September 29, 2000– North Carolina Citizens for a Sound Economy (NC CSE) has proven that grassroots education and mobilization can deliver important issues to policymakers. NC CSE has led a vigorous campaign to educate citizens on the detriments of government sponsored lawsuit abuse. Through town hall meetings, NC CSE club meetings, and petition drives, NC CSE has led the effort to place the issue in front of two Attorney General candidates, Roy Cooper and Dan Boyce and the current NC Attorney General Mike Easley.
Grassroots education and mobilization – Throughout the summer, NC CSE has gathered over 200 postcards asking Attorney General Mike Easley to drop out of the states’ lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. As an example that citizens are fully engaged on this issue, NC CSE on June 21, 2000, visited the Attorney General’s office with 50 grassroots activists and met with an aide, exhorting Mr. Easley to drop out of the lawsuit. Furthermore, on September 14, 2000, NC CSE Director Chuck Fuller, CSE Technology Director Kent Lassman, and five NC CSE activists visited the Attorney General’s office once again, this time to meet with Deputy Attorney General Alan Hirsch. The team of concerned citizens expressed their dismay with NC’s lawsuit and the possible negative ramifications for their families, lives and NC’s economy. As one attendee stated, “There are four people in my family, all around the country, who don’t work for Microsoft, who make a living for their families based on software products and software that works with Microsoft. A break-up is too big a role for the government in our economy.”
NC CSE has brought the issue to the candidates in order to express to the Attorney General candidates their opposition to government sponsored lawsuit abuse. NC CSE activist Kim Wattenbarger wrote a letter to AG candidate Dan Boyce expressing his dissatisfaction with Mr. Easley’s decision to bring suit against Microsoft. He asked Mr. Boyce if he supported the massive break-up of the company. Mr. Boyce replied by stating, “As Attorney General, if I discover that continued participation in such a lawsuit would bring no benefit to NC consumers, I would end NC’s participation in the lawsuit…”
Moreover, NC CSE has petitioned AG candidate Roy Cooper, with 138 signatures, for his stance on this important issue for NC citizens. In a letter to NC CSE, Mr. Cooper stated his objection to the state’s lawsuit by stating, “At this time, I am not convinced that this is the correct course of action for North Carolina, particularly considering the important precedent it sets.”
In the News – As a direct result of NC CSE grassroots efforts, NC’s Winston-Salem Journal wrote a front-page feature article, “Microsoft suit needs a closer look, 2 say,” depicting NC CSE’s activities. Also, the Washington Post mentions NC CSE’s grassroots efforts in, “Microsoft Judge Says Ruling At Risk on Appeal.”