh Ryder aka AFP’s Mollie Dunn Powell | Challenging the Rhetoric·

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s