White House to Hold DADT Meeting

By Kerry Eleveld

Originally published on Advocate.com October 26 2010 6:40 AM ET

A White House official tells The Advocate that pro-repeal groups
are scheduled to meet Tuesday with White House officials to discuss the
path forward on repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” during the lame-duck
session following the midterm election.

“The White House is meeting with several interested parties to discuss the legislative repeal of ‘don't ask, don't tell.’ The meeting will concern the work
that remains to be done to ensure congressional action on this issue
this year,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The official declined to name any participants of the meeting, but sources tell The Advocate that senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett and deputy chief of staff Jim Messina are expected to be present.

UPDATE: The Advocate has obtained a copy of an e-mail sent by Brian Bond, deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and the de facto LGBT liaison, to the meeting’s participants, who include: Allison Herwitt and Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign; Shane Larson of the Stonewall Democrats; Winnie Stachelberg of the Center for American Progress; Aubrey Sarvis of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network; R. Clarke Cooper of the Log Cabin Republicans; Alex Nicholson and Jarrod Chlapowski of Servicemembers United; Nathaniel Frank, DADT expert, formerly of the Palm Center; and Jim Kessler of the Third Way.

The e-mail notes that the meeting has been moved from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then warns participants to stick strictly to a discussion about legislative repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" and to steer clear of any mention of the court cases now being litigated.

In the e-mail which can be viewed below, Bond writes:

“Obviously this meeting has gotten out. We are expecting the content of the conversation today to be off the record and to help us figure out how to move forward with the lame duck session.

Also as previously mentioned, there can be no discussion of current court cases or legal strategy or Counsel’s Office will end the meeting. The focus is repeal and the lame duck session. This is also a non-partisan meeting where we want everyone’s help.”

The White House issued a statement explaining the restriction on discussion:

"Some of the participants in the meeting are involved in active litigation against the government on the issue of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, so it wouldn't be appropriate to discuss that litigation. This is standard procedure when there is pending litigation involving the government."

Clarke Cooper is the executive director of Log Cabin, the group that filed the case currently working its way through the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Alex Nicholson is a plaintiff in that case.

BRIAN K BOND EMAIL X390 | ADVOCATE.COM