Conservative journalist wins back California press credential
May 5, 2016
Conservative journalist and longtime Sacramento reporter, Katy Grimes, has reclaimed her Capitol press credential following a successful appeal on First Amendment grounds. An arm of the California Legislature rules committee had refused to renew Grimes’ credential, stating she worked for a lobbyist. [Flash Report]
The Capitol Correspondents Association of California (CCAC), whose board consists of members of the Sacramento press corps, rules on Capitol press credential applications. Final say still rests with the Legislature’s Joint Rules Committee, which appoints CCAC members.
CCAC bylaws prohibit the credentialing of anyone who receives compensation from a lobbyist. Grimes currently writes for the Flash Report, which is published by Jon Fleischman, the owner of a political consulting business.
After the CCAC rejected Grimes’ application, the Pacific Legal Foundation submitted a Legislative Open Records Act request. The record request revealed Grimes was the only journalist to be denied a press credential over the last 10 years.
Attorney Paul Beard, who filed the administrative appeal on behalf of Grimes, said the correspondents association does not apply the policy to other journalists who are actually employed or paid by consultants and lobbyists. Many reporters have received press credentials, even though their publishers are involved in lobbying or political consulting, Beard said.
Beard said the CCAC denied Grimes a press credential because of her political views. Grimes described the ordeal as a witch-hunt by totalitarian bullies.
“The First Amendment doesn’t just apply to elitist liberal media and mainstream journalists, even though they appear to think it does,” Grimes wrote on the Flash Report.
The mission statement of the CCAC is to make it easier for news professionals to cover the Capitol and to advocate for open meetings, news media access, freedom of information and the fair distribution of public information.
Grimes wrote on Wednesday that she received her new press credential a few days ago.